5 Dietitian-approved tips on how to maintain weight after losing it

  • 3 Minutes Read
Joanna Kriehn
Joanna Kriehn, MS, RDN, CDCES - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES)

Congratulations on achieving your weight-loss goal! See what's next with tips on how to maintain weight after losing it. You'll learn what it takes to keep the weight off and prevent backsliding into old habits.

How to maintain weight after losing it

How to maintain weight after losing it? Start by tapping into what motivates you

Unlocking your inner motivation likely helped you at the start of your weight-loss journey. If you have been working at weight loss for a while, your inspirations may differ in the maintenance phase. Pause to reflect on what motivates you to continue your healthy lifestyle: feeling better, having more energy, fitting into smaller clothes, improved sleep habits, etc. Write down your motivations, as this intentional act will help you clarify your future vision making it easier to stay the course. Keep your list of motivators visible at home and work as a reminder of why it's worth it. It will help you make positive choices like avoiding a second helping at dinner and snacking mindlessly.

Plan ahead for high-risk situations

Numerous situations can throw off your weight-management plan. For example, some people identify meetings and events or lack of meal planning as high-risk situations because of their tempting high-calorie treats, takeout, or fast food. Also, stressful life events such as sick family members or travel can make staying on track challenging. Such events interrupt your healthy lifestyle by leaving you little time or energy to cook or fit in planned activities. Set yourself up for success by anticipating problems ahead of time and planning to stay on track. Every time you follow through, your confidence increases, making it easier to maintain weight after losing it.

Long-term benefits of a food journal

Another pretty simple way to maintain weight after losing it is keeping a food and activity journal that can help you track your progress and notice trends.

To ensure accurate logging, pay close attention to portions and select foods when using an online tracker that accurately represents your eating. Consistency is critical, meaning it is important to log your food regularly. Make logging easier and more accurate by recording as you eat or prepare your meal, so you don't forget to do it later.

Finally, long-term tracking can help you become more mindful of what prompts you to eat, including positive and negative influences. For tips on handling stress eating, click here.

Here's what has worked for others when it comes to maintaining weight after losing it

The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) is a collection of people who have lost weight and kept it off for at least a year or more. Using detailed questionnaires and annual surveys, since 1993, the registry has used detailed questionnaires and surveys to track the habits of successful weight-loss maintainers and has over 10,000 participants. To qualify for the registry, you must maintain a loss of more than 30 pounds for at least one year. Over time, various commonalities have emerged among registrants, highlighting habits contributing to successful weight-loss maintenance.

Common behaviors among NWCR registrants:

Check your weight regularly

Another behavior that NWCR folks engage in regularly is checking in with the scale. In fact, 75% of individuals in the registry share that they check their weight at least once a week. This becomes a way to determine adjustments. For example, suppose you just went on vacation and tried your best to be active and avoid rich meals; however, your clothes were snug by the end of the trip. A successful weight-loss maintainer would step on the scale when they got home and, seeing the higher number, would come up with a plan. Instead of throwing in the towel, they would acknowledge the information and make some dietary changes immediately.

Experiment with weigh-in frequency and find a system that works for you. If you discover that routine weight checks lead to overthinking food and poor self-image, then come up with another strategy. Regularly weighing-in can fuel eating disorders for a small group of individuals. If you are unsure whether your habits are healthy or not, talk with a registered dietitian or professional therapist. They can help you understand what you are going through and guide you towards a healthy mindset about your body, weight, and food.

Maintaining weight loss for a lifetime means remaining positive in the face of weight regain

Traveling for the holidays or skipping workouts due to a busy schedule are two everyday situations that may result in weight regain. However, these occasional lapses are a normal part of life. By remaining positive and looking for ways to get back on track quickly, you will feel more energized and motivated to continue working towards your weight-maintenance goals. In addition, research shows that positive self-talk produces better outcomes than beating ourselves up for past mistakes.

Trying one or all of these ideas are proven ways to maintain weight after losing it.

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Weight Maintenance->Behavior Weight Maintenance->National Weight Control Registry
Mar 8, 2022

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