7 Tips to Maintain Your Weight Loss

June 6, 2011

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Something I say over and over again to my patients is that losing the weight is only part of the battle. Keeping it off is just as ??? or even more ??? important. If you???ve lost weight only to regain it and then have to lose it again, you likely know what I mean. So after you???ve gone to all that hard work to lose the weight, what can you do to keep it from coming back? Here are my top 7 tips:

Stay Accountable: Even after my patients reach their goal weight, I continue to see them several times a year. Why? So we can make sure they aren???t regaining the weight they???ve lost; if they are, we come up with a plan to reverse the trend. Having someone to check in with long after the weight is gone can help keep it from coming back.

Act Like a Loser: Studies have shown that people who continue to practice habits like weighing in once a week, tracking their calories in a journal, and other changes that helped them lose the weight are also more likely to avoid gaining it back again.

Stick with Your Fitness Plan: Once you lose weight, exercise becomes your ally in keeping it off. Exercise helps boost your metabolism and also preserve lean muscle tissue ??? both of which keep your body burning more calories per minute, every minute of the day. So be sure to keep exercising ??? get at least the equivalent of 5 hours a week if you are a woman, or 3 hours a week if you are a man.

Beware Emotional Eating: When I notice one of my patients is starting to regain weight, once we talk we discover it???s often because of a stressful life situation like a lost job, a sick family member, or the loss of a relationship has led them to overeat. Just like eating for emotional reasons didn???t work before you lost the weight, it still won???t work after. Staying aware of your emotional state and taking steps to manage difficult times with something other than food will help you avoid this weight regain trap.

Get Your Zzzzs: Studies show that people who don???t sleep well or enough gain weight easier than those who get enough rest. While we are still trying to understand why, it seems sleep helps control a complex range of hormones and chemical reactions within your body to keep things in balance. So make getting good sleep and enough of it a top priority!

Avoid Backsliding: Once the weight is gone, many people make the mistake of going right back to their old habits ??? habits that led to their weight problem in the first place. Be careful not to make the same mistake. If you have a trigger food, for example, continue to avoid having it at home where it can tempt you to overeat. Make a list of the old habits you had that didn???t work before and vow to not let them creep back into your life.

Dine In: The food served at restaurants often has far more calories and the portions are far bigger than what you eat at home, so continue to limit eating out to once or twice a week, and have a plan of attack for choosing the healthiest options from the menu even then. Continue to plan your meals and prepare them at home most of the time as a way to stay in control of your calorie intake.

That???s it ??? seven doable ways you can keep the weight off after you???ve worked so hard to lose it!

Dr. Michael Kaplan

Founder and Chief Medical Officer

The Center for Medical Weight Loss

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