Whether you’ve already reached your target weight or you’re eagerly anticipating the moment that you do, understanding how to maintain a healthy status is essential. From staying on top of maintenance calories to knowing how to handle setbacks, use these seven tips to maintain your healthy lifestyle.

1. Maintain Healthy Habits Every Day

When it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, one of the most important things you can do is simply striving for consistency. No matter how busy life gets or how much your schedule changes on a daily basis, try to eat the same balance of whole foods, consume a similar number of calories, and work in a consistent amount of physical activity.

You might be tempted to maintain your healthy habits during the week and give yourself a break on the weekend, but it’s important to keep things consistent every day of the week. By sticking to your healthy habits seven days a week, you’ll be less tempted to binge and more likely to sustain your weight loss for the long term.

2. Stay On Top of Your Maintenance Calories

After reaching your weight loss goal, you might be tempted to ease up on your diet plan or change your eating patterns altogether. While it might be a good idea to incorporate a different range of nutritious foods in your diet, it’s important to keep an eye on your caloric intake. After all, the number of calories you need at your target weight probably won’t be the same as what you needed when you began your weight loss journey.

To determine how many maintenance calories you need, calculate your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) regularly to ensure that you’re helping your body achieve the ideal energy balance. To do this, multiply your weight in pounds by 1.2 if you’re relatively sedentary, by 1.5 if you get moderate exercise, or by 1.75 if you’re training for a marathon. Then, use a Calories Per Day calculator app to track your caloric intake and make sure you’re getting what you need to maintain your current weight.

3. Stick to an Exercise Routine You Love

You already know that regular exercise and good physical fitness is essential for helping you reach your ideal weight. But you might not realize how important exercise is for feeling good and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

If you’re already used to getting your cardio and strength training in during your daily visit to the gym, keep it up. If you’re ready for a change of your routine, however, try not to take a break. Instead, squeeze in at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day, whether you’re jogging on the treadmill, going for a swim, or going for a hike around your local park.

4. Increase Your Water Consumption

When your primary goal is getting in shape and eating right, you might not give water the attention it deserves. As you strive to keep up your healthy habits, however, it’s important to increase your water consumption.

Not only will drinking water keep you hydrated and improve how your body functions, but keeping the water flowing can also help with weight maintenance. Try drinking a large glass of water before a meal, and the feeling of fullness you’ll experience could help to reduce your calorie intake.

5. Get a Full Night’s Sleep

Life has a habit of getting busy, but if you never make time for sleep, your healthy lifestyle goals could suffer. After all, sleep debt and weight gain are more closely connected than you might think. When you don’t get enough sleep, you’re more likely to skip the exercise that helps you burn fat and build muscle, and you’re prone to making unhealthy eating decisions. In fact, sleep deprivation encourages unhealthy decisions, as it reduces activity in the part of your brain that oversees impulse control.

So how can you make sure that being tired doesn’t prompt you to make bad choices? Aim to get between seven and nine hours of sleep per night, and try to find the ideal amount of sleep for your body.

6. Track Your Progress

After tracking your weight loss progress carefully for months or years, you might be looking forward to setting aside the scale or putting down the calorie tracking apps. Reaching your target weight doesn’t mean you should stop assessing your progress, though. Instead, it’s important to continue to track your progress so you can make sure you’re maintaining your healthy lifestyle.

Use an app to continue to track your food intake and exercise routines, and make a point of hopping on the scale once a week. Since your new goal is maintaining your current weight, you’ll want to keep an eye out for weight gain or loss. When you use an app to keep a digital diary, you can easily look back on your patterns and identify unhealthy habits before they cause you to get too far off track.

7. Forgive Yourself For a Bad Day

Even when you try your hardest to stick to your healthy habits, you have to expect the occasional setback. Whether you feel under the weather and have to skip your spin class or you accidentally overindulged at a birthday party, you’re bound to have a bad day every once in awhile.

When this happens, don’t assume the worst or convince yourself that you’ve ruined your diet for good. Instead, do your best to power through the day, forgive yourself for a minor slip up, and get back to your healthy habits right away. Try drinking extra water, making sure that you get enough sleep, and restocking your fridge with healthy options. Understand that one off day won’t compromise all your hard work and that a small setback doesn’t have to derail everything you want to achieve.

As you adopt these seven strategies and strive to keep your energy balance consistent, keep in mind that maintaining optimal health isn’t merely a short-term goal. Consider a healthy lifestyle to be the key for your long-term health, and set far-reaching goals that will help you stay healthy no matter what life may bring.

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