The weight loss maintenance plan you create after you’ve reached your goal is even more important than the initial weight loss plan you used to drop the pounds in the first place. After all, you only lose the weight once–you have to keep it off for the rest of your life. When you’re figuring out just how to maintain your new figure, here are some important things to consider.
What You Eat is Important
Maintaining a healthy and well-balanced diet is the key to keeping the pounds you shed from creeping back onto your figure. When you transition from losing weight to maintaining weight, you should essentially continue eating the same way. The bulk of what you eat should be “clean” foods (i.e. those foods that are simple and nutritious like fruit, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and non-fat dairy products). If you revert back to old habits, like eating ice cream every night or ordering out for lunch instead of brown bagging it with carefully controlled portions and ingredients, you won’t be able to sustain the goal weight you’ve reached. You need to stay focused on keeping your daily calorie intake in check.
That’s not to say you can’t modify your diet as you transition from weight loss to weight maintenance. You’ve probably cut out or limited many of your favorite foods while in weight-loss mode. When you reach your goal it’s okay to start reincorporating those foods back into your diet. The trick is to control it. Enjoy a slice of pizza once a week from your favorite pizzeria, not two or three slices. Have a salad with it instead. Life’s too short not to enjoy treats, but as the adage goes, everything in moderation.
Scale Back on Exercise, but Not Completely
Exercising is an important part of any weight loss plan and is also an important part of your maintenance plan. However, if you don’t want to continue shedding pounds you should cut back on your hours at the gym. There’s no need to clock in 60 minutes of intense exercise five or more times a week when you’re simply trying to maintain your current weight. Just so long as your eating habits don’t change significantly, a couple of cardiovascular and strength sessions each week will keep you on track. A good approach is to figure out what your favorite forms of exercise are and stick to those. For example, if you really enjoy kickboxing class, continuing to take those classes every week will keep you engaged and interested in exercise. Nix the activities you dislike.
Creating a weight loss modification plan takes some trial and error. Essentially, you’ll up your calorie intake and exercise less. If you notice the number on the scale going up, figure out the culprit or modify your behaviors. Over a few months you’ll figure out what works for you.