There’s lots of talk about people dieting, losing weight, and then gaining the weight back. There was the Biggest Loser study that was released last year that I think made a lot of people feel like why should they bother trying to be a healthy weight. But, I think we can ignore the Biggest Loser because most of us (all of us?) are not losing weight by starving ourselves and working out at a high intensity for 8 hours each day. So, we lose weight more slowly and I think that means we can manage to maintain weight loss.
Also, even if you don’t lose weight, for most of us, it’s a reasonable goal not to gain weight.
So how do we maintain our current weight?
- Have a plan. You lost weight by planning what you ate and how you exercised. When you’ve reached that long-awaited goal, you still need a plan. One thing we all know by the time we’re in our 50’s is that the unexpected happens more often than we might like. If you know how you eat and behave while maintaining your weight, it helps when the those unexpected events occur.
- Continue to eat in a healthy fashion. Hopefully, you didn’t lose weight by following some restrictive diet that you can’t wait to abandon. People often lose weight and then say “hey, I can go off my diet” and resume their old eating habits. What got you overweight is pretty much guaranteed to get you back to where you were. So you have to continue to pay attention to what you eat.
- Exercise Often. It’s difficult to lose weight through exercise but you can use exercise to help you maintain your weight. You want to maintain or increase your muscle to help keep your metabolism working properly. I think you can do what you like but make sure you’re challenging yourself. So, you need to do more than just stroll about your neighborhood, though I confess I like strolling about my neighborhood. You just have to add in something a bit more challenging.
- Pay attention to your weight. Chris just posted about her habit of weighing herself every day. You need to understand that your weight will fluctuate but if you start to gain, you need to focus on your goals. I think people do this through using the scale or trying on a particular item of clothing (like those small jeans you bought to celebrate your weight loss!) Give yourself a range and don’t fret if you’re within that range. It’s when the weight begins to creep over it that you need to act.
- Find some friends or group to help you maintain your weight. Having a workout partner can make exercising easier to do. Friends with similar goals can make it easier to maintain your eating habits. Ask for help when you need it. We all need help at different times. I find that brainstorming with others on solutions to their challenges often helps me with mine. Don’t forget to look to your family for support. There’s perhaps a husband or significant other who can participate with you. Sometimes an adult child is a great help.
I’m sure there are other good strategies for maintaining weight loss. Share what works for you. That’s part of supporting each other, isn’t it?