The moment of truth comes when you dust off those old college jeans and are able to slip them on — and keep them buttoned — with ease. Losing weight is a long, hard journey, but that beautiful moment makes it all worthwhile. Since you don't want to end up gaining it all back, here are some tips to help keep your new, slimmer figure.
- Stick with what works: If counting calories was the key to your big weight loss, don't throw out that food journal just because of what the number says on the scale. Whatever is it that worked, make sure it's something you can maintain.
- Don't go back to your old eating ways: After reaching your goal weight, you feel like you deserve a huge reward — we're talking a bacon cheeseburger with fries, tall Coke, and chocolate fudge sundae reward. A huge pat on the back is definitely in order, but you know once you get a taste of that junk food, it'll be hard to say no. It's OK to splurge every so often, but in order to keep the weight off, eat healthy most of the time. If you want to reward your healthy choices and the goals you've reached, do it without food.
- Keep exercising: Don't throw in the towel once you hit your goal. In order to maintain your current weight, a regular exercise routine is a must. It will also maintain the muscle mass that helps burn even more calories and keeps metabolism buzzing. Exercising regularly is also proven to help you sleep better, and getting enough rest is another way to prevent weight gain.
- Weigh yourself every week: Gaining a few pounds in a few weeks may not seem like a lot, but remember that a person gains 50 pounds, one pound a time. If you find the scale numbers going up, reevaluate your eating and exercise routine to figure out what changes need to be made in order to prevent the weight from continuing to creep back on.
- Avoid old triggers: By the end of your weight-loss journey you know yourself inside and out. Do your best to avoid places and situations that make you forgo your healthy ways such as walking by your favorite bakery, watching TV after dinner (sitting on the couch means holding a spoon and pint), or hitting happy hour after work. If you can't give these up entirely, find ways to enjoy them without downing hundreds of calories — split a bakery pastry with a friend, nosh on Greek yogurt instead of ice cream, and order a glass of wine instead of a high-calorie cocktail.
- Elicit your family and friends' support: The journey doesn't end as soon as the scale flashes that magic number. Keeping the weight off may be even harder than dropping the pounds in the first place, so don't do it alone. Make it known that you need the help of the people around you, whether it be to share healthy recipes or to watch the kids while you hit the gym.
- Continue setting goals: Even if you reached that huge mega goal of losing 60 pounds, in order to stay on the healthy path, continue setting smaller, short-term goals. It could be a fitness goal like "do yoga two times next week," or "try a new fitness class once a month," or a healthy eating goal such as, "eat 10 different vegetables every day," or "only eat two Hershey's Kisses after dinner (instead of a huge handful)." Make the goals realistic and if they're big enough, find ways to reward yourself without undoing all the hard work you've done.