Can you guess how much money Americans spend each year on weight loss? It’s a whopping $59 billion! That includes inspirational books, weight-loss supplements or packaged foods, and programs like Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, and Noom.
One reason why that figure is so high? Weight cycling, otherwise known as yo-yo dieting, is incredibly common. You lose enough weight to fit into that bikini or bridesmaid’s dress, but then life gets in the way and you find yourself eating your feelings or skipping workouts. Before you know it, those pounds have crept back on.
Learn how to maintain weight loss with some common sense tips — and a few secrets from nutrition and fitness experts.
How To Maintain Weight Loss For Good
If you’ve recently lost weight, you probably feel great, have more energy, and are inspired to stay on track. Just starting your quest to shed a few pounds? It’s never too early to incorporate these tips and set yourself on the right track to a healthy new you.
Find What Works For You
When it comes to losing weight, no two bodies are the same. What worked for your BFF might not be right for you. What’s more, the Internet hype over certain diet and exercise trends (we’re lookin’ at you, keto and Crossfit) can make things even more confusing.
The old adage that advises you to “eat less and exercise more” just isn’t that simple. Maybe you had to reduce your carb intake, cut out sugar altogether, or focus on smaller portion sizes. Chances are it took you a few tries to discover an approach that felt right and showed results.
We’re here to tell you that’s perfectly OK. If you’ve found a diet and exercise plan that is effective and healthy, then, by all means, stick to it. Don’t feel like you have to conform or try every new method that’s making the rounds on Pinterest.
Make Sure It’s Sustainable
The grapefruit diet, the cabbage soup diet, the Beverly Hills diet, Atkins, paleo, gluten-free. Trendy fad diets have been around for a long time. And it’s pretty easy to adopt one of these and see quick results. But if you’re depriving yourself of food you love, white-knuckling your way to weight loss, it simply won’t be sustainable.
It’s been said before but bears repeating: make a lifestyle change that you can stick with, rather than jump on the latest weight-loss bandwagon. (That goes for workouts, too.)
Ease Back Into Eating Habits
Let’s say you have managed to drop some weight as a result of a particular diet plan, but you know that continuing to eat that way isn’t going to be easy. It’s OK to reincorporate gluten, cheese, sugar, meat, or whatever food you’ve been denying yourself. Just go slowly, keep up your exercise habits, and cut back on calories elsewhere.
You may find that you no longer enjoy these forbidden fruits, or you may be able to consume them in moderation. But making fundamental changes to the way you eat, move, and live is how to maintain weight loss in the long run.
Mentor Someone Else
One of the best ways to maintain weight loss is by helping others to achieve their health goals. Steer clear of proselytizing — you can share what worked for you, but remember what we said earlier about everyone being different.
What you can do is be their cheerleader, offer a listening ear when the going gets tough, and offer to join them for a joint gym sesh. Or better yet, ask them what kind of support would be most helpful!
When a friend or family member is looking to you for inspiration, it’s easier to stay on track with your own fitness.
Share Your Experience
Similarly, it may help cement your new habits to share your experience. Join a weight-loss message board, forum, or Facebook group. Pen a blog, or post some inspiring Instagram pics. When anyone asks you how you’ve lost weight, or how to maintain weight loss, this will make it easy to tell your story.
Just as writing down a to-do list item can help you remember it, journaling your fitness journey will make it seem more permanent and less like a fluke or flash-in-the-pan.
Adopt New Skills for Coping — and Celebrating
It’s probably tempting, now that you’ve reached a weight-loss goal, to treat yo’ self with a big cheat meal. And it can be hard to break those old habits of turning to chips and cookies for comfort when you’re feeling down.
Instead of denying yourself food, think about celebrating your successes or coping with sadness in different, healthier ways. To cheer yourself up, try yoga, meditation, a long walk in nature, or a Netflix binge (sans snacks!). Celebrations could mean a mani-pedi or massage, a new pair of shoes or some fun workout gear, or even an edible splurge like dinner out at a healthy restaurant.
Forgive Your Failures
Even the most dedicated dieters and avid exercisers slip up once in a while. If you fall back into old habits, forgive yourself. Get back on track as soon as you can, but don’t beat yourself up over the relapse.
It’s far too easy to sink into a downward spiral of negative self-talk if you’re feeling like a failure, so chin up! You’re only human, after all. And look at the amazing progress you’ve made!
Final Thoughts on Maintaining Weight Loss
Just as your weight-loss journey worked because you made it your own, you will have to ford your own path when it comes to how to maintain weight loss. Experiment if you like, or stay true to what’s worked in the past — just make sure your habits are sustainable.
Lastly, don’t be too hard on yourself if there are a few pitfalls or potholes. You know by now that this is all about the journey, not the destination.
What advice has helped you the most as you’ve been losing weight? Any favorite healthy recipes to share? We’d love to hear all about your experience, so leave a comment below!