Since reaching my goal weight at the beginning of April, I’ve been working on now maintaining my weight loss.
That’s a whole ‘nother beast.
In all of the years that I have dieted, changed my eating, upped my workouts, done programs like Weight Watchers, etc… I had never actually hit my ‘goal’ weight. I had come close. But all of those times I think there were a few factors that were a challenge:
- They weren’t always complete lifestyle changes. There was dieting, or cutting out certain types of food completely, but not necessarily slower, more thought out changes. Once you stopped, the weight came back.
- I set unrealistic goals. I set target weights that I couldn’t quite reach without making changes that I couldn’t maintain. When I did Weight Watchers, there was one time where I was most successful. I think I lost 40-50 lbs on it. I was 5lbs away from my ultimate goal weight. But I told myself I would hit a number on the scale and I couldn’t, no matter how hard I tried. I was stuck on a plateau and even then I felt good and (looking back) looked good, I wanted to see that number. I became frustrated, jaded, and ultimately fell off the wagon.
- I didn’t give much thought to what I would do when I was ‘done’ dieting. I just figured life would go on as normal but that I wouldn’t have to still make a conscious effort. I don’t sit and calculate the calories for every single thing I eat while/before I’m eating them (like I did when I was actively working to lose weight), but I do try to make sure there’s balance. If I’m eating something really indulgent, I try to balance it with a healthier side like a salad, or I might skip dessert.
This time, I set smaller goals and as I hit each one, I would adjust and create a new goal that I thought was realistic. They weren’t always weight goals – a lot were fitness goals. But as I saw the weight coming off as I reached them, I would ultimately adjust my end weight goal.
I do still keep track of what I’m eating. I use My Fitness Pal daily to make sure I’m generally in a good calorie range. I’m not obsessive about it and I definitely treat myself. I am still finding the balance of what works for maintenance vs what is more targeted towards me losing weight. For the record, I haven’t lost additional weight since hitting goal. That’s fine by me. My weight tends to fluctuate 1-2 lbs from my goal weight on any given day, and that’s what I expect.
I still meal plan before the beginning of every new week. My hubby and I throw out ideas of what we’d like to see on the menu or if there’s a night we want to eat out. I eat leftovers for lunches, I pre-pack my snacks when I go into the office or if we’re going to be out on the weekends doing errands. They help me to stay on track, save money, and just in general have better control of what is available for me to eat.
When we eat out, I still try to order healthier items on the menu, or adjust items so that they aren’t so bad. Luckily, I’m not a huge fan of condiments like mayo, so I usually have that omitted. If we get burgers, I might have mine open faced just because I don’t need that much bread (especially if I’m getting a side of sweet potato fries). And I do order salads more. I actually enjoy them now. My taste buds have definitely changed and I eat a lot of foods that I previously wouldn’t have even tried.
Of course, I’m still working out regularly. I love it and how good I feel when I’m done. I probably have backed off on my intensity a little, but mostly to prevent injury. I’m training for a few races at the moment and I want to do my best, so I’m trying to listen to my body and allow more rest time and strength training rather than full out cardio all the time.
When I can’t get to the gym, or my body is a little achy from a previous workout, I might just go out and take a walk. My toddler loves when I push him in the stroller through the neighborhood. I usually meet a friend and we’ll walk together while our kids chat through the strollers, or once we get to our trail we let them run free while we walk and talk behind them. The weather has been incredible here, aside from some evening storms, so it’s nice to get out during the day or right after dinner for a short walk.
Overall, I try to just develop and maintain the right habits. Healthy habits that I’ve practiced throughout my journey.
While trying to find out more about maintenance, I read a lot of articles and posts. Here are some that I found helpful:
- Weight Maintenance and Weight Loss: Should the Strategies for Each Be Different?
- 13 Ways to Maintain Your Weight Loss
- Best Tips for Maintaining Weight After Weight Loss
- Weight Maintenance: 9 Tips to Keep the Pounds Off
- How to Keep Slim and Healthy After Losing the Weight
One article did recommend something I hadn’t considered: ‘weigh yourself regularly.’ I had assumed that because I was at goal, I could not weigh myself as often and I could be a little less strict in that aspect. While I don’t necessarily want to participate in regular weigh-in challenges that I used to – I know my weight will fluctuate a pound or two up/down depending on the day, week, etc. I do want to keep on top of any big changes in weight gain so that I don’t suddenly find it creeping back on. Though at the same time, I do plan on maintaining the same routines as mentioned above, so it will really just be to keep any eye on things. So I won’t be throwing out the scale anytime soon, but I won’t be as hard on myself by daily variances.
Essentially, I just continue to keep my end goal in mind. Even though I’ve reached my goal weight, I still have the goal of maintaining this healthy lifestyle by being active, making smarter choices, and setting a healthy example for my kids.