Ah, the happy weight – that "sweet spot" on the fitness spectrum where you can maintain a realistic weight without obsessing over every calorie. Perhaps better known as your "ideal weight," your happy weight is the point at which you're not too chubby but not too thin either – in other words, you're at a weight that tends to support optimum health, and you feel pretty good about it, too. For many people, their happy weight has proven to be quite elusive, as it can easily be usurped by one too many ice cream sundaes or not enough trips to the gym. The good news, however, is that it's much easier to keep weight off than it is to shed pounds that you have gained. If you would like for your weight to stay in the "happy zone," below are some tips that will help you do just that.
1. Stay active.
One of the best ways to maintain your happy weight is to add physical activity to your weekly to-do list. Try to arrange your workout schedule to where you never go more than 48 hours without engaging in some type of calorie-burning activity. If you skip your workout sessions for more than two or three days at a time, your motivation will begin to slip, and this can really put a damper on your momentum. For the sake of keeping your metabolism clicking along at a favorable rate, be sure to log some type of sweat session at least 4 to 5 times a week.
2. Avoid excessive screen time.
You would be surprised at how easy it is to gobble down copious amounts of snack foods when you're staring at a screen for large blocks of time. Before you park in front of your smartphone, tablet, laptop, or television, be sure to establish some type of predetermined limit for your screen time, and do your best to stick to it.
3. Get adequate sleep.
Nothing can encourage mindless eating more than sleep deprivation. When you don't get enough sleep, your body will crave sweets and other carb-heavy foods to try and get a quick energy boost. Not only that, but sleep deprivation has been linked increased levels of cortisol (a.k.a. the "stress hormone") in the body, which can contribute to weight gain. In order to keep sleep deprivation from sabotaging your happy weight, strive to get at least 6 to 8 hours of sleep each night.
4. Mind the calories that you're drinking.
Most of us keep a decent eye on how many calories we're eating, but we tend to ignore the calories that we're drinking. Whether it's soft drinks, alcohol, fruit juices, or your daily latte loaded with all of the fun extras (e.g., whipped cream, caramel, etc.), those beverage-based calories can add up much quicker than you think. So be mindful of drinkable calories, and add a lot more water to your daily beverage intake as well.
5. Add variety to your diet and exercise regimen.
When something is working well – especially in the area of diet and exercise – we tend to milk it for all it's worth, but this can actually work against you over time. You see, your body has a way of getting used to your daily habits, and once it does, the things that used to be effective will begin to become less so. This is due to a physiological phenomenon known as homeostasis, which is basically the body's tendency to maintain equilibrium and stability in all of its processes, including your metabolism. If you've been doing the same workout routine for weeks on end, or if you haven't added some decent variety to your diet in quite a while, your metabolism will get used to it, and your body will begin to burn calories less efficiently. Try spicing things up a bit by tacking on a little extra time (or different exercises) to your workout routine, and rotate out your healthy food choices to ensure that things don't get stale in the diet department.
Maintaining your happy weight is perhaps more of an art than it is a science, primarily because every person's body is different. By keeping the above tips in mind, you will stand a greater chance of staying in the "happy zone" over the long haul.