I am now in my fifth month of maintaining a significant weight loss. It’s going pretty well. There are ups and downs but so far I’ve been able to sustain.
I’ve posted weight loss tips a while back, but here are a few things that have worked for me these last 4+ months as I keep my weight at healthy levels:
1. Continue to weigh yourself every day. Or at least several times a week. Look at the forest and not the trees when you do this, but I don’t think a weekly weigh-in would be enough. At least not for me. I could see myself looking at a one-pound gain over a week and saying, “Eh, that’s an outlier.” And then repeating that for the next twenty-seven weeks.
2. Keep on tracking. Once I accepted that if I wanted to stay a healthy weight, I would have to be mindful about what I ate—for the rest of my life—things got much better. I still use MyFitnessPal faithfully. Yes, it’s a pain. So is brushing your teeth. Get over it.
That said, I do not log every last thing I eat. After a year of this, I know enough about portion sizes and nutrition info to be able to estimate a lot of things in my head. The key is finding a happy medium between writing everything down—which is boring and unsustainable, and probably unnecessary since maintainers have more calories to play with each day—and guesstimating too much, which can lead you to trick yourself into thinking a Panera orange scone is as virtuous as a pumpkin muffie, because hey, they’re sitting right next to each other in the bakery case!
3. Pretend you’re still losing weight. I have MyFitnessPal set for losing half a pound a week. This seems just about right, given that there are days I don’t keep track, and many days I go over. There’s also the mental aspect of this—yes, I celebrated when I reached my weight goal, but not too much because there’s no “arriving” with this stuff.
4. Your goal weight is your ceiling, not your average. I added this one because for me it’s an important thing that I kinda fell into. I lost my 40 pounds and hit my goal weight, and then I lost another pound or two. This means that even when my weight fluctuates, as it does each day, I don’t (usually) go above my goal. That’s a psychological benefit, for me at least. Even at my heaviest swing, I am still at my goal, and I don’t worry. Because in my house, worry can lead to anxiety, anxiety can lead to despair, and despair can lead to endless spoonfuls of marshmallow fluff. Can I get an Amen?
5. Don’t track food at all on days you work out. That’s my little reward for continuing to run and bike—well, that and feeling much better mentally and physically.
6. Be friends with food. Some people are abstainers when it comes to sweets or alcohol or whatever—they give the thing up entirely because once they start they can’t stop. I’m more of a moderator. Barring something medical going on, any fitness regimen that requires me never to eat [insert bad ingredient du jour here] isn’t going to work for me.
But whether you’re a abstainer or a moderator, you can’t see food as the enemy. Food is fuel, but it’s also a source of delight and sensual pleasure. I ate a brownie last night. And then I ate two more because they were soooooo good. And I’m super OK with that.
7. Continue to reward yourself, but make the rewards modest. When I hit my weight goal I bought a bunch of new clothes, because I had to, but also as a celebration. I have continued to buy one small thing a month. This is still a necessity as I build up a decent wardrobe, but it’s also a carrot for keeping the weight off.
I would love to hear your tips for losing weight, maintaining a healthy weight, or reaching other fitness goals you have.