Diplomate, American Board of Obesity Medicine
Losing weight is half the challenge. Keeping it off is just as important.
Diets that promise rapid weight loss often ignore this reality. Once you reach your goal weight at your medical weight loss program, you will need an easy-to-follow plan to preserve those lost pounds. We call this stage “active maintenance.” Studies on successful weight managers show several common tools:
1. Weigh Often
Successful weight managers weigh themselves at least once weekly (ideally, daily). Aim to stay within 2 pounds of this number. For example, if your target is 160 lbs., try to stay 158-162. That is your “green zone.”
2. Have a Plan If You Gain
Masters of weight loss don’t just weight often, they also have a plan for even small amounts of weight gain. This usually means going back to your weight loss plan, reducing eating out, and cutting out alcohol until you get back to your target weight.
3. Stay Active
People who have lost and maintained their weight burn, on average, 2,500 calories per week. That equals 10,000 steps every day, walking 20-25 miles per week, or 5 hours per week of cardio or weight training. Burning those additional calories allows you to eat a bit more. It helps overcome the drop in metabolism that occurs in anyone who has lost weight.
4. Eat Small, Eat Often
Aim for 4-5 small meals daily. Eating protein, fiber, and drinking water keeps you fueled during the day, so you feel less hungry. Limiting sugars and carbs prevents your body from releasing the fat building hormone insulin.
5. Get Adequate Sleep
Lack of sleep lowers your metabolism and increases the hormones that cause hunger and fat building. Fatigue also compromises your will power.
6. Develop an Accountability Plan
Checking in with a medical practitioner on a regular basis helps you stay on track and gives you a chance to intervene before you regain. Our experience shows that people gain weight quickly once their weight increases 5 pounds or more.
7. Consider Appetite Suppressant Medications
Some people find it difficult to maintain weight loss without the addition of weight loss medications. All of these meds reduce appetite, and some also increase metabolism.
The reality is that you won’t never gain weight, it is having a plan when you do.
Read our FREE e-book Chasing Diets and learn about the weight loss program that works.