You've done it. You've changed up your diet for something healthier, you've put the time in at the gym, and now you've reached your weight loss goal. Woohoo!
After the celebratory rounds of flattering Instagram photos and pats on the back, you'll probably wonder, Now what? Reaching your weight loss is a huge accomplishment, but now you've gotta figure out a way to keep it off.
Why? Because studies show that nearly 65 percent of dieters return to their pre-dieting weight within three years after they've worked so hard to lose it. If you don't want to be another statistic and you want to keep the bod you have now, follow these simple and healthy tips to maintain your weight transformation.
1. Remember It's a Lifestyle -- Not a Diet
A "diet" usually refers to something that's temporary (and, if we're going to be honest, not that pleasant). If you're in it for the long haul, then you need to start seeing your healthier food options as a "lifestyle," and not something you did in order to get a certain result, like your weight loss goal. Instead of thinking with a results-oriented mindset, focus on incorporating nourishing whole foods that you enjoy eating because they not only taste good, but they also make you feel good, too. And don't forget to have balance, either. You can and should treat yourself to a sweet (or salty) snack every now and then. The less deprived you feel, the more you'll stick to your new healthy eating lifestyle.
2. Don't Return to Your Old (Bad) Habits
Just because you dropped the weight doesn't mean you get to return to your diet soda habit. Keeping the weight off also means keeping your healthy habits intact. So whether that means replacing your diet soda at lunch with carbonated water, going to the gym before work, or reducing your weekly sugar intake, it's important to maintain those habits. After all, they were what helped you in the first place, right?
3. Lift Some Weights
If you haven't already, now is the perfect time to add, or increase, strength training to your workout routine. Cardio might get a lot of props for shedding fat initially, but it's resistance training that turns your body into a lean, mean, calorie-torching machine. That's because lifting weights burns calories and builds muscles, which helps keep your metabolism in tip-top shape. Also, don't forget to mix up your sweat session to avoid a weight loss plateau.
For best results, you should aim to strength train two to three times a week, and do cardio and/or HIIT sessions three to four days a week, with an active recovery day or rest day mixed in for good measure.
4. Keep Tabs on Your Triggers
It's important to be aware of when and why you're slipping back into old habits. For example, before you binge on some fast food, stop and ask yourself if you're really that hungry. Maybe you're actually feeling anxious or sad or bored. Or maybe you feel like you need to reward yourself because you've been "good" all week or you've had a hard day. Being aware of your triggers will help stop you in your tracks and give yourself that moment to rethink your next move. If you are hungry, maybe grab the yogurt that you have ready to go in your purse instead. If you're bored or anxious, you go for a walk outside or listen to some music. Once you're aware of your triggers, you'll be able to put a plan in place, which will help immensely.
5. Keep Track of Your Victories
The weight loss might have been "the" victory, but that doesn't mean there isn't more to celebrate. In fact, making new "mini goals" and keeping track of your victories will help you stay motivated and on track with your weight loss maintenance.
So start creating a new list of achievements you'd like to work toward. Maybe it's trying -- and succeeding-- with a new healthy recipe. Or maybe it's racing a 10k race. Or it could be lifting heavier weights at the gym. Whatever it is, acknowledge your hard work and reward yourself accordingly, like treating yourself to a movie night or a mani/pedi.
You know you have in it you to tackle a huge challenge like weight loss -- you can definitely do this!
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