Health & Wellness Articles

10 Ways to Strategize for Long-Term Weight Loss

What Could Work to Keep the Weight Off Forever

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So, you don't just want to lose weight, you want to lose the extra weight forever. Ta-ta. Sayonara. Good riddance. While losing weight does take focus and dedication, it's important to remember that losing weight isn't really a start-and-end process. Sure, you have a weight-loss goal to reach, but once you get there, you don't just stop eating right and working out. No way! You keep it up because it's a healthy lifestyle that's livable and lovable—and it makes you feel great.

Despite this, when you make the transition from losing weight to maintaining weight, you have a little more wiggle room in your diet and workout plan because you don't need to create a deficit of calories anymore—you just need to take in as many as your body needs in order to not gain or lose. (For more on how many calories you need, be sure to update your weight and goals regularly on SparkPeople.)

So whether you're just starting out on your weight-loss journey or if you've reached your goal weight, follow these top strategies to keep the weight off for good.

Get Moving and Stay Moving
Being active is extremely important for keeping weight off—not to mention it has a slew of other great health benefits, including helping cholesterol ratios, reducing blood pressure, improving mood and well-being, and strengthening the heart. Be sure to get active doing something you love; whether it's dancing, walking, biking, or playing sports—life is too short to do something you don't like! Shoot for at least three days of cardiovascular exercise a week and two days of resistance training. Sessions should be at least 20 to 30 minutes each (which can even be broken up into smaller segments) with your heart rate up to 60 percent to 85 percent of its max. Not sure how to figure out your training heart rate? Check out this resource that shows you how.

Multiple studies show that people who track or journal the foods they eat lose more weight and keep it off for the long haul. In fact, the National Weight Control Registry, which tracks more than 3,000 people who have lost an average of 50 pounds and kept it off successfully for five years, has found that logging foods is one way to stay on track well after they've lost the weight. In another study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, those who used a food diary while dieting lost twice as much weight as those who didn't.
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About The Author

Jennipher Walters Jennipher Walters
Jenn is the CEO and co-founder of the healthy living websites, and A certified personal trainer, health coach and group exercise instructor, she also holds an MA in health journalism and is the author of The Fit Bottomed Girls Anti-Diet book (Random House, 2014).

See all of Jenn's articles.

Member Comments

  • JMB369
    I lost 80 pounds between 2004 and 2008. I have "maintained" most of that loss. I am now 20 pounds above my goal weight, but healthy, happy, and active at age 75! I use all these techniques except the photo of me at my highest weight. That makes me sad. I use a photo of me in a helmet, about to ride a zip line . I am at my goal weight with a huge smile on my face. That inspires me to keep at it. For me, changing it up is important, whether it's food, exercise, goals, streaks, activities. I walk, do yoga, swim and dance. Portion control is key for me. This is a great summary of techniques. - 4/22/2016 10:53:51 AM
  • Nearly four years into maintenace! The article is soooo true! It takes all of the above plus diligence and perseverance. Prepare yourself for the maintence cycle as you are losing. Best wishes to all Sparkers! - 2/29/2016 7:33:38 AM
    I've been maintaining my goal weight for over 6 months now. - 2/1/2016 7:41:02 AM
    Exercising is a proven method of weight loss, but many people do not realize how helpful it is to have a friend or family member "buddy-up" with them when they are engaging in physical activities.
    ntial-amino-energy-review/ - 1/20/2016 10:17:23 AM
  • On Spark Coach they wanted me to start a new streak and I was trying to figure out what I'd want to do. One thing I don't find comfortable doing is riding a stationary bike, BUT when I reach a good goal in the Spring, I aim to by myself a new bicycle. So to prepare me for that gift to myself, I decided that my new streak will be riding the stationary bike for just under 10 minutes a day until I reach my spring b-day.
    From there, I'm going to set my streaks from one birthday to another. THAT might keep it interesting for me! - 11/13/2015 1:55:04 PM
    Great article. I do a lot of the things included. Made some changes in my life, especially working out in the morning, very early. Two days a week I am at the gym at 5 am with a personal trainer and two days at 6 am for Xco training. I log my food, use my fitbit to log calories and steps and have seen great improvement in my health and weight. I have 30 lbs to go, can't wait to get to my goal and start maintaining my weight for the rest of my life. - 9/10/2015 5:43:42 PM
    I do know this to keep your weight loss going a person must switch up their work out. what happens a person body get use to the same movements and stop burning fat calories. so a person need to shock their body into doing new moves , longer reps. - 6/4/2015 12:10:43 PM
    New habits can be fun to try. At start of year, I selected 5 new habits to try for 21 days, knowing that I'd be successful on only some. I ended up with 3 powerful changes that are now routine: (1) I put sneakers on first thing In the morning - they give me spring in my step. I have them ready the night before. (2) I keep a glass of water next to the sink to grab at all times. (3) Every morning, i log my weight, food plan into SparkPeople. (It's true that 21 days of doing something makes a habit - at least for me). - 3/31/2015 7:06:36 AM
  • Great article, I am the same with the water drinking, some days I will drink the water other days not, I do drink black coffee no sugar no problem. Tracking my food is really helping. I just need to keep motivated. I do a lot of walking as I have 2 dogs. Good luck everyone in reaching your goals - 2/18/2015 3:46:14 AM
  • ASTRA56
    I've been maintaining my goal weight for over 6 months now. I'm embarrassed to admit it but I lost 84 pounds without any formal exercising. I just hate to exercise. lol Of course, I am more active now - I can run up the stairs without panting - but I will probably never do formal exercise. I know this won't work for everyone, but it seems to have worked for me and I have been a yo-yo dieter all my life. The one thing I continue to do faithfully, however, is journaling every day. I really believe that helps keep me in check. - 12/23/2014 10:35:17 AM
  • Great article. The two things i need to focus on most is moving and drinking more water, My calorie intake is mostly under the recommended - but i just do not drink the water - right now am drinking more tea. Grew up on sweetened iced tea - year 'round - but now just want it iced - not sweet, and no lemon.
    barb - 7/11/2014 10:21:09 AM
  • Yes the answer is to ALWAYS keep MOVING. you must move! move or die i say! - 2/9/2014 2:14:03 PM
  • I love this articles. Even though I can not tract my food and work out here daily, but I do exercises every day. I eat all nutritious food daily. I am on my maintenance now, and I keep this way. I am active in my daily work. I am like a yoyo because of my medicine can gain weight but I stay ahead of my work outs every day. I dont like my medicine to ruin my sexy body.

    I do my best to tract my work outs here. I can not promise to tract my food. I never been so big though, but in my mind I remember myself a chubby one, and I dont like me to be chubby. I like to be slim like I use to be. I keep changing my work outs too, so that I dont feel bored. - 1/27/2013 2:31:18 AM
  • Good article! I reached maintenance not that long ago and faced some challenges that I had not expected, including getting bored with my diet/fitness plan, losing goals, and adjusting my food and activity to stop creating a deficit. Thankfully, I already know that I will not stop being a vegan and my love for being active will not suddenly disappear. This article was very helpful, though! - 8/25/2012 9:45:23 PM
  • I think it was intersting. I keep a food journal and write when I eat and what I eat and nutrient info. I also keep track of my exercise. But I found out with me it is better to eat smaller meals every two to three hours and I lose weight but if I did your way I gain weight. - 7/10/2012 10:49:51 AM

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