How can I make sure to maintain my weight loss?

Well when wanting to maintain your weight is really simple because nothing really has to change. To maintain your weight all you have to do is make sure you are eating and burning the same amount of calories. Now as well get older things will change and we might have to make slight adjustments over time but the key is to track your progress. Just make sure you are eating 5-6 small meals a day, maintaining your weight training and cardiovascular training. Also get evaluations every month so you know if you need to make changes or not.
By continuing to "practice" the new healthy habits we replaced our poor unhealthy habits with. 

As we work towards physical weight loss, I encourage everyone to choose a method that encourages self-awareness and learning. 

I'm not a fan of quick fix diets that don't allow us to learn about our existing health patterns and how we can improve them. Maintaining weight becomes much more difficult in these cases and most often result in our reaching a weight goal only to be left without the tools to maintain our new weight. We quickly fall back into old unhealthy patterns because we simply don't know what to do. Our confidence starts dropping as our weight starts increasing. I know this cycle well, personally. It's one that many can relate to. To break the cycle, we focus on making gradual, consistent, healthy changes in our lifestyle…learning what works, and what doesn't so we can do it for life.
The answer to this question depends on your level of calorie intake. In order to truly maintain your weight, your body needs to be in homeostasis (a balanced energy state). This means that your caloric expenditure (calories burned each day from physical activity, etc) should equal your calorie intake (total calories taken in thought food and drink).

If you really want to get dialed in, I would recommend doing two things:
  1. Track your food each day. The more diligent and honest you are in this process the better because every little morsel counts. Nothing in the body gets a 'free ride'.
  2. Purchase an exerspy. Which you can do here:
An exerspy is a fantastic device that will track how many calories you burn each day. They are extremely accurate and easy to use. It fits on the upper arm and is designed to be worn all day (you just can't get it wet). When your body burns calories it gives off heat as a byproduct. The exerspy has sensors that will measure this heat exchange and convert it into how many calories you have burned. If you would like more information regarding the exerspy please contact me.

I know what you are thinking, "but the cardio machine I use tells me how many calories I burn". Well I have some bad news. Typically, cardio machines grossly overestimate how many calories you burn. Without an accurate reflection of how many calories your burning in a day you cannot accurately determine how many calories you should be eating.

By tracking your food and using an exerspy, you can fine tune your physical activity levels to match your food intake. These tools are also great if you have a goal of losing or gaining weight as well!
Dee Sandquist
Nutrition & Dietetics
Maintaining weight is a challenge. Eat breakfast to help you consume fewer calories throughout the rest of the day. Exercise and physical activity is extremely important to prevent weight gain. Schedule it if you don't think you have time; you'll find it's a matter of priority. Never get overhungry. When you get too hungry you will eat fast and eat too much. Continue with the lifestyle change that helped you lose the weight and avoid returning to your previous habits that caused the weight gain in the first place.
Charles J. Sophy, MD
Adolescent Medicine
The best way to maintain your weight is to reach your appropriate target weight. Then weigh yourself once weekly and see where your weight falls as you eat the same caloric intake you have been. If you continue to lose then add 250 calories a day and weigh in weekly. If you maintain then that is the best daily caloric intake for you.

If you continue to lose, then add another approximately 250 calories/day. Repeat this process until you do maintain and hold steady there.

Also remember to exercise and to keep a food journal.

As you plan your weight loss program, think ahead about how to maintain your new weight. Many people are successful in losing weight but have a hard time keeping it off. What are the strategies used by people who get it off and keep it off?

Weight Loss and Physical Activity Together

  • Remember that weight loss and physical activity go hand in hand. Studies show that exercise is an important part of both taking the pounds off and keeping them off. People who keep lost weight off say that daily exercise is an essential part of their lifestyle. They also report eating more fruits and vegetables than before, a healthy habit they hung on to even after they went off their “diet.” 
Mr. Donovan Green
Athletic Training
Maintaining weight loss can sometimes be very scary. All you think about is putting back on the weight and possibly even more. If you want to maintian the weight that has been lost, you should continue doing what you did when you lost the weight. Maintain a strong and healthy diet, get plenty of rest, and stay active. Once you follow those guide lines you will be fine. Do not make the error of going back to eating what you want because you lost the weight you wanted to lose. Stay on track for the rest of your life.

I do a full seminar on something called an EXIT STRATEGY and I preach the importance of having equal focus and attention to what you do after you reach your goals not just while you are trying to reach your goals.

The only difference between when you in the middle of reaching a goal and trying to maintain it is the time you are putting in.  Maintenance requires some exercise and good nutritional habits but not as much as when you are losing because you are just trying to create a even wash in calorie management, not a deficit.  This however requires equal focus and attention as when you are losing fat.

