If you have recently reached your goal weight, congratulations!
Losing weight is a major challenge, however, keeping it off for good can be equally challenging.
Whether you have lost weight in the past only to slowly regain it or are simply trying to avoid that scenario, these seven strategies can help you maintain your weight-loss and avoid those creeping pounds for good.
1) Make Permanent Lifestyle Changes
Once you have lost weight, you may feel tempted to go back to your old, bad habits.
In fact, many people do without even realizing it.
Unfortunately, a 2010 research study that analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination (NHANES) found that only 35 % of American adults maintain their weight loss for more than one year. (1)
After that one year mark, the chances of continuing to keep the weight off dwindle even more.
While this occurrence can be partially attributed to genetic factors and the body’s ability to fully adjust to a new weight, healthy lifestyle choices can greatly increase your odds of maintaining long-term weight-loss.
2) Discover Your New Routine
An effective routine can help your body achieve stability at its new weight.
Once you have lost weight, you may not know how to develop a new routine aimed at maintenance.
While daily exercise and eating a well-balanced diet are essential, other things such as getting a full eight hours of sleep should also be worked into your new routine.
If you are guilty of staying up late, try to go to sleep at least one hour earlier than you typically do.
This small change can make a huge difference.
3) Keep a Food Journal
A food journal is a handy tool that helps you keep track of your daily calorie intake and food choices.
Once you have reached your goal weight, it is even more important to use a food journal, especially if you have struggled with obesity for the better part of your life.
The reasoning behind this is that people who have been obese for extended periods of time tend to gain weight back more than people who have not had to deal with long-term obesity.
Since food choices and calorie intake play a large role in your ability to maintain weight-loss, a food journal is the perfect way to stay on track with your nutrition and avoid unforeseen weight gain.
4) Exercise Daily
Daily exercise is good for your overall health and mental wellbeing, but also improves your odds of keeping weight off for good.
Even if you have gotten used to performing intense workouts three or four times a week, you should still aim for an hour of exercise every single day.
Even if you can only go on a brisk walk, it still counts.
5) Weigh Yourself Weekly
Weekly weigh-ins can improve your ability to maintain long-term weight-loss.
Studies have shown that people who weigh themselves regularly are less likely to regain weight.(2,3) Since your weight naturally fluctuates on a daily basis, it is best to weigh yourself once a week on the same day and at the same time, ideally first thing in the morning.
6) Portion Control is Crucial
Many people eat more food than their body needs.
Portion controlled plates and bowls can help you avoid this common mishap and stay within your daily calorie allowance.
7) Schedule Your Meals
People who eat at the same times each day are less likely to experience excessive hunger and as a result, do not experience as many junk food cravings.(4)
When you skip a meal or eat at different times each day, your body gets confused.
As a result, you are more likely to experience more frequent hunger cues and cravings for sugary or salty foods. Create a meal and snack schedule and stick with it for long-term success.
Maintaining weight-loss is difficult, but it is also far from impossible.
By incorporating these strategies into your current plan of action, you can avoid gaining back those pounds that you worked so hard to get off in the first place.
1.Kraschnewski J, Boan J, Esposito J, et al. Long-term weight loss maintenance in the United States. International journal of obesity (2005). 2010;34(11):1644-1654. doi:10.1038/ijo.2010.94.
2.Steinberg DM, Bennett GG, Askew S, Tate DF. Weighing everyday matters: Daily weighing improves weight loss and adoption of weight control behaviors. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2015;115(4):511-518. doi:10.1016/j.jand.2014.12.011.
3.Steinberg DM, Tate DF, Bennett GG, Ennett S, Samuel-Hodge C, Ward DS. The efficacy of a daily self-weighing weight loss intervention using smart scales and email. Obesity (Silver Spring, Md). 2013;21(9):1789-1797. doi:10.1002/oby.20396.
4.Rena R Wing, Suzanne Phelan; Long-term weight loss maintenance, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 82, Issue 1, 1 July 2005, Pages 222S–225S, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/82.1.222S