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Reaching your weight loss goal is only the first step toward improved long-term health. As we all know, either from experience or anecdotal evidence, many people regain some or all of their lost weight. Following these five steps can prevent that from happening to you.
Make permanent lifestyle changes. This is the first step to permanent change, and it’s also the most important. Most people who lose weight make the mistake of viewing their circumstances as a “diet” – a temporary sacrifice to achieve the results they want. The problem with that thinking is that once the “diet” is successful, many people go back to their old way of living. Viewing your new dietary values and exercise routine as permanent lifestyle changes from the outset can prevent you from falling into this trap.
Figure out your new calorie requirements slowly. Some people do find that once they’ve lost weight, they can maintain that new weight at a slightly higher caloric allowance than their “diet” provided. The key to this rule is that the change is subtle. No, you can’t go back to your old way of eating. Yes, you might be able to handle 100 or 200 calories more than you currently consume in the “weight loss” phase of your plan. The key to finding that balance of intake versus calories burned is to go slowly. Don’t expect to suddenly begin eating 500 more calories per day and not regain the lost weight.
Continue to exercise. If you begin dropping exercise sessions because you are “finished” losing weight, then your metabolism will slow and you’ll regain some weight. Continue your exercise plan as a permanent lifestyle change. But do remember to try new activities from time to time, so that you won’t get bored with your routine.
Continue the good habits you have learned. You have probably learned numerous strategies while working toward your weight loss goal. You practice mindful eating, you’ve learned to analyze and respond to feelings, and you’ve developed strategies to deal with parties and restaurants. Continue to practice those habits.
Continue to record habits and evaluate. You probably don’t want to track your diet every day for the rest of your life, but take the opportunity to reflect about twice per week. How are you eating? Are you sticking to a nutritious diet? Are you giving in to temptation too often? Simply making a point of noticing your habits can help you stay on track. And, of course, continue weekly or bi-weekly weigh-ins. These can prevent a two-pound weight gain from becoming a twenty-pound weight gain.
If you’ve reached your weight loss goal, continue to check in with us periodically. Or, if you’re stuck on a weight loss plateau and need help adjusting your diet plan, give us a call now. We can help you determine what changes need to be made, so that you can reach your goals.