Weight loss and maintenance are two different beasts! Master your maintenance with our best-ever guide to staying at your goal.
Congrats, you made it to your goal (and can we say how fantastic you’re looking!) Reaching that weight loss target is an incredible feeling, because it’s all down to you. You’re the one who nailed the nutrition, did the workouts, and went on the walks. So stop and take a second to acknowledge a job well done.
And now comes maintenance.
You don’t want to be a yo-yo dieter – and we don’t want that for you. Getting the hang of maintenance is key to living your life at your new lower weight, without having to think about it much.
Here’s how to maintain your weight loss so you don’t have to worry about putting it back on. Ever!
Why do people regain weight after weight loss?
We all know the stats about weight regain after a diet. You’re not going to be a statistic. These are the most common reasons people put weight back on after they lost it.
Diet was too restrictive
When people lose weight by cutting too many calories too quickly, the diet can impact metabolic factors and hormones, making it difficult to really reconnect with your true appetite and hunger signals.
Diet cut carbs or specific foods
Diets with harsh rules about specific foods, food groups, or entire macronutrients rarely end well. Partly because you’re likely to crave the banned food, and partly because it’s just not realistic to live the rest of your life with antisocial food rules.
Over exercising to lose weight
When people rely on excessive exercise to burn calories, it can lead to weight gain after they reach their goal. Why? It’s simply not sustainable in terms of time, energy, or injury risk.
10 ways to maintain weight loss
Steer clear of strict rules and restrictive food fads, and instead use these 10 simple and sustainable lifestyle frameworks to keep the weight off. It’s mostly a mindset shift. Once you start thinking of yourself as an active woman who enjoys eating nutritious food and prioritizing her health, it all falls into place. We know you can do this!
Eat for your new bodyweight
One of the main reasons people regain weight they’ve lost is lack of calorie awareness. After you lose weight, your body is lighter. And a lighter body needs fewer calories. If you could maintain your previous weight on 2,300kcals a day, you might only need 1,900kcals a day to maintain your slimmer self. Use an online TDEE calculator to estimate your new daily calorie needs.
Boost your BMR
There are a lot of myths about metabolism. The truth is, you can’t “break” it, but you can slow it down. Make sure you keep yours revved up and running well by staying active, walking every day, eating enough protein, and building a bit of lovely lean muscle tissue.
Be an active person
To keep the weight off, you’ll need to be active. This doesn’t mean going to the gym every day or signing up for every half marathon you come across. Just make a conscious effort to move your body. Walk every day. Embrace gardening. Wash the car by hand. Become the dog’s favorite member of the family. Find a good balance between activity and rest.
Focus on resistance training
Regular exercise is a great habit, not just for maintaining your weight. Exercise is good for your heart, bones, metabolism, posture, social life and self-confidence. Make sure your exercise routine contains some form of resistance training (free weights, bodyweight, weights machines, functional training) – it builds muscle which burns more calories than fat does.
Eat enough protein
Did you know that your body actually burns more calories digesting protein than it does digesting fats or carbohydrates? Just one reason to eat enough protein (the other main one being that it helps you feel full). Aim for 0.8g protein per 1g bodyweight and spread it out across all of your meals.
Get used to saying “no thanks”
Maintaining weight loss requires a bit of a mindset shift. Sure, you’re not dieting any more and, yes, you absolutely deserve some treats. But you can’t expect to eat and drink everything and not put on any weight. Get into the habit of asking yourself: “do I really want this? Will I really enjoy it?”
Cook more meals
The more meals you make at home, the more control you have over the ingredients, calories, fats, oils, sugars, and portion sizes of what you eat. Part of living the maintenance lifestyle means revisiting the balance of eating in vs eating out. Cooking healthy, nutritious meals for yourself should be the default.
Should you weigh yourself?
Ah, the million dollar question. If you’ve only just finished dieting, you probably never want to look at your bathroom scales again. But there’s a good case for keeping an eye on your weight during maintenance. People who weigh themselves regularly (not necessarily frequently) stay closer to their goal weight and eat fewer calories during the day. You don’t have to weigh yourself, you could also use waist measurements or even progress photos. Whatever works for you.
Stay on track at the weekends
It’s really easy to eat and drink so much on the weekends that you completely undo all the good work of your Monday-Friday. We’re not suggesting you live like a monk for the rest of your life. Just keep an eye on your weekend food and drink intake and aim to find balance across the week.
Don’t expect perfection
Finally, we urge you to go easy on yourself. You’ve done an amazing job of dieting. And now it’s time to enjoy life in your slim and sexy body. You feel healthy, happy, and confident – right? And that’s the point of maintenance. It’s perfectly normal for your weight to fluctuate up and down by a good few pounds (even if you’re ticking all the maintenance boxes). Don’t fret over the details. Just focus on living an active, healthy lifestyle, prioritizing nutritious food, and looking after yourself. Enjoy it – you’ve earned it!