Below are some key points on Exit Strategies:

  • You are not Carl Lewis, You are Roger Bannister -  It is cliche but your fitness is not a sprint, it is a marathon.
  • The Finish Line - Have a very clear line and timetable to where you are finishing and when you are beginning maintenance 
  • Reflect On The Journey - Review How You Became Successful
  • Review Your Failures - Know what made you successful but also look for predictable patterns where you may have failed
  • Maintenance Phase - Have a Plan for being normal
  • Active Rest - Take a mental break not a physical or nutrition break
  • Healthy Fluctuations - Once you reach your goal have about a 5 to 15 lb fluctuation that will allow you a bit of room to relax.  Mini rollercoasters are fine 
  • Your Next Goal - Periodization is key and it is normal to have variance in your motivation levels.  It is wise to have 2 to 3 major goals in a year that give you extra motivation with small breaks in between
  • Learn More - You are more dangerous and likely to hold your progress with more knowledge about yourself and fitness
  • Have a Coach or Support Group - It is hard to mess up with accountability
To ensure you maintain your weight loss it’s important to track your activity levels and your calorie intake, this will help you to keep track and make it easier to maintain your weight loss. To maintain your weight the amount of calories you eat has to equal the number of calories you burn through daily activity and exercise.  By tracking your daily activity through a pedometer or body monitor like the exerspy or body bug you can track your daily calorie expenditure. There are several monitoring programs that you log food intake into and get an accurate idea of total calories eaten.  If you burn as many calories as you eat then you will maintain your weight. 
Ronald E. Wiisanen, MD
Family Medicine
It is easier to lose weight without lifestyle changes than to maintain weight loss without lifestyle changes. No one wants to regain weight after losing weight. One of the key features of our program is helping people more easily master lifestyle changes so they can continue to enjoy the success of their weight loss. 

Make fitness a Lifestyle. Do not go into your Weight Loss plan thinking of it as a Diet. Mentally, if you think of it as a Lifestyle change then you will be better off in the long run. Stick to your plan, reach your goal and do what you need to do to maintain but think of it as a new life!

Rose Reisman
Nutrition & Dietetics
When I speak to people who have been successful in weight maintenance, there are always common conditions that have contributed to their success. Here is some sound advice from people who have succeeded in losing weight permanently:
  • Make sure that your goal weight is realistic.
  • Be flexible and sensible when you're in a situation of "no return." This means that you don't starve yourself if the food you're being served isn't in your plan. Be moderate, don't panic and eat the best of the worst! If you can't exercise for a couple of days, don't do a 3-hour marathon! Take the stairs more often at work, park farther away or do some abdominal crunches before going to bed.
  • Monitor your weight weekly, not daily, to keep you on track. Try not to get stressed over a pound or two. Remember, day-to-day your weight may fluctuate for no apparent reason.
Rose Reisman's Secrets for Permanent Weight Loss: With 150 Delicious and Healthy Recipes for Success

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Rose Reisman's Secrets for Permanent Weight Loss: With 150 Delicious and Healthy Recipes for Success

For the journey toward healthier living. Losing weight can be a constant and frustrating struggle. Rose Reisman's Permanent Weight Loss Solutions creates a blueprint for lifelong weight control that...
To borrow a phrase from the realm of religious philosophy: Don't hate the dieter. Hate the diet. This isn't to say that diets don't work. They do -- sometimes spectacularly well. The only problem is that the successful results from fad diets and other short-term eating plans don't last the long haul. All too often, quick-loss plans give way to nasty rebounds. Sometimes the "yo-yo effect" can be worse than the original fat gain.

The causes for this are many. Researchers are finding there are a multitude of reasons some people can't maintain weight loss or achieve it in the first place. Some are based in genetics, others on a lack of activity. No matter what hand nature dealt you, smart eating and an effective exercise program can give you a fighting chance. But you can't expect willpower alone to change a lifetime of bad habits. You must change your focus by changing your ultimate goal. Think of it this way: It's not about weight loss. It's about health gain.
Randolph P. Martin, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Maintain your weight by monitoring the calories that you consume and the calories that you expend. Watch my video to learn more about how to maintain your weight.
Sudeepta Varma, MD
To maintain weight loss over time, it's important to make long-term lifestyle changes, rather than relying on quick-fix diets. Watch me discuss the importance of lifestyle changes for weight loss maintenance. 
Great question. The most effective way to maintain weight loss is to do it the right way: slowly and naturally, through diet and exercise. When weight loss is achieved through quick diets and weight loss supplements, it's not sustainable. The idea of living a healthy life has to become your lifesytle, not a quick fix. This way when you adapt to a certain way of eating and living, it sticks with you.  

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.