Maintaining Weight LossSo you’ve dieted and exercised and finally reached your goal weight.  This is a wonderful achievement and something you should be proud of, but rather than feeling happy, many a dieter in this position is plagued by the uncertainty of knowing if maintaining weight loss will be beyond them.

Make no mistake about it, maintaining weight loss will be impossible for those who lose weight but fail to make lifestyle changes to ensure the pounds they worked so hard to lose don’t come creeping back.

Following are 5 tips that will make the task of maintaining weight loss, easier.

5 Tips for Maintaining Weight Loss

1)  Don’t Eat on Auto-Pilot

If you’re set on maintaining weight loss, don’t eat on the run or while engaged in activities that will distract you such as watching TV, reading, or surfing the Internet.  Eating this way will almost certainly result in over-eating.

Sit down for meals, and always be mindful of how much you are eating.  Eat slowly, chew your food well and savor every mouthful.

Stop eating from time to time and ask yourself if you are still hungry.  When we eat quickly we usually eat more without realizing it.  Eating at a leisurely pace will give your brain time to let you know when you’ve had enough.

Sometimes what feels like hunger can actually be thirst, so drink water before and with every meal.  Water is the ideal beverage for dieters as it is calorie-free, yet filling.

2)  Don’t Skip Workouts

You’d be right in thinking that skipping the occasional workout won’t result in weight gain.  The risk with doing so, however, is not so much physical as it is psychological.  Once we drop our commitment to our exercise program, it’s all too easy to go from slacking off once every two to three weeks to once or twice a week, or more often.  Over time, this can result in weight gain, especially for those who have finished dieting and are in the process of maintaining weight loss.

To keep enthusiasm for exercise fresh, steer clear of exercise you don’t enjoy.  If you’d rather swim laps than run on a treadmill, swim.  Prefer to take an aerobics class over pedalling on a stationary bike?  Do aerobics.  While not all aerobic activity burns the same number of calories, the majority burn a similar amount.  If your exercise of choice falls short on this front, compensate by adding an extra workout a week or by extending each session by ten minutes or so.

The social aspect of competitive or team sports can make this type of exercise easier to stick to, so schedule in regular games of tennis, squash or any other sports you enjoy.  Even walking can be far more enjoyable with company, so find a willing friend, or friends, and arrange to walk together.

3) Over-eating Healthy Food

Just because a food is healthy, doesn’t mean you can eat as much of it as you want to without gaining weight.  Eating too much of any food can result in weight gain.  Prime examples include nuts, avocados and foods rich in olive oil.  Over-eating low-fat foods can also cause us to gain weight, so always be aware of portion size.

Measure or weigh your food, and don’t feel you have to finish everything that’s in front of you.  If you have left-overs you wish to save for another meal, place each food item into a separate container.  That way you won’t be tempted to finish off a container full of food in one sitting.

Serve yourself 20% less than you think you will eat.  Researchers at Cornell University found that most people can eat 20% less food without being aware of their portion size having been cut.

If sitting down to a partially empty plate of food makes you feel deprived, use smaller plates.  This has been proven to help us feel satisfied, when eating less.

4) Think Long-Term

Committing to eating healthily and exercising regularly, long-term, will make maintaining weight loss easier.  Living this way you will still be able to indulge in your favorite treats, though maybe not as often or in as large a serving as before.

The 80/20 rule works well for a lot of people, meaning if you eat wisely 80% of the time you can be more relaxed about what you eat the other 20% of the time.  Don’t view this as a diet, but as the way you choose to live your life.

Don’t stick rigidly to the same food and exercise program, ad infinitum.  Mixing things up will mean there’ll be less chance of you becoming bored one day, having a major pig-out, then thinking that since you’ve fallen off the wagon you may as well stay off.

The same goes for exercise.  Sometimes, through no fault of our own, we are unable to exercise.  This could be due to temporary illness, a house move, a new job or a change in life’s circumstances.  No matter the reason, it’s never too late to start again.  Remember, it’s easier to lose three pounds than thirty, so the sooner you get back to healthy eating and exercising, the sooner you will get back to being the shape you want to be.

5) Track What You Eat

An effective but often overlooked method for maintaining weight loss, is to keep a record of your daily calorie intake and exercise regime.  Be totally honest.  If you fudge the details, the only person you will be short-changing is yourself.  Tracking accurately can help enormously with maintaining weight loss.

If you are an emotional eater, note the circumstances under which you ate more than you should have, or ate when you weren’t hungry.  Make a note of how you felt at the time.  Seeing this in black and white will help you make better choices in the future.

Highlight the days you ate well, particularly enjoyed your workout and felt happy with your efforts.  Having this information on hand will allow you to draw from it if your motivation begins to falter while you are maintaining weight loss.

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