At Your Goal Weight? Great! Now What?

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You cleaned up your diet, stepped up your exercise routine and ditched destructive lifestyle habits. And you lost the weight! Trouble is, when the number on the scale hits your projected goal weight, you may find your motivation waning – and vices like soda and fries calling your name.

The key to maintaining your weight loss: Drop the “I’m on a diet” mentality, which may lead you into yo-yo territory. To stay within a few pounds of your goal weight, focus instead on adopting a lifestyle that suits your new body. People who succeed at losing weight and keeping it off shift their eating and exercise habits forever.

Here’s how to stay on track for the long haul:

  1. Pat yourself on the back. Celebrate, congratulate yourself and post pictures of your hard-won body on Facebook. Whatever makes you feel good (that doesn’t involve devouring calories!) is fair game. Instead of hitting the nearest ice cream parlor as a reward for the hard work, spoil yourself with a new dress or a , splurge on a massage or just set aside some quiet “you” time.
  2. Keep a log. Even if you don’t record your healthy habits daily, make sure to commit something to paper, the screen, or your favorite tracking device at least sporadically, and especially when you see (or feel) yourself slipping. I use my birthday. On the 27th of every month, I note my weight, food intake and physical activity. That way I have something to compare to month after month and year after year. That’s what inspires me.
  3. Identify your weak spots. Think through your day and identify dietary or inactivity landmines, and brainstorm ways you can defuse them in advance. Meeting clients for lunch at a posh restaurant? Check the menu online and eyeball “safe” menu options. Evening event means you can’t get to the gym? Fit in a lunchtime walk. My personal weak link is a late night snack, which I’ve learned to fine-tune so it falls within my healthy lifestyle. A little secret: I love to snack on vegetables.
  4. Tap into your support system. One of the keys to staying fit—and maintaining your goal weight—is to surround yourself with supportive friends and family members. Try to steer clear of the saboteurs and align yourself with the people who are cheering you on. Better yet, align yourself with a buddy who shares your commitment to fitness.
  5. Step on the scale. Weigh yourself every week. If the number nudges up, take note. If it doesn’t go back down by the time you weigh in again (one week later), start tracking your food habits and activity again. Boost your water and vegetable intake, log more time at the gym or try a new fitness class. The goal is to use your fitness strengths to help keep your weight in check. Not surprisingly, one of the hallmarks of people who have successfully lost weight and kept it off is regular weigh-ins.
  6. Eat healthy. Eating is a necessity—several times each day. To set yourself up for continued success, keep low-sugar foods that are “high volume,” meaning they fill you up with relatively few calories, on hand. Eat breakfast and take time (in advance) to prepare healthy foods so you’re not tempted to hit the nearest vending machine when cravings hit. For most people eating three structured (and healthy) meals each day, plus a couple of snacks, tends to work best.
  7. Stay active. Reaching your goal weight isn’t a license to ease up on exercise. In fact, your best bet for staying slim is to increase your activity, and to change up what you do for exercise. What do you want to achieve in terms of fitness? Challenge yourself by trying something new. Sign up for a barre class, take up yoga or hop on a rowing machine at the gym. The key is to keep your muscles guessing so you burn more calories.
  8. Amp up your water intake. Not only does water help lubricate your tissues and joints, it also keeps cravings in check. Make sure to drink at least 8 glasses a day and try to drink a full glass before every meal and snack.
  9. Watch the self-talk. Rather than beat yourself up for skipping the gym or gaining an extra pound during your weekly weigh-in, focus on what needs fine-tuning. A positive outlook—about yourself and the world around you—can help you achieve your goals. Most important, sing your own praises. Remind yourself of the weight you lost and the hard work it took to get there.

Reaching your goal weight is a huge feat, but it’s not the most important thing. The key to health and well-being is how your systems are operating internally. So no matter what the number on the scale says, don’t forget the five pillars of healthy living: healthy nutrition, physical activity, water intake, positive self-talk, and a supportive environment.


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Categories: FeelWell