You’ve lost the weight and you look great. You’re reaping all of the rewards for your hard work – a new wardrobe, an improved social life, more physical activity. So the hard part is over, right? Think again! Unfortunately for the millions of people who engage in weight lost programs every year, the hardest part of the challenge isn’t losing the weight, it’s keeping it off. The secret to truly successful weight loss isn’t just reaching that goal weight, it’s staying there. Here are some easy tips for keeping the weight off and feeling great:
1. Choose a weight loss program that includes maintenance – believe it or not, there are some programs that actually understand how hard it is to keep the weight off and that’s why they build in a maintenance component. In person support sessions, telephone support and other forms of clinical assistance can make it that much easier to stick to your newfound routine and maintain that healthy weight. You might also want to consider using a personal coach or dietitian to give you advice. Having help along the way is always better than trying to go it alone.
2. Give yourself a reward – we’d all like to pretend that it’s all about being healthy but let’s face it, as human beings we always tend to respond better to a reward system. Allowing yourself a new addition to your wardrobe, a trip or something else you’ve been wanting for every 5 or 10 pounds you lose is pretty common, but you can do the same thing for maintenance. For every two weeks, month, two months you keep the weight off you can also reward yourself. That will give you an incentive to keep working at it and reaping those benefits.
3. Avoid soda – it may seem oversimplified but most people don’t realize just how much sugar the average soda contains. And diet sodas, despite their claims of reducing calories and being good for you, are actually much worse. You’re much better off sticking with coffee, tea or water as your beverages of choice. You can add natural flavoring to you water with a wedge of lemon, a slice of cucumber or a few sprigs of mint, or experiment and find additions that are more to your taste. But keeping away from that extra source of sugar will make a huge difference in the long run.
4. Adjust your calorie intake – once you reach a goal weight your body doesn’t have to work quite so hard to get you get you there, so it can sometimes “plateau”. That means it’ll slow down and stop burning off calories. In order to ensure that your weight stays where you want it to be you may need to kick start your system by reducing your calorie intake again. Keep your diet low in calories and low in fat and you’ll be better able to maintain that healthy weight.
5. Kick up the exercise – at the same time you might also need to rework your regular exercise routine to help you burn more calories. One of the best ways to keep weight off is with regular cardio exercise, to keep your heart pumping and your circulation going. The more that engine is humming, the more “fuel” it will be using up in the form of calories. A great way to get your cardio in is by doing some indoor cycling. Not only does it take the worry out of getting in a workout by avoiding bad weather conditions, it is low impact so it’s easy on the joints and it’s a very effective way to burn off excess calories.
6. Don’t be afraid of the scale – while you don’t want to become obsessed with your weight it is important to keep track so that you know if it begins to inch up a bit. It’s easier to stay on top of things at the first sign of weight gain rather than waiting for it to get out of control again. So don’t be afraid to get on that scale at least once a week, if not a couple of times, just to gauge your progress. But do remember that every little gain is not a sign of failure. It’s human nature to put on a little weight from time to time, so stay vigilant but don’t be too hard on yourself.
7. Don’t give up – this is probably the simplest piece of advice but it’s also the most important. Maintaining a healthy weight is a regular, ongoing process. It’s not easy, otherwise we’d all be able to do it without any struggle, but as with most things in life in order to be successful you have to stick with it. Don’t get discouraged if you gain weight back, just redouble your efforts and maintain a positive attitude. Studies show that most people who are successful at maintaining weight loss go through several failed attempts first. So as the old saying goes, if at first you don’t succeed…just work on that diet some more!
These are just a few steps you can employ to help keep the weight off and keep feeling good about yourself. Let us know if you’ve got any tips of your own to share or any other comments – we’d love to hear from you!
Jennifer O’Neal is a writer who loves to write an article on various topics such as health, fitness, exercise etc. She is a lifelong cyclist, enjoying the thrill of an outdoor ride as much as the one on her indoor cycling bikes. She uses exercise bikes for weight loss & fitness.