Weight loss is difficult. There are countless workout regimens and fad diets that you can try if you want to lose weight quickly. But, I decided that I’m in it for the long haul. Sometimes, I feel that finding a healthy routine I can stick to for the rest of my life has been harder than losing weight in the first place.
So, what to do when you’ve reached your goal weight and aren’t actively trying to lose more? The statistics for maintaining weight loss over a long period of time are not good. Research shows that about 50 million Americans go on a diet each year, but only 5% of people are actually able to keep that weight off for good.1
While it’s still something I struggle with, I’ve found that these tips are helpful:
- Keep moving even if you don’t feel like it. There are days when I’d much rather go home and nap on the couch instead of exercising. However, I know that I will feel so much better after as little as 30 minutes of exercise.
- Keep a food diary. It’s easy to forget about the soft pretzel you had in the morning or the piece of cake you had to celebrate a coworker’s birthday. Write down everything you eat to keep yourself accountable.
- Count all calories. I used to drink two 20-ounce bottles of regular soda almost every day. It never dawned on me that I was drinking about 1,000 calories (250 calories per serving, with each bottle being about 2 servings). A calorie is a calorie whether it comes from food or a triple tall soy latte.
- Mom was right – eat your fruits and veggies! As a vegan, this isn’t that hard for me to do. But it’s important to eat fruit and vegetables as close to their natural state as possible. Steam or bake your veggies. Go with fresh, cut-up fruit for dessert.
- Remember where you were and where you want to be. There are days when I’m hard on myself – I ate too much or I didn’t work out enough. But then I remember the old me. I’m so much happier now and need to give myself credit for what I’ve done.
What tips do you have for keeping the weight off? Are there any handy hints for making sure you exercise or eat healthy?
1 J. Anderson, Colorado State University Extension; L. Young, M.S.; J. Roach, M.S. 12/98. Revised 12/08.