The maintaining game

After all your hard work, the last thing you want is for the weight you lost to come creeping back on. So here are some strategies to make sure those pounds stay gone for good:

  • Keep exercising. At your new lower weight, your body needs fewer calories to stay fueled. But you can compensate for that decrease by burning extra calories through regular exercise. Increasing your lean muscle mass through weight training can also give your metabolism a boost.
  • Weigh yourself regularly. While you don't need to step on the scale every day, regular weigh-ins, for example, once a week or every couple of weeks, can help to identify small changes in your weight before they become a big problem.
  • Be ready to handle setbacks. The unwanted 5-pound souvenir you brought home from your vacation doesn't have to be a permanent fixture. Be prepared to act as soon as you recognize slip-ups by having a plan in place that involves the same weight loss strategies that helped you in the first place.
  • Keep a food journal. You don't need to do it all the time, as you may have done when you were dieting. But writing down what you eat over the course of a few days, as well as measuring out your portions can make sure you aren't easing back into the habit of eating more than you think.
  • Find new motivators. If the ever-declining number on the scale helped bolster your willpower when it came to losing weight, you may need to find some new motivators to stay on track. Think about the things about your new body that make you happy - whether it's the fact that you're not too embarrassed to wear a swimsuit in public or that you can run a mile without feeling like you are going to collapse.