3 rules doctors say you should follow if you want to lose weight and not gain it back

3 rules doctors say you should follow if you want to lose weight and not gain it back

This article has been updated since it was originally published to include more expert insights.

Maintenance a a healthy weight is all about creating a a balanced diet for yourself, often hydrating, regular exercise and a consistent sleep schedule, experts say. We checked with doctors, health and weight loss experts for tips and suggestions when it comes to preventing weight gain and not regaining recently lost weight (and which common mistakes often lead to extra pounds). Read on for insight from dr. Hector PerezMD, a board-certified general and bariatric surgeon in the Bariatric Journal, Dr. Virginia Blackwellmedical doctor, health expert at Eve Mag, Lisa Richardsregistered nutritionist and creator of the candida diet and Trista BestMPH, RD, LD, Registered Dietitian at Balance One Supplements.

1. Prevent mindless snacking with a meal plan

While eating when you’re truly hungry is important, snacking when you’re not could lead to weight gain, Perez explains. “One of the reasons why mindless snacking can lead to weight gain is that when people snack mindlessly, they often eat more calories than they would if they were eating a regular meal,” he notes. That, Perez says, is because when people snack, “they often don’t pay attention to how much they’re eating and end up eating more than they intended.”

Additionally, he says that when people snack mindlessly, “they are more likely to make unhealthy food choices, which can also lead to weight gain.”

Richards agrees and points out that “headless tossing and turning at night can also lead to mindless eating.” Snacking on high-calorie, low-nutrient foods while scrolling through your phone at night can cause weight gain, she points out. “If you’re going to scroll and snack, opt for foods that are nutrient-dense and add to your health, not detract from it,” she advises. Additionally, she recommends creating and sticking to a meal plan to help you recognize how much you’re snacking and when.

If you’re already aware of which healthy snacks make you feel full and energized, Best cautions that you could still be overeating these foods, which could lead to weight gain. “Overeating healthy snacks that add calories quickly,” she says, adding “this includes foods like baked chips, dried fruit, and even dips like hummus or nut butters.” When it comes to snacking, Best believes it’s vital to “continue to listen to your hunger and fullness cues rather than mindlessly snacking on potentially healthy foods.”

One example she gives is baked potato chips. “Baked chips are considered a healthy snack, but they are still highly processed and made with questionable ingredients,” she points out. “The fact that they’re low in fat also makes them easy to consume in large quantities in one sitting.” There will be a rapid increase in glucose, she continues, and this will increase the “fat storage rate.”

2. Make eating less sugar a priority

As discussed earlier, what you choose to snack on is important, and eating sugary foods often can not only lead to weight gain, but other health disadvantages, says Blackwell. While donuts and other sweet treats can be delicious and give you a quick boost of energy, Blackwell admits, they also carry some health risks. “Eating sugary foods is often linked to weight gain simply because they are high in calories and sugar, which can prompt your body to crave more refined carbohydrates, which can result in obesity, which is a significant risk factor for health conditions such as type 2 diabetes.” , she says.

In addition, these foods can not only lead to weight gain, but also “increase the risk of heart disease and limit your mobility because they are high in calories and contain saturated fat.” If you’re already trying to lose weight, it’s important to “limit your intake of refined grains and saturated fat, which can increase your risk of health problems after age 50,” she advises. Perez agrees and says to “try to choose healthy snacks and limit snacking to a few times a day at most.” A good tip, she adds, is to stock your pantry with only healthy snacks so you’re “less likely to reach for unhealthy options when you’re hungry.”

3. Don’t eat salty food right before bed

While Richards notes that snacking at night is “not uncommon” and “doesn’t necessarily lead to weight gain or bloating,” unfortunately, there are some common bedtime snacking mistakes that can lead to extra pounds or bloating the next morning. “Sodium causes water retention, which leads to bloating,” she explains, and “eating high-salt foods at night, even those that are seemingly healthy, can cause extra weight the next day due to bloating.” Plus, Richards says dairy products are “inflammatory that lead to gastrointestinal discomfort,” so your nightly “bowl of ice cream or cereal” could cause weight gain or bloating.

Best agrees and says the best snacks are those that have two qualities, “low in calories and high in satiating nutrients, fiber and protein.” These two nutrients keep you feeling “satisfied and full between meals,” she adds, to help prevent overeating at mealtimes. “My snack choices change in the evening to help with sleep and prevent weight gain,” continues Best, because “a snack at night doesn’t have to equate to inevitable weight gain and can also serve to help you get a good night’s rest.” She concludes that “eating foods that contain natural melatonin right before you’re ready to sleep can help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly” and that “almonds, walnuts, and bananas are prime examples of these easy-to-snack melatonin-rich foods. ” Overall, what you eat and when you eat it are key things to keep in mind to prevent weight gain, especially after working hard to keep it off.

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