Losing weight is tough, though sometimes keeping it off can be harder. It's all too common to "take it easy" once you've hit your goal and go back to old habits or thought patterns that let the weight creep up in the first place.
When you've reached your goal weight, celebrate your success and get ready to maintain the new, leaner you with these tips:
1. Keep getting enough sleep! (And keep making any other healthy choices that helped you get fit.)
Sleeping seven to nine quality hours per night is still a must to avoid excess calories and keep your metabolism strong. Your new instincts to choose healthy, weight-friendly foods will come in handy at a party, the grocery store or a restaurant.
Continue to prepare high-quality and nutrient-dense meals at home. Remember to eat slowly and mindfully, and hold yourself accountable for all of your food choices.
2. Add strength-training exercises to your routine.
Building muscle is essential to maintaining your metabolism and weight loss. If you've lost a significant amount of weight (or lost it quickly), your metabolism tends to react by dropping sharply to protect against lean times — good for survival in ancient times, bad for keeping the weight off.
Adding lean muscle, by starting a strength-training program, will help boost your metabolic rate. As you're putting on muscle, don't worry if the scale fluctuates a little, you can judge your efforts by how lean you look, how your clothes are fitting and how strong you're getting.
3. Add probiotics and fermented foods to your diet.
Research is increasingly suggesting that the balance of gut bacteria can make someone more likely to maintain a normal weight or be predisposed to weight gain.
To make sure you stay on the correct side of this balance, consider supplementing with a high-quality probiotic, eating a lot of fermented foods (sauerkraut, kimchee, kombucha) and including prebiotic-containing foods such as plantains, yucca, dandelion greens, garlic and asparagus.
Prebiotics are the food source for the good gut bacteria, whether you get them from supplements or fermented foods. Good nutrition combined with good bacteria can make it a lot easier to keep the weight off.
4. Allow yourself occasional treats.
Though it's still important to be aware of where your calories are coming from and which trade-offs you're willing to make, you can certainly indulge a bit more than when you were trying to lose weight.
For example, choosing tea or sparkling water instead of soda or juice may be one easy way to keep your sugar consumption in check. Likewise, if you're planning a night out (with food and alcohol), skipping snacks and office treats earlier could mean an extra drink or a dessert in the evening.
5. Learn to love and accept your body the way it is.
Whenever weight is involved, there's a need for self-compassion and self-acceptance. Undoubtedly, as you're adjusting to your new weight, there will be some fluctuations, but choosing to accept your body will make it far easier to maintain your weight. Stick to your healthy habits, practice kindness, choose love and nourishment, and you'll stay in your happy place.
Losing weight and keeping it off can be both confidence-building and inspiring, so let your success shine as you successfully and easily maintain your weight with these five tips.