Ask anyone who has lost weight – especially those that have lost the same weight more than once – and you’ll learn that the hardest part about shedding pounds is actually keeping it off long-term. So how does one manage to maintain their fitness goals?
First of all, you need to be honest with yourself about what is realistic and not focus strictly on the number on the scale. Consider body composition, how you fit
into your clothes, your energy levels and overall health. Once you reach a goal, it is important to look at what you ate to get there and how much you are actually
exercising. Many people overestimate how many calories they burn during exercise and “treat” themselves because they worked out. Or once they reach their goal, they cut back on the exercise or the intensity and forget that this will
decrease their energy needs accordingly. Regularly checking weight and/or body composition and keeping a food journal can be two key tools.
When checking weight,once a week is plenty so you’re not getting too hung up on normal daily fluctuations. If you followed a nutritional plan in order to lose weight and reach a goal, it is important to continue to use the plan as a blueprint and increase some portions while checking in to see how the body reacts. Everyone
is going to be different and journaling at this point is critical. When adding
back food, it is best to do it slowly, starting with breakfast, which is often
the most overlooked meal. Continuing to focus on vegetables, proteins, whole fruits and slow-burning carbohydrates, such as whole grains and beans, needs to become life-long habits. Perhaps after reaching a goal you may
experiment with an extra “free day” or “free meal” or add back the occasional
glass of wine or cocktail whereas you may have given up alcohol during the
reducing phase. It is also very important to follow a “free day” or “free meal” with a day of disciplined eating. No matter how little the
indiscretions are they will add up if we do them daily. That is often how we became overweight or de-conditioned in the first place.
Maintaining a consistent intensity of weight training is important to preserve muscle mass, as muscle is metabolically active helping to burn calories even at rest. Increasing and then maintaining muscle mass
is the key to a higher metabolism and helps you maintain your metabolism while
you age. Not to mention the importance of weight training for maintaining optimal bone density. It is also helpful to be accountable to someone other than yourself, so if you followed a program to get to your goal find out about their options for a maintenance program. It’s not that different from wearing braces
as a child. Once you take off the braces, the teeth have a natural tendency to go back to their original, crooked, position. Lifelong use of a retainer is the key to maintaining a beautiful smile. What is your fitness retainer?