When it comes to your weight loss goals losing weight is only part of the battle. Reaching your weight loss goal is an amazing achievement but maintaining your target weight is just as important.
Think about it like cleaning your room. Once you clean your room you feel much better and it becomes easier to relax. However, you can’t get distracted and start leaving things around the moment your room is finally clean. It’s important to stay organized and maintain your work or all of your effort will be wasted.
By creating and following a plan you can keep your room clean and you can maintain your target weight well into the future. At Weight Loss Direct we understand that not everyone has made a plan to maintain their weight loss so we found 10 great tips to keep in mind after you’ve hit your goals!
10 tips to maintain your ideal weight
1. Track your Weight
Tracking your weight is one of the most important aspects of maintaining your goals. We have said it before and we will say it again: knowing where you stand in relation to your weight loss goals is always the best way to start.
By frequently weighing yourself you know exactly when you start to move from your target weight. It is easier to make quick changes when you start to move away from your goals. Tracking your weight also lets you know if you are losing too much weight. Losing weight can be exciting but dropping below a healthy weight can put just as much stress on your body as being overweight.
Your bathroom scale is an important tool when losing and maintaining weight but it’s also important to understand that your weight will fluctuate more than you expect. The average adult’s weight will change as much as 5 or 6 pounds every day. Progress can take time so its important to find a target range instead of stressing over every pound.
2. Maintain Healthy Sleeping Habits
Maintaining a healthy sleep schedule is essential when reaching and maintaining your weight loss goals. A lack of sleep can have negative affects on your decision making. A paper on the interactions between sleep habits and self-control found that a lack of sleep can make it harder to focus and ignore impulses. While poor impulse control won’t cause terrible damage to your health it can make it harder to follow your diet!
A lack of sleep can also increase your appetite which is never a good thing when trying to lose or maintain your weight. It’s no big secret that maintaining your weight is difficult and keeping a healthy sleep schedule of 7 to 9 hours a night can make it that much easier.
Read more on sleep and weight loss here!
3. Reduce Stress
Reducing stress is an important part of both losing and maintaining your weight. We understand that its impossible to live a stress-free life but simply cutting down on the stress that’s within your control can make a meaningful difference.
Maintaining high levels of stress can cause weight gain by producing extra cortisol . People with high cortisol levels generally have higher levels of belly fat. Cortisol can also increase your appetite and lead to over eating.
4. Lift weights
When people lose weight its common to lose muscle mass as well. Losing muscle mass can lower your metabolism leading you to burn fewer calories over time. Its important to try and gain back any lost muscle once you have reached your goals. Training your muscles through weight lifting or calisthenics can help build any lost muscle. By working out you can build muscle mass which increases your metabolism and increases overall health.
We aren’t saying that you need to hit the gym every day but working our two or more days a week can make a significant difference. According to the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity people who lift weights after weight loss are more likely to maintain that loss and strengthen their metabolism.
5. Find a support System
Maintaining weight loss can be difficult. From passing a fast food place on your drive home to staying active and getting enough sleep there are a lot of ways you can sabotage your progress. One of the best ways to stay on track is by establishing a strong support system. By establishing a support system you can have someone who will check up on you and help motivate you toward your goals.
For many people a support system can be a spouse or a friend that’s experiencing something similar but there are many ways to find a support system. If you go to the gym frequently getting a trainer can be a good way to stay accountable. You can also reach out to people on social media or talk to a co-worker.
6. Establish realistic and sustainable changes
When people first make a weight loss or a weight management plan it is easy to go overboard. Most people give up on weight loss because they are following unrealistic diets that are not possible or not healthy long term.
By attempting unrealistic diets people can also end a diet by eating more then they did previously. Overeating after an unrealistic diet may feel like you are eating a correct amount leading to extra weight gain.
By establishing an achievable plan that fits your lifestyle it becomes much easier to maintain your weight for a much longer time.
7. Eat More Protein
Eating protein is one of the easiest ways to help maintain your weight. According to the National Library of Medicine protein targets crucial parts of your body for effective weight loss. Proteins primary benefit is protein-induced satiety. Satiety is just how satisfied you are meaning that protein leaves you more satisfied than many other foods. This increase in satisfaction can lead to smaller and less frequent meals while experiencing similar levels of fullness.
Proteins also require more energy for your body to break down leading to a higher calorie expenditure at the end of the day.
8. Avoid Processed foods
Avoiding highly processed foods is another great way to help maintain your target weight. Processed foods are not terrible for you but they can have a negative impact if your diet relies too heavily on them.
A study published in 2019 found that on average when people eat diets full of ultra-processed foods they consumed more calories and gained more weight when compared to the same people on minimally processed diets. The average calorie intake was about 500 higher for people eating processed foods and people actually ate the processed diet faster which can lead to over eating.
9. Incorporate whole foods into your diet
This is the flip side of our previous point but eating whole unprocessed foods is a great way to help maintain your weight. Whole foods can also be referred to as real food because they are still in their natural forms. Some examples of whole foods can include fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins. By giving your body high quality unprocessed foods its actually easier to know when you are full.
Unprocessed foods are also harder for your body to process foods. Because whole foods are harder to process it can take longer for your body to digest them. Longer digestion leads to a slower release of energy leaving you feeling fuller for longer.
10. Allow the occasional Cheat meal
After you have reached your weight loss goal your diet shouldn’t change drastically going into the future. However, its important to balance your wants and your goals. By occasionally adding your favorite snacks and foods to your diet it becomes easier to maintain weight loss over a long period of time.
A study from the International Journal of Obesity found that greater weight loss was seen in people who took breaks from their diets to enjoy themselves and eat foods they enjoy. By occasionally giving yourself cheat meals or eating more than normal you can actually reduce your bodies adjustment to a restrictive diet. By reducing your bodies adjustment to restrictive diets your weight maintenance program becomes more effective.
We aren’t saying that every day should be a cheat day but having a big dinner on game day or eating a second piece of cake isn’t the end of the world. Its important to allow yourself to relax or the stress of constant effort can lead people to give up before they really want to.
Losing weight can change your life but without proper maintenance all of your effort can go to waist.
When maintaining your weight you need to establish a realistic plan but you need to remember that life happens. following a plan 5 days out of the week is better than following a plan for two months and giving up. Also remember that by eating consciously and paying attention to your body you can make your maintenance plans easier while reducing the stress you put on yourself.
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