By Judy Weitzman
You did it! Congratulations on reaching your weight loss goal. No doubt, you are determined to maintain this new weight forever. Unfortunately it is easier said than done. Did you know that approximately 95% of people who lose weight, gain it back? The goal is to be in the 5% that maintains their weight long term.
Life will always get in the way. Stress, inadequate sleep, and living in a world that is filled with food driven situations all wreak havoc on weight management.
As the pounds have come off, you have been receiving compliments, which can give you a false sense of security. In other words, don’t feel like you are alone when you start to exercise a little less, and eat a little more without even realizing it. Your body’s ‘set-point’ can work against you too. Even though you have lost weight and you love how you feel and look, your body will fight you. It is the weight you were at for a long time before you started losing. Your body will instinctively want to go back to the higher weight. Therefore, you need to work at keeping your new lower weight for at least a year before your body will accept your new weight as your ‘set point’.
Weight loss has given you more energy and confidence, and better mobility and overall good health. Now you need to continue your workout regimen and slowly increase your calories so you can maintain your goal weight. A simple formula for determining your maintenance weight is taking your goal weight times 15 to determine your new daily calorie goal. For example, your goal weight is 125 lbs times 15 = 1875 calories. Most likely you were only eating 1200 calories per day to lose your weight. You need to gradually bring your calories up to this new level.
While losing weight, most programs believe in weighing once a week. On maintenance, you should weigh more often. Some people weigh in daily. By setting a weight range, you will be able to easily maintain your new weight. For example, you hit your goal of 125 lbs and you decided your new range is going to be 122 to 126. When you get on the scale, and it says 122, you can splurge a little, when you are at 126, you pull back. It’s as simple as that.
Here are ten tips to ensure you stay at your goal weight:
- Eat Breakfast everyday and don’t skip meals
- Purge your closet of clothes that are too big, keeping them around is a license to gain your weigh back
- Tight clothes rule – when you are at home, DO NOT change into your stretchy comfy clothes, instead, wear your tightest jeans so you are less likely to eat with abandon
- Purge your home of trigger foods – if there are foods you cannot control, then don’t keep them around……why sabotage yourself?
- Be accountable – continue to keep your food diary, many studies have proven we eat better when we keep a diary. There are numerous online apps that make this fun and easy
A study of more than 32,000 dieters by Consumer Reports magazine found that “regular exercise was the number one successful weight-loss maintenance strategy” of more than 81 percent of the long-term maintainers. In second place, at 74 percent, was the related strategy of increasing activity in daily routines.
Stay motivated by signing up for races, working with a trainer who pushes you, and taking classes to improve your skills.
- Fat picture – keep a picture of you at your top weight on your fridge for a constant reminder of where you never want to go again
- Reward yourself – for every month you stay in your weight range, give yourself a gift that is not food. A mani-pedi, a new outfit, a book, whatever…..recognition for all your hard work is very important
- Maintain your new behaviors – keep your house stocked with healthy food, eat slowly, drink lots of water, get plenty of sleep and control your portions
- Avoid challenging areas like the break room at work – make rules about not eating in front of the TV, computer, in the car, etc
- Weigh often, unlike weight loss when you only weigh once a week, keep weighing to stay on top of your game
Anyone can lose weight; keeping if off is the ultimate goal! Good luck……you can be one of the 5%.