Has this ever happened to you? You lost weight, and perhaps even reached your goal, and then you promptly gained it back. If you are like 95% of dieters out there, this has happened to you. The most commonly cited statistic shows that 95% of people who lose weight will gain it back within two years. That’s depressing.
Why does this typically happen?
I’m speaking from both sides of the aisle here – I’ve gained “lost weight” back more times than I can count, and I’ve maintained a loss. So many people tell me that losing weight is the easy part but the maintenance part is the area they struggle with the most.
For me, when I was on the diet merry-go-round, I’d lose 20 pounds or so, and then find myself gaining back 25 pounds very quickly. I’d no sooner see a small victory on the scale before I began to fall right back into my old eating habits. I didn’t consciously sabotage myself, but I suppose that’s what I was doing.
I remember feeling like, “I’ve got this weight loss thing under control, so I can have some Oreos.” Unfortunately, “some Oreos” turned into an entire package of Oreos, followed by chips, chocolate candy, and ice cream in rapid order. I’d weigh myself after the eating fiasco and see myself up a pound or two. “Oh well,” I’d think, “It’s just a pound. That will come right back off.” Only it didn’t.
That little pound turned into five, and before I knew it, I had gone right back up to where I had begun. It was so frustrating. And I know I’m not alone in having experienced that frustration. So what can you do to prevent regaining your hard-lost weight back? Are there certain strategies you can employ that will get you into the 5% of people who successfully maintain a loss? I think there are.
Here’s the first 5 things that I thought of when I thought of some Weight Maintenance Tips:
1. Don’t change anything the first week after you meet your goal. – Eat like you have been while losing weight and see what your weight does. It can be that you were so close to maintenance calories at the end of your journey that you don’t have to change anything. The only way to know this is to not change anything for a week or so. If you lose weight, then you know you need to add in a few extra calories. Believe me – it won’t be many!
2. Keep up with your exercise. Hopefully the exercise you’ve been doing hasn’t been so excessive that you find it impossible to keep it up. If you must cut back on the exercise you’ve been doing, then you have got to cut back on the food as well. If you don’t you will gain.
3. Make sure you’ve gotten rid of any clothes that are too big for you. (Exception: One or two items of clothing as a reminder of where you came from) By getting rid of the “too-big” clothes you are visually telling yourself every time you open the closet – this is my new size.
4. Have some form of daily accountability. If you don’t weigh yourself every day, make sure you have something that keeps you accountable. Maybe you journal your food, or perhaps you have a pair of jeans that is your “new perfect” size. If so, make sure you keep on checking in with yourself.
5. If you start to see a gain, nip it in the bud immediately. Go back to doing what you did to lose the weight, and that pound or two will come back off. If you don’t get right back at it, it’s so easy to let a pound multiply into twenty. (Believe me – I know!!)
What about you? Do you think it’s easier to lose the weight or maintain the weight? Do you have some weight maintenance strategies in place now or for the future? Diane