Seven Tips for Weight Maintenance

I am now in my fifth month of maintaining a significant weight loss. It's going pretty well. There are ups and downs but so far I've been able to sustain.

I've posted weight loss tips a while back, but here are a few things that have worked for me these last 4+ months as I keep my weight at healthy levels:

1. Continue to weigh yourself every day. Or at least several times a week. Look at the forest and not the trees when you do this, but I don't think a weekly weigh-in would be enough. At least not for me. I could see myself looking at a one-pound gain over a week and saying, "Eh, that's an outlier." And then repeating that for the next twenty-seven weeks.

2. Keep on tracking. Once I accepted that if I wanted to stay a healthy weight, I would have to be mindful about what I ate---for the rest of my life---things got much better. I still use MyFitnessPal faithfully. Yes, it's a pain. So is brushing your teeth. Get over it.

That said, I do not log every last thing I eat. After a year of this, I know enough about portion sizes and nutrition info to be able to estimate a lot of things in my head. The key is finding a happy medium between writing everything down---which is boring and unsustainable, and probably unnecessary since maintainers have more calories to play with each day---and guesstimating too much, which can lead you to trick yourself into thinking a Panera orange scone is as virtuous as a pumpkin muffie, because hey, they're sitting right next to each other in the bakery case!

3. Pretend you're still losing weight. I have MyFitnessPal set for losing half a pound a week. This seems just about right, given that there are days I don't keep track, and many days I go over. There's also the mental aspect of this---yes, I celebrated when I reached my weight goal, but not too much because there's no "arriving" with this stuff.

4. Your goal weight is your ceiling, not your average. I added this one because for me it's an important thing that I kinda fell into. I lost my 40 pounds and hit my goal weight, and then I lost another pound or two. This means that even when my weight fluctuates, as it does each day, I don't (usually) go above my goal. That's a psychological benefit, for me at least. Even at my heaviest swing, I am still at my goal, and I don't worry. Because in my house, worry can lead to anxiety, anxiety can lead to despair, and despair can lead to endless spoonfuls of marshmallow fluff. Can I get an Amen?

5. Don't track food at all on days you work out. That's my little reward for continuing to run and bike---well, that and feeling much better mentally and physically.

6. Be friends with food. Some people are abstainers when it comes to sweets or alcohol or whatever---they give the thing up entirely because once they start they can't stop. I'm more of a moderator. Barring something medical going on, any fitness regimen that requires me never to eat [insert bad ingredient du jour here] isn't going to work for me.

But whether you're a abstainer or a moderator, you can't see food as the enemy. Food is fuel, but it's also a source of delight and sensual pleasure. I ate a brownie last night. And then I ate two more because they were soooooo good. And I'm super OK with that.

7. Continue to reward yourself, but make the rewards modest. When I hit my weight goal I bought a bunch of new clothes, because I had to, but also as a celebration. I have continued to buy one small thing a month. This is still a necessity as I build up a decent wardrobe, but it's also a carrot for keeping the weight off.

I would love to hear your tips for losing weight, maintaining a healthy weight, or reaching other fitness goals you have.