The Importance of Having a Maintenance Plan before Reaching Your Weight Loss Goal

The value of a weight maintenance plan cannot be stressed enough. Having a carefully thought out plan in place before you reach your weight loss goal can mean the difference between staying healthy and fit versus regaining all the weight you worked so hard to lose.

Many weight loss programs are effective in the short term. They are designed to help you take the weight off. It is okay for short-term diets to be restrictive. After all, your goal is to see results quickly enough that you are not discouraged. However, many people cannot sustain the discipline and tenacity required to always resist snacks or continuously exercise at a strenuous pace.

Plan Ahead

When you design your weight maintenance plan while still working toward your weight loss goal, you are planning ahead. This requires knowing yourself well. It also helps if your focus is on being healthy rather than skinny. If you think about your well-being rather than your appearance, you can implement lifestyle changes that not only benefit you, but possibly members of your family.

Eat Well-Balanced Meals

A sensible weight maintenance plan takes into consideration not only what will keep you healthy, but also your likes and dislikes. Your short-term weight loss program may contain foods that you’re only able to tolerate for a few weeks. It may be highly restrictive and not allow you to enjoy your favorite treats. When designing a maintenance plan, look at the big picture. Think of foods that will help you to feel energetic and healthy. You can still enjoy foods containing fat, but limit them. Make sure your meals contain the proper balance of fats, carbs and protein.

Take the time to think about your favorite treats. Can they be substituted at least some of the time with lower calorie alternatives? Are there foods that you can still enjoy, but do so in smaller portions?

Examine Habits

Designing your long-term plan also gives you a chance to examine some of your habits. For example, do you eat quickly? The simple act of eating slowly can make a difference. The brain takes about 20 minutes to get the message that you are full. Slowing down at meal time can help you eliminate overeating.

Exercise Regularly

A regular exercise regimen is one of the best predictors of whether a person will keep weight off in the long haul. To remain fit and healthy, you need to exercise for at least a half hour on most days of the week. If you do not enjoy exercising alone, find someone to join you. Identify a type of exercise that you truly enjoy. This will help you to stick to it.  

Outlining a weight maintenance plan before reaching your ideal goal will help you keep the weight off long term and encourage you to focus on your health. Once you arrive at your ideal weight, you can ease up but not abandon the healthy habits that helped you achieve the goal in the first place.

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