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By Sara Colman Carlson, RDN, CDCES

Losing weight is not an easy task. As you already know, it requires motivation, discipline, learning about new ways to eat, increasing activity, and a support system. Meeting your weight loss goal is rewarding, a reason to be proud of yourself. Admire the positive changes in your physique, the increased energy and self-esteem you’ve gained.

The next part of your journey is to make your new habits stick to help maintain a healthier weight along with metabolic and physical improvements. This may be as much of a challenge as losing weight, but with the right motivation and self-check-ins you can be successful!

The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR), was developed to identify and investigate the characteristics of people who have succeeded at long-term weight loss. Requirements for the registry are a weight loss of 30 pounds or more maintained for a year or longer. They have documented some of the habits that contribute to long-term success at keeping weight off. These habits include monitoring weight (perhaps a weekly weigh-in), continuing a calorie-controlled diet, and exercising on a regular basis. Surprisingly, the most common exercise by people in the registry is walking.

Instead of completing your weight loss program and returning to old ways of eating and moving, think of this maintenance phase as the next step in balancing healthy habits you have embraced during weight loss. What works for you? Make a list of diet and activity changes that were easy to make and maintain. Next, think about the more challenging aspects. Which new habits can you live with long-term? Where are your “struggle” areas? Being aware of what works for you and making a plan to stick to certain behaviors will contribute to your long-term success.

Accountability is another aspect of maintaining healthy habits. A friend recently completed a 3 month weight loss challenge with 8 members of her family. They have done this in the past, with some of them regaining weight soon after the challenge ended. So this time the second part of the challenge is to maintain weight loss for the next 6 months. Weigh-ins, financial incentives and group support all factor in to the success they will experience. In addition to accountability, this long-term maintenance plan helps keep the focus on healthy habits.

Incorporate technology into your maintenance plan. Counting steps and activity level, monitoring sleep habits, tracking food intake, monitoring blood pressure and glucose if needed, can all contribute to your motivation and success. When you see your medical team for health check-ups take note of improvements like lab results, medication changes and progress toward your individual challenges.

Set goals each month or quarterly to help stay on track. Reward yourself with new clothing, a special night out, a weekend excursion or other treat as an incentive to maintain healthy habits.

Embrace your new normal and most of all practice self-love and take care of you!

If you are not hitting your goals as quickly as you’d like, we’ll show you a way you can.  Speak to a coach today by clicking here. 🖱️

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