So you’ve lost the weight and you’ve achieved your goal – so now what? You’ve probably spent so much time thinking about your goal that you may not have thought too much about what to do after it was met. And although it’s easy to slip back into old eating habits, it’s also easy to gain back all that weight you worked so hard to lose in the first place. To keep that from happening, you need to have a plan – a maintenance plan. But how do you know what plan is right for you?
It’s Sustainable for the Long Haul.
Any maintenance plan you decide to follow should be something you can do today, tomorrow, and every day after that. If it’s overly restrictive, requires you to eat weird foods or incorporate foods you don’t love, you probably won’t stick with it for very long. To avoid going back to a less nutritious way of eating, keep your maintenance plan balanced and realistic.
It Doesn’t Eliminate Major Food Groups.
If you discover a maintenance plan that asks you to eliminate an entire food group from your eating plan, don’t walk, run away! Any type of diet or meal plan that restricts or eliminates whole food groups is often unbalanced and can result in nutritional deficiencies if you aren’t careful. Your body simply needs a wide variety of foods to function at its best. A decent maintenance plan should allow for all foods to be incorporated in some shape or form.
It Requires You To Eat Real Food.
Remember, a maintenance plan is really a lifelong plan and it needs to consist of real food that you can eat on a regular basis. Maintenance plans that require multiple supplements or ready-made meal options typically don’t prepare you for lifelong eating. Instead, look for ways to incorporate real foods into your daily routine. Get in the kitchen and try out new recipes. Seek out new foods and ingredients to keep your meals interesting.
It Incorporates Both Meals and Snacks.
Although it might be tempting to skip some meals or snacks all together, it’s important to find a maintenance plan that discourages either of these behaviors. Although it’s okay to skip a snack when you don’t feel hungry or if only a couple of hours have passed since your last meal, it’s important to make sure you eat frequently enough to keep your metabolism functioning at its best. Additionally, snacking on nutritious foods can help you make better food decisions when meal time arrives and give you more opportunities to get all the nutrients your body needs to function appropriately.
It Provides the Right Amount of Calories.
Eating healthy foods is important, but so is getting the right amount of calories. It’s easy to overly restrict after just coming off of a weight loss plan and it’s also easy to over do it. A well-balanced maintenance plan will provide you with the right amount of calories in addition to a wide variety of good-for-you foods. Keeping portions in check, listening to your body for hunger cues, and continuing to journal what you eat may all be important aspects of a healthy maintenance plan. This is especially true during the initial transition from weight loss to weight maintenance thinking.
When it comes to maintaining your new-found weight, remember to be safe and realistic. By making sure it’s a nutritious plan that you can stick to and incorporating a wide variety of foods into your day, you’ll find that maintaining your weight isn’t as difficult or scary as you may have first imagined.
February 2nd, 2012