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January 2020

Strategies to Keep the Weight Off

If you’ve successfully lost weight, congratulations! You understand how much effort shedding unhealthy pounds can be. But the work doesn’t stop there. Maintaining your weight loss isn’t easy, but it is doable. Here’s what you need to know.

Bare feet standing on a bathroom scale

Why maintaining is tough

When you lose weight, your body will likely try to pack the pounds back on (and then some). It doesn’t seem fair. But you are programmed this way for survival. As part of this response, your body produces hormones that increase your appetite and cue your body to hold on to calories as fat. What’s more, because you weigh less, you no longer need as many calories to function at rest.

5 tips to keep it off

Despite the obstacles, you can be successful in preventing weight gain. Try these proven tips:

  1. Move more. Even if exercise did not play a starring role in your weight loss, research shows it is key for maintenance. Aim for at least 300 minutes of moderate exercise a week. And incorporate strength training in your plan at least twice a week. Strength training builds muscle, which burns more calories at rest than fat.

  2. Watch your intake. Making small adjustments in your diet can help you maintain your new figure. Eat plenty of protein and fiber-rich foods like vegetables, which keep your blood sugar steady and help you feel full longer.

  3. Weigh yourself often. People who regularly monitor their weight are more likely to keep extra pounds from returning. If you see the number on the scale starting to creep up, you can adjust your diet or exercise plan to keep it from going any higher.

  4. Eat at home. Cooking for yourself is healthier than eating out. You have control over the foods you eat and how they are prepared. Don’t forget breakfast! Having a morning meal can keep you from overeating later in the day.

  5. Keep a food journal. Tracking what and when you eat can help you identify times—like happy hour on Fridays—when you are most vulnerable to unhealthy choices.  

Date Last Reviewed: 8/1/2019
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