While many who lose weight eventually regain it, you don't have to fall into that category. The following six tips address the unique challenges of maintaining your hard-earned weight loss.
Adjust to your new calorie needs.
As you lose weight, the calories you need to maintain your smaller body will decrease. It’s important to continue with the healthy eating patterns you adopted during weight loss and to pay attention to your calorie intake.
Exercise is critically important.
The National Weight Control Registry is an organization that tracks people who have successfully lost significant amounts of weight and kept it off. They found that 90% of those who have successfully maintained their weight exercised an average of one hour per day.
Seek new motivation.
Being overweight is a significant motivator, and once this daily discomfort is no longer present, that motivator is gone. It’s important to seek new things that continue to motivate you. Start your day thinking about how far you've come and how good you feel. This can be in the form of meditation, journal writing, or positive self-talk. Set new fitness goals every six months, such as registering for a race or trying new activities. Pin up a before and after picture on your refrigerator or bathroom mirror. Mentally remind yourself that your healthy behaviors have resulted in a healthier you.
Maintain your structure.
Weight maintenance becomes difficult when you stop doing the things that created structure in your day-to-day life. Part of your success came from grocery shopping with a list, pre-planning meals, mindful eating, food journaling, and scheduling exercise, so don't stop now. Maintain the schedule and structure in your life that made your goals a reality.
Continue to monitor your weight.
Seventy-five (75) percent of National Weight Control Registry members weigh in at least once per week. Monitoring fluctuations in your weight will help you get back on track before things get out of control. Although weight may vary daily, any more than a five-pound weight gain should be a warning sign that you need to change your behaviors.
Make every day rewarding.
Celebrate every day like you did when you reached your goal weight. You still need things to look forward to, and these rewards will motivate you to keep the weight off. Use the money that you previously spent on fast food and purchase a new piece of clothing every month, register for a hobby class, or treat yourself to a yearly beach vacation.