How to stay slim once you reach your goal weight

There is always a temptation after shedding excess body weight of returning to old habits. The call of sugary snacks, bad eating habits and exercising less – in preference of a night out – can fall upon you quickly. After all, you’re skinny now, so what is the harm?

And true, there isn’t any harm when it is the occasional treat. But what if it becomes more than a treat? What if one skipped workout turns into weeks of no exercise? Or in turn, the occasional biscuit becomes a full packet every week?

In no time at all, you can slip into old habits which can threaten to diminish all your hard work.

So what can you do? What steps can you take to stay slim? In this article, we shall show you how to stay skinny and even make yourself look skinny. Come take a look…

woman with a measuring tape on a pink background wearing shorts and a sports bra

Why you should try to stay slim

Think about it…

After all your hard work to lose weight and get slim, do you really want it to fade away? Of course not! You wouldn’t have put in the effort in the first place, if your plan was to simply regain it.

Yet, if you don’t take steps to maintain it, it CAN creep back on. Especially if you let yourself fall back into old patterns.

Now, we aren’t saying that you can’t treat yourself or take a break. That’s ridiculous and completely unattainable. You HAVE earned the right to have a treat.

HOWEVER, if you retreat back into old eating habits of snacking, overindulging and picking your settee over a walk, then with time you could find yourself putting it back on.

But this isn’t the only reason why you should learn how to stay slim…

Truthfully, there is much more to losing weight than dropping a dress size. It can also impact on your mental and physical health.

You see, successful weight loss has got strong ties with improved confidence and self-esteem. When faced with a mirror, you no longer look in it with criticism or disgust, but with a sense of satisfaction as you can see the proof of your accomplishments first-hand.

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Similarly, there are the health implications…

When you eat right, exercise more and keep your weight within a healthy range (for your build), it WILL improve your vitality as it will reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, etc. Instead, you will be in tip top condition as you’re taking care of your body.

And this reasoning doesn’t just apply to anyone who loses weight…

Even the naturally skinny need to be mindful of their eating habits, as their metabolism won’t always be this fast. With age it WILL slow down, meaning all those excess calories that they’ve been lucky enough to burn off in the past, won’t always disappear so easily.

So what can you do? How can you ensure that you stay skinny?

It is easier than you think…

Woman looking in mirror holding tape measure against body

How to stay slim

Honestly? The key to staying skinny is embracing the skills that you already learned whilst losing weight.

You need to continue the practice of exercising regularly, eating right and making lasting lifestyle changes, whilst avoiding going back to how you were pre-weight loss. Do that and you CAN keep the pounds off.

Ideal skinny eats

You’d be surprised by how many foods you can eat that will help you keep the pounds off – all without sacrificing your taste buds.

In fact, you can continue eating many of the same foods that you used whilst dieting.

All you need to do is make a simple adjustment to your calorie intake – as your goal now is to maintain not lose – and you can get creative with how you serve them.

TIP: try to stick to concepts that helped you to lose weight on previous diets e.g. measuring portions, ensuring half of your plate is filled with fruit and vegetables, eating lean proteins, keeping tempting foods out of the house, etc.

Nutritionist sat at table with lots of healthy food

Eat high fiber vegetables
The great thing about high fiber vegetables is that they can help you to feel fuller for longer without adding unwanted pounds i.e. they can fill you up without filling you out.

We suggest filling half of your plate with the following veggies: broccoli, carrots, sweetcorn, peas, beans and pulses (on occasion potatoes with skin).

Eat spicy foods
Studies have found that the average spicy meal i.e. chili, can increase your metabolism by 8%, as well as enhance feelings of satiety.

Of all the spices out there, chili peppers have been found to be the most effective.

Healthy snacks
The key to snacking is to not get carried away and think that it is okay to munch on loads of these just because they are low in calories.

In fact, we recommend that you avoid having mish-mosh dinners consisting of hummus, crackers, yogurt etc. as you’ll end up having more calories than you would from a balanced dinner.

Another trick you can adopt is making sure that you keep low calorie snacks on hand. This will stop you from hitting the shop/vending machine and indulging in sugary snacks.

Instead, keep fruit and healthy snack bars on hand i.e. crackers with chicken salad, low fat turkey with grapes, etc. These will help tie you over until your next meal.

