Tips to Maintain Your Weight Loss

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Hi HG,

After a lifetime of being overweight, I finally reached my goal weight a few months ago. (Being a Hungry Girl fan definitely helped!) However, I've been finding it difficult to maintain my new weight. Any tips and tricks?

Struggling Steph

Hi Steph,

First of all, a huge congrats on your weight-loss success! You're not alone -- making the shift from losing weight to maintaining it is something most dieters struggle with, but it doesn't have to be. Here are some of my best tips and tricks for acing that transition...

Weight-Maintenance AdviceFind the balance. In order to lose the weight, you were probably pretty vigilant about tracking your food intake and monitoring your calories. And while you can loosen the reins a bit once you reach your goal, you don't want to completely quit watching those things. If the number on the scale is inching upward, pay closer attention to what you're eating -- measure out your portions, and keep a food journal. Once you've hit your stride and are able to maintain your weight, you'll find it easier to achieve that balance. Keep reading for more details on how to find your groove...

Reevaluate your calorie needs. As your body gets smaller, it needs fewer calories to sustain it. At the same time, it takes more calories to maintain weight than it does to keep losing. That's why maintenance is so tricky -- you have to find that sweet spot. Use a calorie calculator like this one to get an estimate of your daily needs. Then test-drive that number for a week. If you gain a pound or two, reduce your daily intake by 100 calories, and try that for a week. If you lose weight at that number, add 100 calories to each day for the next week. Keep doing this until you're able to maintain your weight for several weeks in a row. Then you'll know you've found your number!

Keep up your good habits. It's easy to let things slide when you no longer have the motivation of seeing the number on the scale drop week after week. But whatever strategies helped you achieve your weight-loss goals should stay a part of your daily life. Drink lots of water, stay active, pay attention to portions, and make healthy meals a priority. Need incentive? Give yourself mini rewards for each month you maintain your weight. (Just don't make that reward a cheat week crammed with cheesecake and cheeseburgers!)

Follow the 80/20 rule. Once you've gotten comfortable with a weight-maintenance routine, you don't need to count every calorie or follow a rigid eating plan. Embrace the 80/20 lifestyle -- make good choices most of the time, but indulge every now and then. An all-or-nothing attitude doesn't really work for maintenance. If you're too strict with yourself, you'll get frustrated and feel like you're always on a diet. But if you don't continue to eat smart, you'll put that weight back on in no time.

Check in with yourself. When you're in the maintenance zone, you don't need to weigh yourself constantly, but you do have to be honest with yourself. Pay attention to the way your clothes fit, and hop on the scale if things get tight. You might even want to set up monthly weigh-ins, just to keep yourself accountable. (Do it on the first of the month, so the weigh-in date's easy to remember.)

For TONS more maintenance advice, pick up The Hungry Girl Diet. There is an entire section in the Hungry Girl diet book about maintaining your weight -- everything from modified versions of the plan to survival strategies and more. After all, what good is weight loss if you can't maintain it long term?

Congrats again on your success. Keep in touch, and let me know how it goes!


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