How to Maintain Weight Loss – Weight loss often seems to be a fixed goal. By that, I mean, when a client reaches their target weight, all their dietary changes, exercise commitments, and general awareness of making healthier choices seems to kind of go out the window.  It’s as if there is this switch that goes off after the scale reads the magic desired number. Sometimes, it’s not even reaching the goal weight, but simply losing quite a bit.  Suddenly, the client seems to think that what they do no longer matters and their body will just “stay” at the new weight.  We often see clients coming back in to start the weigh loss journey again and again. Despite making progress and doing well on the program, they can’t seem to make it “stick”. So, what’s the secret? How do you eat and live after you’ve lost the weight?

First of all, as I’ve said in other posts, my personal belief and our view at CoreLife is that the changes you make when you start this journey are not temporary ones. We’re advocating for a lifestyle change, a permanent one. That means when the scale reads that magic number, when you move down a jean’s size, when your cholesterol levels are finally in check, you don’t just stop doing what you were doing  because it worked, you KEEP doing it because it was WORKING!  More importantly, this means that the changes you’re wanting and willing to make right now need to be ones you’re wanting and willing to make a month from now. A year from now. Always.

Time and time again, clients tell me they want to cut x-amount of calories and to exercise hours a day, etc. etc. so they can reach their goal. While that may help for an initial jump-start of weight loss, at some point, you’re going to have to keep being super restrictive and crazy-active if you want to maintain your new weight. You can’t simply revert to old ways of eating or that sedentary lifestyle and expect your body to not revert back to its old, overweight, unhealthy self too.

Ok, so what does this mean? No chocolate ever again?! Workouts 7 days a week, for hours on end? Certainly not. This means that you need to pick an approach and a lifestyle that works for you, now, and for the foreseeable future. I believe in moderation in all things, including moderation. So, is one night of a few too many cocktails this month going to derail your entire health journey? Nope. But, don’t make it a regular habit. Good nutrition and regular exercise should be the norm. Think of it this way, 90% of the time, you should be eating nutritious foods and working out. 10% of the time, indulge or slack a bit. This could be on a weekly, monthly, or even daily basis. Perhaps you eat well all day and have a little chocolate indulgence in the evenings. Or maybe you workout most days of the week and give yourself a morning to sleep in on Saturdays. Whatever that balance looks like for you, commit to it. When you’re feeling the urge to splurge, ask yourself if you’ve already splurged today, this week, etc. Are you above your 10%? Life shouldn’t just be about restrictions, it should be about balance.

So, how do you eat post-weight loss? The same way as you did during weight loss. If that doesn’t sound good to you, then I recommend you take a hard look at your current weight loss approach and figure out how to change it so it doesn’t feel like work and is something you can imagine doing and want to do no matter what the number on the scale.

Aubrey Phelps MS RDN

How to Maintain Weight Loss