I've noticed recently some of the posters on Diet-Blog have been asking about how to maintain weight loss.

There's no doubt about it, despite the large amount of books and other resources available these days, the big problem most people seem to have isn't with losing weight, but maintaining weight loss.

However, it's also true to say there are plenty out there who have been successful at long-term weight loss.

So, what's their secret?

I'm sure you can add heaps to this post--please do I'd love to hear your ideas--these are a few of my suggestions...

width=250How to Maintain Weight Loss

1. Start Small
Think about your current lifestyle, then decide on one or two healthier habits you could add into your life. Remember, they ought to be things you can maintain long-term.

Perhaps you could begin by simply having a healthy breakfast every day, or maybe you could determine that you will only eat when you're hungry and when sitting at the dinner table. Whatever you choose, keep your goals small initially, then add to them as you move forward.

2. Keep a Journal
This tip has probably been repeated so often that it washes straight over your heard, but it's a really important one. In fact, many people find it to be the single most important thing that helped them gain control of their weight.

If you haven't tried it, perhaps now would be a good time to give journalling a go. You'll want to note down everything you eat, including details of the time, place, cooking methods, and portion size, etc. You could also record your weight weekly in there, and perhaps make a note of any emotional eating, if this is a problem for you too.

3. Don't Diet
Don't you hate the word diet? I know I do! The very term itself has such negative connotations.

A fancy weight loss diet isn't necessary for weight loss. In fact, you'd probably do a lot better if you just stopped dieting, and instead focused on eating fresh, whole foods most of the time.

The problem with maintaining your weight loss on a diet, is that most of them don't teach you what to do after you've lost the weight, they're all about the short-term weight loss.

Also, be realistic about what you want to achieve. This is something else I've noticed again and again in the recent Share posts--people want to lose too much weight too quickly. So, try not to set yourself up for a big fall by saying, I want to lose 30 pounds in two weeks! Disappointment will sabotage your weight loss efforts, set realistic goals instead.

4. Try a Portable Motivator
This could be an image of you at your heaviest/lightest/fittest--whatever works best for you.

The idea is that it will motivate you to continue. So, if you begin to notice your resolve slipping a little pull out your portable motivator, and remind yourself of what you're aiming for.

5. Stick With It
Successful losers will tell you it gets easier with time.

Studies show that people who have successfully maintained their weight loss for 2-5 years have a much better chance of longer-term success. I know 2-5 years seems like a long time, but weight loss is about change for life, so take it in small baby steps, and you'll get there.

According to the The National Weight Control Registry, successful losers have reported engaging in:

  • High levels of physical activity (approximately 1 hour per day)
  • Eating a low-calorie, low-fat diet
  • Eating breakfast regularly
  • Self-monitoring weight
  • Maintaining a consistent eating pattern across weekdays and weekends

6. Address Weight Gain Early

How many times have you started dieting, been doing really well, then all of a sudden--BANG--you're back to square one. What on earth happened?

Usually, it's the result of not monitoring how you're doing consistently, so you don't notice things going off a little. To avoid this make sure you keep a consistent check on things, and put the brakes on any weight gain before it gets out of hand again.

7. Take Regular Exercise
Despite Time Magazine's recent bunk article, the fact remains that those who continue with some kind of exercise routine are much more likely to maintain their weight loss.

Check out Mike's article debunking Why Exercise Won't Make You Thin, and also How to Make Exercise Work for Your Fat Loss.

If you've successfully lost weight and maintained that loss, what tips would you share with the others on Diet-Blog who struggle with this issue?