I hit goal last week and, even though I should be so excited, I’m freaking out. I know how to workout and eat to lose weight but have no idea where to even begin with maintaining. The more I panic the more I fear I am setting myself up to fail because Im already worrying about regaining. How do I do it all now that I do not want to lose more?
Ahhhh, precisely how to maintain the loss youve worked so freakin hard to achieve. This is one of those questions for the ages huh?
Rumor has it (and I say rumor because I could not locate any hard science to back this up) 95 percent of all weight loss is, eventually, regained.
Whether this statistic is high or not—-we’re all painfully aware that every pound shed is a ginormous effort while each pound regained is easy as ben & jerry’s new york superchunk fudge pie!
I almost chose not to answer the emailer’s question (Im nothing if not honest) as my fear was/is precisely that: I dont have an answer.
What I do have, however, are a few tips which worked for me & an entire Bumbling Band whom I’m confident is ready & willing to chime in.
I am a believer in giving away the too-big clothes (and in never, ever referring to them using the F-word–but that’s a post for a different day).
Get them out of your closet. Period.
I’m a believer in selecting a pair of scale bottoms (pants, skirt, shorts. anything sans-elastic waist) which fit perfectly at goal weight and using them as a barometer for quick check-ins to see if youve gained a pound or three.
If you’re one who can easily & healthfully use the scale merely as a tool (and not as a self-esteem basher or day-ruiner) I’d recommend weighing no more than once a week (please to disagree with me in the comments. I know you wanna…).
I’m a believer in losing the weight slowly. It means you are more likely to have lost it permanently. (again something we all are aware of but, in our immediate gratification society, always bears repeating).
I, personally, needed to lose weight using an exercise program which was realistic for me to continue after I hit my goal weight.
Slow, steady, & smart LOSS = greater ease with regards to maintaining.
Many people cite stopping the exercise program they used while losing as the main reason they regain pounds shed.
I’m a firm believer it was crucial to *my* maintaining my weight loss is that changes Id made had become a lifestyle.
My portions aren’t tinytiny, but they are generous portions of healthy, clean(ish) foods.
I eat breakfast every morning so that my metabolism is sparked immediately.
I walk when I can instead of driving.
I surround myself with healthy, *optimistic* and lifeloving friends.
These are all things I started doing when I began my efforts to shed the Freshwoman Forty and still do today.
The difficult piece in maintaining becomes, for many of us, CALORIES.
The question of how many to consume (while still exercising) to stop losing yet not gain bodyfat.
(any dietitians in the house? feel free to add your .02 below!)
For me this wasnt too much of a struggle.
I increased what I ate mainly in the arenas of protein and (good) fat & found that I did gain a pound or so but not much more than that.
I also discovered that, through this increase, my hair looked better and my joints felt less achy (fat, People. It’s our friend!).
If youre not a fan of trial & error there are places where you can calculate what your caloric intake should be to maintain a given weight and we discussed one method of calculating that same number in this Viewer Mail, too.
Ive been told by nutritionist friends that the 250 plan is one which they recommend.
Start by adding 250 calories to your current diet (and no. they didnt say what type of calories so, Im assuming, they’re depending on us to make ‘good choices’ ).
After a week or so weigh yourself/try on those scale-bottoms.
If you lost weight add another 250 calories to your daily intake.
Gained weight (which, Id imagine, would be rare) cut back and return to what you’d been eating.
Remained the same? VOILA. There’s your new food plan. Play around with it (adding in treat meals etc) and enjoy!
And this was the short version of my answer (you can thank me in the comments).
I know that everyone’s experience is unique and, obviously, have written this yammering tome from mine.
You, Oh Faithful Reader?
Care to chime in & help our emailer?
Here’s hoping that the COMMENTversation will generate even more tips & hints for those of us working to maintain.
I’ll see you there!