Keeping It Off: Habits That Help You Maintain Weight Loss
Congratulations! You just reached your weight loss goal. You should feel proud of yourself for sticking with your weight loss plan and making the necessary changes in your lifestyle that brought you this far. The work’s not over, though. Your commitment to a healthier lifestyle is just beginning. You’ve been learning about healthy eating and other lifestyle changes, and now is the time to commit to keeping up with those changes. Though you probably have a little more flexibility, you won’t want to go back to the habits you used to have before you lost weight. We want you to be one of the people who successfully maintain their weight loss long term, so we’ve compiled a list of a habits common to people who have done just that:
Weigh yourself regularly. Some people weigh in daily, while others opt to hop on the scale only once a week. Many successful maintainers also track their daily food intake. These two activities will help you stay mindful of your weight, and notice and stop any regain that might occur.
Exercise frequently. Exercise, according to many experts, is key to maintaining weight loss. It helps to offset any metabolic slowdown, and the fact that you may be a little less strict with your eating habits. How much exercise should you get? About an hour a day, according to most estimates. Don’t be intimidated by that number, or think you have to work out hard every day. It’s perfectly fine to break up your activity into shorter increments throughout the day, and walking was the most frequently mentioned form of exercise. Look for ways to move more all day long—for example, start in the morning with a few gentle yoga poses, take the stairs at the office, walk around the block during your coffee break, and take a short stroll after you eat dinner.
Reduce screen time. Any time you spend in front of a screen—whether it’s a TV screen, computer monitor, tablet, or your phone—you’re most likely inactive. Limit your ‘screen time’ to ensure that you are stepping away from the screens and moving!
Eat breakfast. Starting the day with a healthy breakfast not only feeds your body with important nutrients, it also helps keep you from getting too hungry and overeating later.
Stay mindful of your underlying psychological motivations for losing weight. Maybe you want to enjoy an active retirement, reduce the risk of a disease that runs in your family, or simply feel better about yourself.
Seek support. Encourage your family and friends to join you in your healthy habits, or join an online weight management community. It’s easier to stay committed when you spend time with people who share the same goals and challenges.
The good news is, maintaining weight loss seems to get easier with time. As these habits become second nature, maintaining your new, lower weight won’t feel as challenging and you can bask in the benefits of your healthier lifestyle.