How to Maintain Weight Loss
Posted by Meg Thompson on October 20, 2012 at 5:46 PM
I’ll admit it, I am great at knowing how to lose weight. I’m also great at knowing how to gain it right back. I haven’t seem to master how to actually stay at my goal weight. I mean, losing weight should be the hard part, right? Unless you’re like me and the real battle begins once you’ve hit that goal weight.
So what do you do? Apparently, use your mind. A study from the USDA sought to find strategies that would help people maintain their weight in addition to dieting and exercising. (Because really, we know that part. Calories in and calories out. Eat fruits and veggies. Exercise.) After studying 926 people with BMIs 25 or higher (the marker for being overweight) who lost 10 percent or more of their total weight, researchers found that there are two main ways that help them successfully keep the pounds off. The secret? Remind yourself why you need to control your weight, and reward yourself for sticking to a diet and exercise plan. The people who followed these strategies were more apt to stay motivated after they lost weight.
Giving yourself a little treat when you are maintaining weight loss is different than when you are losing weight. Going shopping for a cute outfit once you've reached a weight-loss milestone, for example, is easy to justify, but how do you reward yourself for just following your normal lifestyle routine? Don't forget that regularly rewarding yourself for maintaining your fitness regimen is important. Find a way to reward yourself if you hit your target number of workouts for the week or tie in something you love with your exercise plan. Try only allowing yourself to watch mindless TV during or after a workout, for example, or scheduling a weekly manicure if you successfully avoided desserts to help keep you motivated.
Once you hit your goal weight, it can be easy to think that a splurge is in order. Trust me, I know how easy it is to justify that extra cupcake. But the study found that those who reminded themselves about why they needed to control their weight were more successful in keeping it off. While you shouldn't have to forgo all indulgences in order to stay at your goal weight, try reminding yourself of the consequences of straying off track before ordering the most unhealthy thing on the menu or skipping a run in favor of couch time.
While these tricks can help you maintain weight loss, the researchers warn that the secret to weight loss is staying motivated to work out and eat healthy. Regularly and diligently sticking with a healthy diet and exercise plan is the key to most weight-loss maintenance.
How do you reward or remind yourself once you've reached your goal weight?