How to maintain weight loss: I’ve lost weight, now what?
You’ve lost weight and reached your goal – congratulations! We know that it probably wasn’t an easy ride, but your hard work and determination have paid off and you should be really, really proud of yourself. Now it’s time to maintain weight loss, and it’s a whole different beast.
If you’re feeling a bit lost, you’re not alone. We’ve heard from many men who have hit their goal weights that it can feel a bit like being suddenly cast adrift. Those habits you got used to that have helped you lose weight suddenly aren’t of any use and you might find yourself thinking, well, I’ve lost weight – now what?!
The next steps to maintain weight loss
The next step is to maintain your weight loss. You’ve worked really hard to lose weight and improve your health, and now it’s time to make sure you never return to how you were before.
If you thought losing weight was hard, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Unfortunately, maintaining your weight loss can be difficult and it can also be quite a departure from actively trying to lose weight. But you’re made of tough stuff and you can definitely adjust to your new way of life, just as you adjusted to the healthy habits that enabled you to lose weight.
So how exactly do you maintain weight loss?
Don’t go back to old habits
Don’t assume that you’re suddenly off the hook because you’re a few stone lighter. By all means, celebrate your achievement by indulging in a takeaway or two, but one of the worst things you can do after getting the weight off is to immediately go back to your old eating habits.
You might look back at your old eating habits with rose-tinted glasses, but remember that’s how you got in the position where you needed to lose weight in the first place.
Take it slowly
You need to figure out what your body needs in order to maintain your healthy weight. Do this by gradually increasing the number of calories you eat until your weight stabilises.
This does mean continuing to track what you eat, and continuing to weigh in weekly, but what’re another few weeks when you’ve been working towards your weight loss goals for so long anyway?
Don’t get discouraged
If you had dreams of offering your MyFitnessPal account up as a sacrifice to the weight loss gods and setting fire to your kitchen scales, hold up. You will be able to relax a little in good time, but for now, just try and see it through to the end while you figure out what your body needs.
Doing this slowly is a great way to set you up for successful weight loss maintenance as you’ll get a great idea of what your body needs.
Keep up with your support network
The people who helped you in your weight loss journey? Don’t lose touch with them. They’ll know exactly how hard you worked to get where you are, and if you think it’ll be helpful, let them know that you still want their support to maintain your weight loss.
Whether you want them to be brutally honest and let you know when your good habits are starting to slip, or whether you just want them to continue to be a sounding board is up to you.
If your mates are also on a weight loss journey, why not lend your support? There’s no one better to become a mentor than someone who has been there and done it. It’s also a fantastic opportunity for you to remain active if you volunteer to join them on walks or exercise sessions.
Check in every now and then
The longer you maintain your weight loss, the more tempting it might be to give in to bad habits again. We’d never suggest that you become a saint, because Ben & Jerry’s and sharing-size bags of crisps exist, but it’s all too easy to let the odd treat become an everyday thing. Before you know it, the weight will start creeping on and you’ll end up where you most definitely don’t want to be – right back at the start.
So check in every now and then. Weigh yourself to see how you’re doing, and if the number is slightly higher than you’d like it to be then keep an eye on what you’re eating and how active you are for a couple of weeks.
…but you don’t need to become a slave to the scales
Some people might find weighing themselves to be a helpful tool for maintaining their weight loss, but equally some people might find it leads to obsessive behaviours or it may encourage them to continue losing weight when it’s not healthy to do so. You might even just think that after so long spent fretting about the number on the scales that you’d rather not weigh yourself, and that’s fine too.
Go by how you feel, and how your clothes are fitting. If you’re feeling a bit sluggish, or your jeans are getting too tight, you’ll know that it’s time to focus on getting back into healthy habits.
So pat yourself on the back for successfully losing weight (it’ll have made a huge difference to your health) and buckle up for the next stage. Good luck – we have every faith in you.