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Health & Wellness Articles  ›  Weight Maintenance

3 Strategies to Prevent Relapse After Reaching Your Goal Weight

Winning the Mental Game

-- By Dean Anderson, Fitness & Behavior Expert
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www.EatWild.org
www.FoodDownTheRoad.ca
www.LocalHarvest.org
www.SlowFoodUSA.org

Key Attitude: When you make food choices that line up with your own social, environmental, and nutritional values, it can be a lot easier to stick to your eating goals.

Putting It All Together
 
The key to successful maintenance is to know that reaching your goal weight is not the end—it’s simply proof that you have the know-how, spirit, and skills to tackle difficult challenges and succeed. One good way to carry all this with you into whatever new challenges you want to tackle (including the challenge of maintaining your weight) is to do a little inventory of what you’ve learned and the skills you’ve developed while losing weight. My article, The Three S’s of Success may help you identify some of the skills and attitudes you’ve developed, so read through it, sit down and make an inventory of your own. Think about how you can apply your knowledge and skills to maintain your weight—and to the next big challenge you decide to undertake.
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About The Author

Dean Anderson Dean Anderson
Dean Anderson has master's degrees in human services (behavioral psychology/stress management) and liberal studies. His interest in healthy living began at the age of 50 when he confronted his own morbid obesity and health issues. He joined SparkPeople and lost 150 pounds and regained his health. Dean has earned a personal training certification from ACE and received training as a lifestyle and weight management consultant. See all of Dean's articles.

Member Comments

  • I agree with and practice all 3, but I've added a 4th. It may not be popular, but if I start to regain, I want to know about it quickly, not when my clothes start to get tight, That could be 10 pounds. So I weigh myself every morning. Daily fluctuations are OK. Fluctuation means a bit up and a bit down. If the trend is up, up, up, it's time to reevaluate before things get out of hand. So far so good - nearly 5 years of maintenance. - 7/14/2014 7:03:20 AM
  • I appreciate the first two suggestions the author has, but find the third to be completely unrelated to the topic. Knowing where my food comes from does not increase my chances of maintaining. In fact, I have no problem with buying off season produce from the southern hemisphere. I appreciate being able to eat asparagus in the fall and fresh apples in the spring. Furthermore, the author makes the assumption that his opinion about food industry practices is "good" and that other ways to think about it are "bad." Personally, I agree with most of what he said about the food industry, but I found it a bit "preachy" and really off topic. - 7/13/2014 5:17:26 PM
  • After decades of gaining everything back and always more, I am so worried now that I have lost big amounts of weight and the goal is getting within sight. I notice that in my countless gain-backs all it has taken was a few days of mindless eating to start the process, which is to me like an addiction. I am trying so hard to develop the strategies that will work for me. - 2/21/2014 6:17:22 AM
  • I like this article overall. However, I'm pretty sure I've read that continuing to track your consumption even after you've reached goal weight is one of the key activities of successful maintainers, and telling people that it's ok to stop tracking goes against current research on the subject. I'd like to see a response from the author on this. - 2/20/2014 4:13:52 PM
  • MANDYCAT3
    I ran across one suggestion that I hope to find very useful. One of the latter chapters of "100 Days of Weight Loss" by Linda Spangle (which is well worth having on hand, by the way) suggested planning for "crisis management." First we identify a red flag, like going over a particular weight on the scale or not fitting into a favorite pair of jeans. Then we come up with an emergency plan.

    I've chosen a scale weight as my red flag. My emergency plan will be nothing but fruits-vegetables
    -whole-grains (with quinoa for protein) until I get back out of the red zone. If I'm vigilant, the "crisis" should be over in two or three days, so I believe a restricted diet will be an acceptable response. - 12/22/2013 4:08:57 PM
  • One thing that's not mentioned in this article (which I really enjoyed reading) was that how you lose your weight can help determine your success in maintenance. I used an extreme dietary change on a couple of occasions, and the weight went almost entirely right back on. Now I am doing something that requires very simple planning with gradual changes from my old way of eating. With this style, my weight gain stopped four months ago. A little bit more in terms of modification, and it should begin to go down. And I am predicting it will be easier to maintain that loss. Glenn. - 11/28/2013 5:12:33 AM
  • I just got to goal and have been thinking about it for a long time...I know that I must be diligent and I have been educating myself and planning it for a while. I have gained and lost too many times to remember - I am not going through this again - this is the last time, so this is important information! - 8/30/2013 1:21:46 PM
  • AGNESLEE1
    Nice post. I believe that substance abuse is a major problem that needs to be addressed not only by the person suffering from addiction but by their loved ones and the community as a whole. Someone with substance abuse problem must find understanding from their significant others. They can also find a supportive community like AA meetings for alcoholics (here’s a comprehensive list of AA meetings in US: http://sober.com/
    aa-alcoholic-
    anonymous-mee
    tings.html or a helpful treatment facility, halfway houses, and sober houses for people with drug addiction(for a complete list of these facilities you can check www.sober.com). - 11/8/2012 10:50:07 PM
  • thank you for this article...every year i meet my goal and some how tinker back up the rest of the year...i will maintain my weight loses and keep it off this year! - 5/31/2012 5:14:36 PM
  • eatwild.com - 4/26/2012 11:48:46 PM
  • I love this article! It has really helped me make the switch from losing weight to maintenance. As indicated in the article, transitioning to maintenance is such a mind boggler. But again, this article is very helpful. I am so dog on thankful for SP. - 12/8/2011 9:24:41 PM
  • Dean, I always get a lot out of your articles. This week I've been anxious as I realize I am going to meet my goal before the year's end, and I want to prepare NOW for maintenance. This article is just what I needed! Thanks for providing some direction for this new path. - 3/24/2011 1:07:55 PM
  • Dean, I always get a lot out of your articles. This week I've been anxious as I realize I am going to meet my goal before the year's end, and I want to prepare NOW for maintenance. This article is just what I needed! Thanks for providing some direction for this new path. - 3/24/2011 1:07:51 PM
  • Dean, I always get a lot out of your articles. This week I've been anxious as I realize I am going to meet my goal before the year's end, and I want to prepare NOW for maintenance. This article is just what I needed! Thanks for providing some direction for this new path. - 3/24/2011 1:07:31 PM
  • MOMM4LIFE
    I am so glad I found this article. I think I am in a form of weight maintenance now. I have lost 20lbs and still losing - I was contemplating how to maintain the weight loss. And now I know! Just keep doing what I did to lose the weight. It's just that simple! - 5/21/2010 10:40:01 AM