After losing weight, how do you maintain that loss? Many people struggle to maintain their weight-loss, and some even say that weight maintenance can be harder than losing weight in the first place. The excitement of the scale dropping, fitting into a new clothing size, and meeting goals can all fade away. Stepping into the weight maintenance phase can be a whole new world with new challenges, but also new excitement.
Weight Maintenance Fundamentals
Your Plan Shouldn’t Change
A common misconception is that when you reach an ideal weight, your plan dramatically changes. This really isn’t the case. Continue to follow the plan you’ve been following and make adjustments as necessary. Increasing your calories over time or returning to old habits can lead to weight gain. Stick to what has worked for you as much as you can.
Allow for Extras, But Have a Plan
In the weight maintenance phase, you may add in some extras, but when you do, make sure you add them with a plan. For example, if you are going to a birthday dinner, plan to have a piece of cake, but perhaps choose a salad with grilled chicken for dinner. If you are meeting friends for drinks, choose a low-calorie cocktail instead of a sugary margarita.
Set New Goals
If you’ve met all your goals and you are maintaining your weight, it’s time to make new ones. You always need goals to work toward; they keep you motivated. Life goals, fitness goals, and health goals are all important!
Find a balance with keeping track of your weight. You don’t need to weigh yourself every day, but it’s important to keep tabs on where you are. Weight yourself on a schedule to stay on track. Determine a range you are happy with (usually within five pounds). If you see yourself going higher, take a look at where you are and make changes as necessary. Consider tracking your food and activity level as well. Again, you don’t have to do this every day, but try to do it regularly. It’s good to gauge your fitness and nutrition consistently.
When You Fall off, Get Back on
Just like weight-loss, weight maintenance can’t be perfect. There may be times when you struggle to stay on track. It’s important to know that when you fall off the wagon, you can get right back on. The quicker you return to your plan, the easier it will be.
Fit in Fitness
Exercise is always important, but it plays a significant role in weight maintenance. Plan time each day to exercise. Add both cardiovascular activity and strength-training for maximum benefit. Cardiovascular activity can help you burn calories, but by adding in strength-based exercises, you can build muscle mass and increase your metabolism.
Continue to Make it a Priority
When you begin a weight-loss journey, it’s easy to make your journey your first priority. As time moves and life goes on, priorities can change. When you reach the maintenance phase, your plan still has to be a priority in your life. Finding time to exercise or grocery shop for fresh produce is just as important as running other errands and doing chores.
Be Ready to Mix it up
Your plan can’t stay the same forever, and you’ll need to make changes over time. Changes in jobs, family commitments, and social situations may require you to adapt and adjust. Get creative and make your plan work for any situation.
Above all, find a plan that will work for you. Everyone is different, and everyone has different strategies that help them find success.