Congratulations! All the hard work has paid off; you look down at those scales and see that number that you have been waiting all year for. What do you do now? The last thing you want is to become complacent and see that in a month you are just as far from that goal weight as you were 6 months ago.
So I guess the question is what can we do to maintain our goal weight. On the face of it that seems like a fairly simple question but the fact is nothing could be further from the truth. Achieving landmark goals won’t happen everyday and it definitely isn’t something that is easy but it can be just as hard to stay there as it was to get there in the first place.
The main reason why people find it so difficult to maintain a goal weight is because they are lacking in post-diet guidance. Firstly, how did they lose the weight? Maybe they opted for a fad diet that they have absolutely no intention of continuing in the future, or maybe they focused on their cardio work and abandoned strength training. Everyone will have got their in a slightly different way.
The problem with the fad diet is obvious. As soon as you switch back to your old diet the weight will just pile back on. So you are left with a situation where you have to design yourself a brand new nutritional plan. Going down the cardio route is going to be a better option but it is by no means perfect. The cahnaces are that your metabolism will have slowed right down and you will probably have lost some lean muscle mass along with the fat. That means you can look forward to having to increase the cardio that you do day in, day out, to maintain the same weight.
Obviously the ideal way to reach a goal weight is by balancing a healthy diet with regular cardio and strength training. But if you are reading this and thinking, “but I only do cardio!?”, then don’t worry too much. Once you reach your goal weight you can simply add strength straining to help improve your metabolism going forward, making it easier to maintain a weight.
Now is the time for some good news. If you have been working hard to get down to a certain weight you should have been in a caloric deficit, where you are burning more calories than you consume. That part is over. If you want to maintain a weight then you need to get both sides of that equation to equal each other as much as possible. But that doesn’t mean you can stop working out – that needs to continue indefinitely. But just as when you are losing weight you manage to find the right balance between exercise and diet, the same needs to be done if you want to maintain weight.
How about some more good news? Now you need a new goal. You are at that point when you have a whole bunch of options. Your great new lifestyle means that you can start to try new things. You could develop that skill that you have been meaning to learn for years.
Human weight will always fluctuate naturally on a daily basis. So when you reach a certain weight don’t let yourself become obsessed with the number on the scales. The best thing to do is accommodate this fluctuation and set your ideal weight as being in between two numbers. Give yourself that +/- 3 lbs and then you won’t become demoralised if you do happen to have a bad week.
So whether you have been cutting down or bulking up it won’t be easy to stay at the weight that you want but it will be possible. Just remember, you aren’t on a diet, you have just chosen to adopt a new healthy lifestyle.