It can be hard to maintain your weight once you’ve finished a weight loss program. In fact, for most dieters, maintaining weight loss over the long term is more difficult than losing the weight in the first place. Only 20% of those who lose weight manage to keep the weight off. Here’s how you can maintain your weight at the end of your weight loss program.
Add Calories Slowly
Once you’ve reached your goal weight, add calories back to your diet slowly. For a period of one week’s time, add 250 calories to your daily diet. If you’ve been eating 1500 calories a day, begin eating 1750 calories a day for the first week after you’ve reached your weight loss goal. If, after one week, you’re still losing weight (even small amounts of weight), then your body still needs more calories to meet its daily energy expenditures; add another 250 calories to your daily diet for a second week.
Determine How Many Calories You Need Each Day
Keep adding 250 calories to your daily diet at week-long intervals–so that if you added 250 calories for a total of 1750 daily calories during week one, you’ll add 250 calories for a total of 2000 daily calories during week two, and an additional 250 calories for a daily total of 2250 calories during week three. Your daily calorie needs will vary depending on factors like your age, your level of physical activity and your metabolism, so you’ll need to arrive at a number that’s unique to you.
As you add calories to your diet, weigh yourself each week. If your weight stabilizes and remains the same as it was the week before, that means you’re consuming your ideal number of daily calories.
If you begin to gain weight again (even if it’s just a small amount of weight), begin removing calories from your daily diet. Reduce your daily calorie intake by 50 calories a day for one week; if you’re still gaining weight (even small amounts of weight) at the end of that week, reduce your daily intake by another 50 calories. Keep doing this until your weight stabilizes and you begin to remain the same from week to week.
Keep Weighing Yourself
Even after you’ve reached your weight loss goal and have determined how many calories you need to eat each day to maintain that goal, keep weighing yourself each week. Weighing yourself each week can help to alert you to any dietary changes you might need to make in the long term; as time passes, your metabolism slows down and you may become less physically active. As your level of activity goes down and your metabolism slows, you’ll need to adjust the number of calories you eat each day.
Keep Your Diet Healthy
Remember that maintaining a healthy weight isn’t just about calories. Eat fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats and low fat dairy products that give you the vitamins and minerals you need for good health.