Top 10 Tips for Preventing Weight Gain

Shedding some weight can be hard. For many men, keeping it off is even harder. Diets become stale and depriving. Training becomes overly laborious and boring. Follow these 10 tips to keep off the weight that you’ve worked so hard to lose.

No. 10 - Throw out junk food

No matter how disciplined you are, if junk food is there, you’ll eventually eat it. All it takes is a long day at work or a rushed meal to push you toward grabbing the quick fix. Do a quick search through your house (cabinets, refrigerator, under your pillow, and so on) and get rid of unhealthy snack food. If your spouse, significant other or kids have junk in the house, throw their stuff out, too. They’ll thank you later.

No. 9 - Stay hydrated

Consuming a couple cups of water before you eat will fill up your stomach and cause you to eat less. Research has shown that people using this strategy lose more weight than people who don’t. If you don’t like water, try adding a lemon or lime to it or try drinking a zero-calorie beverage with a little more flavor like green tea or POWERADE ZERO. The important thing is that you’re staying hydrated and filling up your stomach with liquid while not taking in additional calories.

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No. 8 - Get a dog

A big part of keeping weight off is maintaining an active lifestyle. It sounds ridiculous, but research has shown that people tend to become more active when they have a pet. Letting your dog take you for a walk at night will get you off the couch and keep your hand out of the junk food that you should have thrown out already.

No. 7 - Eat breakfast

Your metabolism plummets while you sleep; you go into a state of catabolism (read: breakdown). The best way to jump-start your metabolism and give your body the fuel it needs for the day to come is to eat a quality breakfast. At a bare minimum, your breakfast should have at least one serving of fruits and vegetables, a lean protein source and a glass of water. You can also add a quality whole-grain carbohydrate source, such as steel cut oats, to your breakfast.

No. 6 - Avoid sugars, pasta and white bread

When you take in a whole-grain carbohydrate source, it takes time for your body to break down the food. As a result, you receive a slow, consistent supply of food, similar to a time-release drug. On the other hand, foods like pasta, white bread or anything high in sugar are rapidly digested and give your body a quick supply of a ton of energy. Since your body doesn’t need all of this energy at once, it defaults to storing it as fat. Overall, these foods have little nutritional value and generally lead to metabolic damage and fat storage.

No. 5 - Learn how to cook

Short-term diet interventions never work long-term. In order to keep weight off, you need to change your lifestyle to make it conducive to keeping weight off. This sounds simple, but for some men it can be a rough transition. If you associate healthy eating with bland foods, you probably won’t continue to eat healthily for too long. Learning how to use spices and prepare foods in different ways that you enjoy will help ensure that you’re eating the right foods for the rest of your life. You can start by perusing the grocery store for prepackaged spices like Cajun, Italian seasoning, Montreal steak and/or chicken, and seasoned salt. Eating healthily does not need to be boring.

No. 4 - Lift weights

Muscle has a significantly higher metabolic rate than bone and fat. Simply put, this means that it takes more energy (read: calories) to fuel muscle than it does other tissues within the body. By lifting weights and adding some muscle mass, you keep your metabolism and the number of calories you burn at rest high. This is one of the most overlooked aspects of a quality fat-loss program and is essential as part of a weight-loss maintenance program.

No. 3 - Eat every 2 to 3 hours

One of the best things you can do to keep weight off is to set up an eating schedule and stick to it. Eating regularly tells your body that you are going to supply it with a consistent supply of quality nutrients and that it doesn’t need to hoard anything. It will also ensure that you don’t binge eat because you’re “starving.” Figure out when you usually wake up in the morning and when you go to bed at night, then plan meals every two to three hours in between. Remember that keeping weight off is about keeping your metabolism high. Skipping meals lowers your metabolism, too, so stick to your schedule.

No. 2 - Allow yourself cheat meals

Sticking with the idea that keeping weight off needs to be a lifestyle change, it’s important that you don’t deprive yourself of everything you like. Eating healthily doesn’t mean you can’t ever have foods like burgers, ice cream and pizza. In fact, when most people start a diet like that, they fall off the wagon within the first month, overcompensate by eating a ton of the foods they tried to cut out of their diet, and end up gaining weight. The solution is to allow yourself to eat “cheat meals” as 10% of your meals. If you eat every two to three hours, you’ll eat around six meals per day. Six meals per day times seven days per week is 42 meals per week. This means that about four of your meals throughout the week can be cheat meals. The key to a successful cheat meal is to eat something you enjoy, but do not overeat. In other words, have a couple slices of pizza, but don’t eat the whole pie.

No. 1 - Surround yourself with healthy people

Your behavior inevitably mirrors that of the people you spend the most time with. If you surround yourself with heavy drinkers, you’re likely to end up drinking more. If you surround yourself with junk food enthusiasts, you’re likely to end up eating more junk food. On the contrary, if you surround yourself with people who play flag football more than they watch football on TV, you’re likely to be more active. In a nutshell, if you spend the majority of your time with people who are active and health-conscious, you’re more likely to be so yourself.