Congratulations! You have achieved your weight goal. What are you going to do now? Do you have a plan? Most people who lose weight will regain most, if not all, of their weight back. That doesn't have to be you. Buck the statistics and keep control of your weight. Create a goal for maintenance just as you did for weight loss. And most importantly, identify what motivates you to maintain your weight.
What motivates us to persevere so that we reach a goal? For some, reward or recognition from others is extremely effective. For others, the satisfaction of having achieved an important life goal is its own reward. For some, the knowledge that maintaining their goal weight will increase their chances of living longer and better is their motivation. Is one motivation better than the other? Not necessarily, as long as it truly motivates you to continue to engage in positive behaviors that support health. For instance, some might scoff at the notion that a woman might be motivated to lose weight for a 20-year school reunion. She wants to look good in front of her old classmates. What happens after the party? Does she gain back the weight? Not necessarily – perhaps her next goal is to look fabulous at her daughter's wedding one year later. Perhaps she is motivated by two driving forces: to look good in front of others, but also, the feeling of confidence and success at maintaining her weight. Mind you, I am not referring to being "skinny." I am referring to a person's individualized goal weight. A woman who has been over 300 lbs. for much of her adult life is going to look and feel much better at 200 lbs.
My motivation is simple - to feel better. I continue to engage in behaviors that support my maintenance weight because I feel better physically, as well as mentally. When I don't get enough exercise, I feel hungry, lethargic, stressed out, stiff from arthritis, my legs get restless, I sleep poorly and I eat too much. Sometimes I perceive exercise as a nuisance on a busy day, but the effects of exercise are so strongly positive for me that it motivates me to get out of my chair and onto the trail.
So, right now, while you are still reading this post, I want you to write down what motivates you to maintain your weight. And then write down the behaviors that allow you to maintain your weight. Post this list where you will see it every day – at your desk, or even on your refrigerator or kitchen counter. This will help you remain mindful of why you want to maintain your weight. It will help you make choices that support weight maintenance rather than choices that pull you, like a strong undercurrent, back to old habits that will result in weight regain. Choose to be mindful to protect your hard-earned weight loss. Don't let mindless drift happen. You don't have to be perfect, you just have to make better choices often enough to maintain instead of gain.
If you want ideas for weight maintenance planning, please be sure to read my article "Weight Maintenance." In addition, there are other informative articles to read in that section of MyNetDiary.com under the "Weight Loss" tab, then click on "Diet Articles."
Kathy Isacks, MPS, RD
Consulting Dietitian for MyNetDiary
Disclaimer: Please note that we cannot provide personalized advice and that the information provided does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit a medical professional.