Now What?

You’ve reached your weight loss goals. Now you’ve got to keep the weight off for good.

Diet, exercise, diet, and more exercise. You’re overweight and you’re committed to weight loss. You’ve set your goals and you’re making progress. You feel like the end is in sight. Or is it? If the cycle of weight gain and weight loss have been the story of your life, you know there’s a good chance the pounds you’re working so hard to lose will only creep back on over time. But this time, you want to do it right and make it last.

You know there are people out there who lose weight and maintain their new healthy weight, so what’s their secret? Read on to find out.

Exercise Is Priority

Diet may be the greatest factor in weight loss, but exercise is a key part of the equation. In fact, when it comes to lasting weight loss, ongoing, regular physical activity is essential. And a short-term gym membership isn’t going to cut it. You’ve got to make exercise a priority now and forever. So find a workout you enjoy and make it part of your everyday routine.

Emotions under Control

Why are you overweight? Being able to answer this question is extremely helpful in overcoming the past and making healthy changes necessary for the future. Food, for many people, is tied closely to emotions. Eating when you’re bored, sad, depressed, or stressed is a recipe for weight gain. Keep a food journal or if necessary talk with a counselor to uncover what emotional triggers may be causing you to overeat. Then learn alternative healthy strategies of dealing with your emotions.

Lose the Smart Way

One reason countless dieters see their weight return is because of the way they lost the weight. A calorie-restrictive diet slows the metabolism so that when a normal diet resumes, it’s still sluggish. A diet that’s super restrictive or requires special shakes and/or meal plans does lead to weight loss, but once you return to a normal diet without your weight loss crutches, the weight returns. A secret to lasting weight loss is to lose the weight slowly and consistently with lasting, sustainable changes to both your diet and lifestyle.

Stay Accountable

Trying to maintain weight all by yourself can be a losing battle. Successful losers will tell you they couldn’t have done it without the support, encouragement, and accountability of family and friends. Meet a friend several days a week to work out, go grocery shopping with your spouse, ask your family and friends to check in every so often to see how you’re doing, or join an online support group dedicated to weight maintenance. Don’t have support? Yes you do. (Hint: It’s you trainer.)

It’s also beneficial to remind yourself of where you are and where you’ve been. Hang a picture of your former self in a place you’ll see it, step on the scale at least once a week to keep your weight in check, and continue to write in your food, exercise, and emotion journals.

Limited Screen Time

Half an hour of exercise a day doesn’t make up for the rest of the day during which you’re sedentary. It’s hard to lead an active lifestyle when you’re glued to a screen. Whether the television, computer, phone, or tablet, set limits to the amount of time you spend sitting. It’s easy to mindlessly overeat and hard to burn many calories while staring at a screen. When you’re tempted to veg out in front of the tube, grab the family and go for a bike ride. You’ll make memories and not add pounds to your waistline you’ve worked so hard to trim.