The Pants Fit! Now What? How to Keep Weight Off After Losing It.

Health and Fitness, Love Your Body
maintaining weight loss, how to keep weight off after losing it
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Guess what, guys! I reached my goal weight!  Yay, me!

As you can imagine, I was VERY excited when I stepped on that scale last week.

It was such a great feeling to reach my goal, after several months of training for my first marathon and being diligent about my diet on the Weight Watchers Freestyle plan!

But it wasn’t long before my ebullience was replace by anxiety.

Honestly, I didn’t get it at first. I thought it was just the usual nerves I experience when I’m getting close to the release of a new book. (JUST IN TIME will be out on March 27th.  If you want to go right now and order a copy, that’d be fine. I’ll just wait right here until you get back. Really. It’s no trouble.)

Still, I love how I feel now, how I look, and how my clothes fit now – or actually don’t fit.  The Goodwill bag is full of things that are too big for me now. That’s what precipitated my shopping trip on Sunday afternoon.

Entering my local Banana Republic, I marched up to rack of my favorite Logan trousers, picked a pair that was a size smaller than my old pair, and headed to the dressing room. They definitely fit better than the pair I’d tossed into the Goodwill bag but still…something seemed off. After three minutes spent staring in the mirror, I  figured out the problem.

Uhh…Miss. Could you bring me the gray Logan pants, but one size smaller?

Much to my shock, I was able to zip them up. Pretty easily, as a matter of fact. No sucking in required.

Still…

Miss? Tell me the truth, do these look okay? They’re not too tight?

She said they weren’t too tight. She said if four times. The fifth time I asked if she was sure the pants truly fit me, really, really, really sure, the saleslady looked at me like she was trying to decide if I spoke English.

Well…Do you feel like the waist is too tight? Because, if they are, get the bigger pair.  But otherwise, they look great. Really.

Believe in Myself

Even with that reassurance, it was hard to make myself to buy the smaller pair, the pair that actually fit. It wasn’t until I was standing in line at the checkout counter that I figured out why.

Maybe I should get the bigger pair instead. Just to hedge my bets. That way, if I gain back the weight…

Ah-ha.

That was the reason I’d been feeling so anxious. It was hard to make myself believe that I’d actually lost all the weight. It was even harder to believe I could comfortably fit into into a size I’d never imagined wearing again.

The hardest thing of all? Making myself believe I wasn’t going to gain it back.

It’s not an unreasonable fear. After all, this isn’t my first trip to the rodeo. I’ve dieted before only to see those lost pounds return, and bring a few friends along with them. Maintaining a weight loss isn’t easy. Think about all those winning contestants from The Biggest Loser who gained back the hundreds of pounds they’d shed?

So what if, after all this work and sacrifice–the desserts I ‘ve passed by, the miles I’ve run, and biked, and swum–I gain back the weight?

The question plagued me all during the drive from the shopping center to my house. At least part of the worry stemmed from the fact that, because of this blog, my weight loss is pretty public.

Okay, sure. It’s not like my weight loss was projected onto television screens across the country. Even so, gaining back the weight would not only be personally disappointing, it would be publicly humiliating.

No wonder I was feeling anxious. But as I pulled into the driveway, I made up my mind; I am going to maintain this weight loss no matter what!

Excellent decision! But…how am I going to do it?

After spending some significant time researching and considering my options, I’ve come up with a realistic, workable strategy to help maintain my weight loss. I think it can work for you, too.

Here’s my plan to keep weight off after losing it.

TWO THINGS I ALREADY DID RIGHT

When it comes to the changes against maintaining weight loss, I was thrilled to discover that the news wasn’t as dire as I’d thought. And I’d already done two things that definitely tipped the odds in my favor: lost the weight slowly and set a realistic goal weight.

Studies have shown that about 65% of people who diet regain the weight within three years. However, those numbers may be somewhat skewed because only 5% of people who undergo rapid weight loss keep the weight off over time.

My weight loss has been very gradual, averaging one pound a week.  That has definitely improved my odds of maintaining my weight loss.

Another point in my favor was my decision to choose a goal weight that’s healthy, rather than skinny. Setting a goal weight so low that it maintaining it requires deprivation is a recipe for failure.

Do you honestly think you’re you going to go the rest of your life without eating ice cream? Don’t think so. A much smarter strategy is to set a moderate goal that can be maintained through a moderate diet that allows for occasional splurges. (Make mine pistachio!)

How to Keep Weight off After Losing It

It was encouraging to know that by losing my weight slowly and choosing a realistic goal weight, I’d already tipped the weight maintenance odds in my favor.  Even so, maintaining my weight loss over time is going to require me to be proactive, vigilant, and active–literally.

EXERCISE. MORE.

We all know that exercise helps burn calories and but some studies have sugested that vigorous exercise also helps regulate appetite and feel more satisfied after eating. That can be key in maintaining weight loss. The American Academy of Sports Medicine recommends 150  to 250 minutes of moderate exercise weekly for weight loss, but 250 minutes or more to maintain it. If you read my post about My First Triathlon, you know that I’ve been doing a lot of exercise during my training.  After doing my research, I realize that I’m going to have to keep it up even after the race is over.

WRITE IT DOWN

One of the most helpful things for me in losing the weight was keeping track of my Weight Watchers Freestyle points every day.  Though I’ll be allowing myself a few more points daily now, I’m still going to keep recording my point intake.  That way, I be able fudge or “forget” what I’ve had that week.

WEIGH IN WEEKLY

During my weigh loss, I weighed in every week. Research says that I should keep doing so. I’m not going to stress over every ounce but if I gain more than two pounds over my goal weight, I’ll revert to my weight loss eating right away. It’s easier to lose two pounds than ten, so I’m going to be vigilant about this.

I’m not kidding myself. Maintaining this weight loss won’t be easy. But because I lost the weight gradually and set a realistic, healthy goal weight, and am committed to regular exercise, tracking my points, and weekly weigh-ins with rapid course corrections, I’m convinced that I can maintain the healthy, sensible weight loss I’ve worked so hard to achieve.

This is a strategy that can work!

And something else I’ve realized?

That saleslady was right.  Those pants really look good on me. I’m going to wear them for a long, long, long time.

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