Having recently lost my 40th pound this summer really made something hit home with me. How in the hell am I going to maintain this? I’ve never lost so much weight at one time. The results have been dramatic. They have been inspiring. They have been all-consuming this summer. And they’ve made me a new man. In all honestly I don’t really see that much of a difference when I look in the mirror. I still look the same way…weird huh? I almost feel like Neo from The Matrix when he realizes that the image of himself while in the Matrix has none of the holes in the back of his neck and body. It’s an image his mind remembers about himself..not the actual way he looks.
So I needed to go about making some changes now that I’ve made some big changes to my health and body. How to transition from losing weight to maintaining this lifestyle. First I had to get past the idea of maintaining being a bad word. I get bored easily. Maintaining anything means to me that I’ll eventually get bored with it and have to start all over again. I’ve had to deal with this my whole life really. Here are some common definitions of Maintain:
1. to keep in an existing state (as of repair, efficiency, or validity) : preserve from failure or decline
2. to sustain against opposition or danger : uphold and defend
3. to continue or persevere in : carry on, keep up
4. a.to support or provide for
5. to affirm in or as if in argument : assert
I’m providing the definitions to just drive a point home that maintaining things has been, for me, a boring concept…something I can’t keep up with…that failure is imminent. So I’ve had to re-define for myself what is meant by maintaining my health and recent weight loss. I’m still doing this work and I’ll share with you when I’ve got it. The work doesn’t stop after you’ve reached your goal. However, making the transition doesn’t have to be difficult. You’ll continue following many of the same guidelines as you did while you were actively losing weight. Here’s how to transition from losing weight to maintaining your weight.
Figure out Your Calorie Needs
When you’re in weight loss mode, you’re looking to cut back on calories. Now that you’re simply trying to maintain your weight you loosen up a little. It’s important to figure out how many calories (approximately) your body needs to stay at your current weight. There are a number of free calorie calculators available online to calculate this number for you (check out FitDay.com). By entering in your height, age, current weight and activity level, the calculator will give you a number. Use this as a guideline in determining how much you need to exercise each week (and whether you can go back to indulging in that daily Starbucks Mocha).
Keep Eating Healthy, but Ease Up
Depending on how much you exercised during your weight loss process, you probably consumed anywhere between 1,200 and 1,800 calories per day. When you’re maintaining your weight you can feel free to eat more, but within reason. It’s a good idea to continue with your healthy eating habits formed during the weight loss process. Still focus on eating mostly clean foods like fruit, vegetables and lean meats, and avoid eating junk foods and empty calories. What you eat has more of an effect on your weight than anything else. Keeping your diet healthy overall gives you wiggle room to enjoy a dessert a couple of times a week without adding to your middle section.
Scale Back on the Workouts
Now that you’re trying to maintain your weight you can scale back both the number and the intensity of the workouts. Going to the gym six days a week isn’t really a necessity anymore. While it will depend on your personal preference, you can hit the gym several days a week and find less intense ways to be active on the days you don’t go (like taking evening walks). It’s important to stay active on some level in order to maintain your weight. However, watching what you eat is the more critical component to your maintenance efforts.
Keep the Healthy State of Mind
Above anything else, the most important thing you can do as you’re transitioning from losing weight to maintaining weight is to think of the entire process as a lifestyle change. You didn’t make it this far to go back to your old ways. Make the commitment to yourself to put your health first. You’ll continue to live the way you did when you were trying to lose weight (exercising, eating healthy, getting plenty of sleep) but with less rigor.
It may take a little trial and error until you find the right balance of exercise and revised eating habits. With a little work you’ll figure out what you need to be doing to maintain your weight.
Portions of this article were taken from different places I found on the web. The best one I found was from 3 Fat Chicks. Thanks for reading and I’ll keep you updated and keep sharing the progress and love!
Here’s an after shot taken before heading to the gym for my weigh in. The belt around my waist has to be folded under a lot because nothing I’m buying is fitting for long. Let’s see how this continues to work. Sharing my pictures feels so vulnerable…but I think necessary for people to really get a sense of what is possible. Lord knows I’m not sharing for ANY other reason! The first pic is of me on my way to the gym to be weighed. The middle picture is about 6 months…I was pretty close to my heaviest weight. The other pic was taken this morning.