Other top tips:

  1. DON’T eat after dinner – the whole purpose of calories is to give you energy. You don’t need as much when you’re sleeping so avoiding snacking before bed.
  2. DON’T eat out of the bag – this rule applies to nuts and trail mix, as it is easy to eat too much. Instead, pour them onto a plate or bowl so you can keep track of how much you have and don’t end up eating the whole bag.

Peanut bowl next to remote control

Any other suggestions?

Aside from these skinny eats tricks – what else can you do when managing your eating habits?

  1. Eat slowly
  2. Instead of rushing through your meal and failing to give your stomach time to register that it is full, try to eat slowly.

    This will give your body the 20 minutes it needs to recognize that you’re full, and stop you from reaching for seconds.

  3. Reduce your plate size
    If you didn’t already try this trick whilst dieting, invest in smaller plates.

    This will help you to tackle the mentality of needing to fill and empty your plate, as this plate size will subconsciously reduce how much you eat.

  4. Avoid artificial sweeteners
    These have been known to increase cravings and cause bloating and fatigue.
  5. Eat a balanced diet
    It goes without saying that you need a balanced diet in order to maintain weight loss long term. This will ensure that your body receives plenty of nutrients.
  6. Eat high calorie foods in moderation
    There is a temptation when you stop dieting to indulge more in those foods which you previously had to limit or give up.

    Now, whilst there is nothing wrong with having a treat, you still need to eat them in moderation to prevent weight gain.

    We recommend the 80/20< rule where you aim to keep 80% of your foods healthy and nutritional, and 20% for more indulgent treats.

Small and big pieces of vivid yellow mandarine

Lifestyle changes

Even the smallest changes to your daily habits can make a lasting difference to your ability to keep the weight off. And many of them require little effort when you break them down.

Take the following tricks on how to stay skinny. They are practices that you can adopt from day one which will soon become ritualistic:

Drinking lots of water
You’ll have probably already picked up this habit from when you were losing weight. However, it is important that you maintain it, as the simple action of remaining hydrated will prevent cravings and water retention.

Drinking between 2-3 liters a day can help to decrease your hunger, and can even help you to eat less at meal times.

TIPS: Drink a glass of water before every meal as this will ensure you get fuller – quicker – when you eat (thus reducing the amount you eat). Also, opt for sugar free and caffeine free drinks such as water, flavored water, decaf coffee and decaf tea.

Woman in red sweater holding glass of water to camera

Never skip meals
From skipping breakfast to restricting yourself all day; both of these can cause you to crave sugary snacks and quick fixes (in order to keep you going).

This is especially true if you’re harsh with your eating habits all day long, as you’ll more than likely break down in the evening. Instead, make sure that you eat properly during the day and don’t ever skip.

With the right meal plan, you’ll be able to go from one meal to the next without wanting a snack.

NOTE: another reason not to skip meals is the fact that breakfast helps to get your metabolism working and stops you from eating most of your calories closer to bedtime (when you don’t need as many).

Diet plan on wooden surface with healthy food

Have cheat meals
The saying goes that when you deprive yourself or say no to something, it only makes you want it more. This is true of food too.

When you tell yourself that you can’t have it, your body will crave it all the more.

That is why allowing yourself one cheat meal a week will enable you to indulge this craving – but still stay on track – because your body and mind will both know that they are going to get this treat eventually.

Portion control
We’ve mentioned the idea of this a few times, but to help paint a clearer picture, it is essential that you don’t start overeating. This will only cause your stomach to stretch and make it harder to fill.

That is why, even after your diet is over, you should still manage your portion sizes:

  • Eat until you’re satisfied, not full

Every time you take a bite, put your fork down and don’t pick it up again until you’ve finished. This will allow your body to catch up and realize that you’re getting full.

At the same time, you should stop eating before you start to feel bloated. This will ensure that you stick to smaller portions and a lower calorie diet.

TIP: whilst you’re eating, think about doing it until you’re 80% full. This will help you to gain a better idea of the difference between satisfied and full.

  • Eat slowly

We mentioned this tip earlier because it works! It will help you to recognise the difference between being satisfied and full.

TIP: many health professionals compare feeling satisfied to feeling a lack of hunger and a decreased desire to eat.

Pink clock on plate next to cutlery

Track your calories
When you were losing weight, you probably stuck to a low calorie diet or ensured that you had a big enough calorie deficit to encourage weight loss.

