5 Tips For Keeping The Weight Off!
So you decided to take care of yourself and lose weight? How’s it going? Some of you may even have reached your goal. Congratulations! So what next? How are you going to go about keeping the weight off?
Just as you went about planning and managing your weight loss in the areas of physical activity and healthy eating, you will have to be just as strict during the maintenance period that, must I remind you, will last forever! We tend to think that once we’ve reached our goal, we can go back to eating whatever we like and that any faux pas won’t be “that” harmful. This is true… up to a point. However, you’ll soon realize that if you don’t keep working out regularly and being careful about what you eat, the weight you lost will creep back on pretty fast! To avoid packing on the pounds again and going back to square one, you must take concrete steps to maintain the quality of life that you so carefully built.
Here are 5 key recommendations to maximize your chances of holding on to what you’ve achieved:
- Uphold exercise and healthy eating as priorities: this is the most important recommendation. Yes, you now have the body you were striving for and your reflection in the mirror. You may think you’re invincible, but be careful not to fall into the trap of slacking off. Concern for maintaining your healthy eating and exercise habits must continue to be a top priority. You must keep up the changes you made to lose weight: continue to prepare your own meals, write your training sessions in your agenda, say “no thanks” to dessert, go easy on alcoholic beverages, etc. Be careful. Starting to allow yourself small “extras” or time off from training can be the beginning of the end! If you revert to your former habits, you’ll soon be back where you started. Keep in mind that “real” life requires making an effort each and every day to eat healthily and exercise.
- Do your math again: after all, to stay at your new weight, you could allow yourself to eat a little more food than during your weight loss process… I didn’t say eat differently, I said a little more, meaning only the portions will change. Resuming a balance means eating the same number of calories as those you burn—no more, no less. This requires calculating again, very carefully, your total energy expenditure (TEE), to know how many calories you should eat each day.
- Set new goals: since you’ve reached your weight loss goal, setting new fitness goals will make it easier for you to keep up your new exercise and eating habits. For example, when you write a goal in your agenda, you give your training sessions more importance by committing to them. Whether a race, a team relay or sports event to raise funds for a worthy cause, give yourself the means to reach your goal.
- Ask for help: contrary to what you may think, the assistance of a personal trainer and nutritionist is just as beneficial when striving to maintain your new weight as before you reached your goals. They can reassure you as to the action required to ensure you stick to your maintenance regimen. They will lead you in your pursuit of a more “normal” lifestyle. Call on their services to help you stay on course and keep progressing toward your new goals. For example, ask your personal trainer to change your program every 4 to 6 weeks. Meet with your nutritionist to make sure you’re on the right track, eating-wise, and to recall some key concepts. Your appointments will become less frequent, but they are still a must!
- Establish a strict method of control: first, set a limit, a maximum weight not to exceed. Your weight will always be a good indicator of the rigour you continue to apply to your new, healthy lifestyle. During your maintenance period, weigh yourself once every two weeks. Should your weight go up, revert to weight loss mode and increase your gym sessions. At this point in time, it is extremely important to keep tabs on the situation! Reassess your eating habits and food intake by using a food journal or by using an app like MyFitnessPal. When you have special social events lined up, where eating and drinking is inevitable, decide ahead of time what you will allow yourself and stick to your plan: eat slowly, no seconds, just two glasses of wine, no dessert, etc.
Be aware of the fact that you’ll probably invest as much effort in keeping the weight off and continuing to exercise as it took to reach your goal. Remember that beyond your silhouette, being in good health is a privilege you cultivate each day through the choices you make. Be careful, and don’t take it for granted that you’ll maintain your weight or quality of life without effort. Commit to taking care of yourself each day! You deserve it!
Karine Larose, M.Sc.