Setting a goal and losing weight is only part of the battle, maintaining the weight loss is another. For many people the real struggle begins once the weight loss goals are achieved. Keeping the weight off is just as hard, if not harder. Knowing how to avoid a relapse before it begins is the best way to avoid gaining anything back.
Stick to Your Routine
Just because you've lost the weight doesn't mean you can stop your routine. One of the fastest ways to relapse is to break your routine. If you go to the gym several days a week to workout, you still want to do this. You can but back a little on the amount of time you spend there, or maybe cut one day out entirely, but you need to stick with the program even to maintain. The same applies to eating. If you only eat at restaurants on special occasions, don't start eating out more often.
Many people have incorporated journaling or food tracking in to their diet programs. This is a great idea because it allows you to take an account of everything you have eaten that day. It helps people spot patterns, and correct them effectively. You should continue this behavior even after the diet has ended. If you don't keep tracking, you may find yourself slipping off the maintenance plan. It's easy to think that a single piece of cake or pizza won't hurt you, but if you stop tracking what you eat you won't see how often you have those 'just one' moments, and this can lead to gaining back weight quickly. The truth is, you can enjoy yourself a little more now, and a small piece of cake probably won't hurt, but track it anyhow.
Most experts will say that you should only weigh yourself weekly during a diet. This is because your weight can fluctuate daily and won't give you an accurate reading. Even so, many people will step on the scale several times a week during the diet process. The weigh ins shouldn't stop after the diet, but you should just check it weekly. This will alert you to any issues, and allow you to lose the 1 pound you may have gained before it turns in to several pounds.
Set a Maintenance Goal
Just as you set goals throughout your weight loss, you should do the same for the maintenance aspect as well. If you rewarded yourself with something special as you lost weight, why not add a reward program in for keeping the weight off too? You can do little things, such as a reward for the first month with no weight gain, then move it out, every 3 months, every year, whatever is going to keep you motivated to continue to exercise and eat healthy. You should also set some realistic expectations. Will you start to diet again if you gain 1 pound? Probably not. But what about 10 pounds? Set some limits to your weight so you will know if you need to reevaluate your maintenance behavior.