Now that you’re maintaining, you’ll need to treat your calories differently.

For instance, for successful maintenance you’ll need to consume as many calories as you burn on a daily basis.

To figure this out, we recommend using a TDEE calculator as that will take into account your age, gender, body build and level of physical activity, and will calculate your daily calorie expenditure. With this knowledge you’ll then be able to plan your meals.

Other tips: use a food journal/phone app. This will help you keep track of your calories so you don’t overindulge.

At the same time, you can use this to monitor when you put on weight. If you can see a pattern between foods or your calorie intake, you can then adjust it.

Woman checking mobile fitness app

Meal prepping
This trick is a great way to manage your calorie intake and make sure it stays balanced.

Think about it… when you’re rushing for time, it is easy to reach for the easiest option i.e. a sugary snack or takeout. Both of these will impact on your calorie intake and will trigger cravings.

However, by planning your meals for the week and taking steps to prepare it in advance; there will be less temptation to cheat.

Prepare your meals in bulk and then split them into individual meals i.e. if you make a stew, split it into individual portions and store them in containers.

Next, freeze what you’re not using, so you can use it in an emergency for another day. This rule applies to cooking vegetables, etc. Plan your meals, calculate what you need for each and where possible cook in advance.

For the above tip, we suggest finding a slice of time where you can cook freely and use it to put all of this meal prep into action.

Similarly, if you’ve got access to a slow cooker, take advantage of it and leave your meal cooking whilst you’re at work.

Remember – drinks count! Even teas and coffees will cut into your daily calorie intake, so you need to be mindful that you don’t drink your calories away.

ALWAYS use wholegrains. As part of your meal plans, ensure you use wholegrains and not white flour.
This will allow you to manage your carb intake, as well as will keep you fuller for longer; manage your blood sugar, and provide you with essential vitamins and minerals.

Bowl of macaroni on wooden background

Any other suggestions?

  • Manage stress
  • Stress is another thing to consider when maintaining weight loss, as stress can trigger the release of cortisol leading to unwanted cravings; increases in appetite, and a greater desire to munch on naughty foods.

    To help combat this hunger, the next time you feel stressed, try to do an activity that makes you feel calm or more relaxed i.e. go for a walk, speak to a friend, read a book or listen to some music.

  • Get plenty of sleep
  • You should aim to sleep 7-9 hours a day because lack of sleep can influence your appetite and hunger/cravings.
    Research has shown that lack of sleep can increase your cravings throughout the day making it difficult to stick to set portion sizes.

    For this reason, try to go to bed early enough to get these recommended hours, and avoid using electronics/ other distractions that will stop your brain from switching off.

  • Surround yourself with support
  • When you’re surrounded by others of the same mind-set who are also active, eat well and stick to healthy behaviors, then you will find it easier to stick to them too.

    Women sat eating outdoors

    Exercise

    An important part of weight loss maintenance is ensuring that you exercise regularly, as not only will this keep your heart rate, circulation and metabolism elevated; paired with the right diet, it will also encourage your body to burn fat instead of carbs for fuel (energy).

    True, you won’t have to hit it as heavy, as your goal now is to match your daily calorie burn to your daily calorie intake.

    However, you will still need to keep your level of activity up in order to prevent any excess calories from creeping onto your waist.

    REMEMBER: exercise alone is not enough to encourage weight loss or keep the pounds at bay. You need to balance it with healthy eating habits as shown above.

    Woman jogging through forest during fall

    Joining the gym
    Joining the gym has got two advantages:

    1. It will encourage you to stick to your workouts as you’re paying out each month and won’t want to waste your money.
    2. In one location, you will have access to a variety of classes and equipment that will give you a full body workout e.g. you will find plenty of cardio, resistance training and classes to keep you focused and interested.
    3. Another bonus with going to the gym, is that you’ll be able to experiment and see which of their classes/pieces of equipment best suits your needs.

    Women doing fitness exercises at the gym

    Home workouts
    If you don’t fancy hitting the gym, then there are plenty of home workouts you can try. The benefit of this approach is that you can easily source these workouts from DVDs, apps and YouTube, and slot them into your day at a time that is easiest for you.

    Simply aim for 15 minutes a day, and you can switch between different styles. Pilates one day, insanity another day, abs training the next, etc. You can mix, match and search for your preferred style.

    In either case, you should aim to exercise on a regular basis, as studies have shown that it is easier to maintain when you’re active than when you’re not.

    TIPS: Try to do 30 minutes of aerobic activity every day and strength training 2-3 times a week. Alternatively, aim to be active for at least 3 hours a week e.g. 1 hour at the gym and 2 hours walking (spread out across 7 days).

    Sporting and healthy young woman planning for dieting

    What do models eat to stay thin?

    You might be surprised, but when it comes to staying slim models adopt all, if not most, of the strategies listed above.

    And it makes sense when you think about it – especially as their livelihood is entirely dependent on them staying in shape (so that they can promote the latest fashion trends and styles).

    They have got the greatest motivation of anyone to take care of their bodies – and are fortunate enough to have the time to do it.

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    So what do they do? What steps do they take?

    Well, if we have learned anything from dieting and weight maintenance, is that the best way to keep the pounds at bay is to eat right, exercise regularly and ensure that you maintain healthy lifestyle choices. And models do the same:

    • They don’t skip meals but aim to eat three square meals a day
    • They minimize the amount of dairy they have
    • They ignore crazy dietary fads and stick to managing their calorie intake, eating right and remaining active
    • They keep themselves hydrated and drink plenty of water (a gallon) a day
    • They don’t drink alcohol and limit the amount of carbs they have
    • They stick to the 80/20 rule – 80% healthy eating, 20% indulgent foods
    • They opt for healthy snacks i.e. carrot sticks.

    Slim woman posing against grey background

    How to make yourself look skinny

    Okay, you’re now a master of eating right and exercising regularly, but what else can you do? Well, another trick is to make yourself look skinny by making wise clothing choices:

    1. Wear clothes that fit
      The wrong clothing size can make you look instantly bigger than you are. Too tight and it will create fictional fat rolls, whilst too loose and it will add bulk and hide your shape.

      For this reason, wear clothing that lightly hugs and compliments your figure without squeezing you. NOTE: this applies to your underwear too. These should not bite into your hips or chest.

    2. Wear clothes that draw in at your waist
      This clever trick will make you look thinner, as it will draw attention to your natural waist i.e. the point at which you are thinnest.

      To achieve this look, invest in fitted shirts (which gather or swoop in at the waist) and clothes that incorporate belts, patterns and textures as they will draw your eye to this area.

    3. Flattering accessories
      Certain accessories can help to control where and how someone looks at your body (creating the illusion that you are skinnier or taller).

      The best ones for this are: long necklaces (these make you look long and slim); large, brightly colored bracelets (these will draw people’s attention to your slim wrists and will make you look smaller), and earrings and headbands (these can be used to distract and draw attention away from parts of your body that you don’t like).

    4. Young woman with dark hair and bright makeup posing

    5. Harness colors and patterns
      Certain colors and patterns can make you look slimmer; the most common being black. In fact, black and other dark colours are known to reduce the amount of shadows that can be seen on your body, creating the illusion that you are smaller and thinner.

      Paired with bright accents and accessories (on your waist, wrists, neck and feet), combined they will make you look skinny.

      In terms of patterns, you should wear vertical stripes to make you look taller and thinner, whilst avoiding big patterns (these will make you look bigger).

    6. Avoid clothes which make you look larger
      We mentioned this briefly above. Well, extending on this, there are certain clothing styles which can add on the pounds e.g. empire waist tops (these can make your waist look wider) and thick sweaters (these visibly add inches).
    7. Invest in shapewear
      These are available in a variety of different styles (shirts, shorts or full bodysuits) but all come with the benefit of making you look smaller and enhancing your assets.

      Even men can get shapewear for their chests and lower halves.

    8. Good posture
      You’d be amazed at the difference good posture can have on your figure.

      By standing up straight (with your shoulders back), this will pull in your stomach and make you look 10lbs lighter.

    Woman displaying incorrect and correct posture

    Conclusion

    For many, the idea of maintaining weight loss is just as scary as trying to lose it. Yet, it doesn’t have to be that way. By simply learning how to stay skinny and look after your body, you can experience real peace of mind.

    However, if you’re really worried, you can try combining the above tips with proven fat burners such as PhenQ. Designed to complement healthy eating habits and exercise; PhenQ can help you keep the pounds at bay and remain body confident.

    Want to know more about PhenQ and how to stay slim?

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