After putting in the hard work to lose extra pounds and reach your target weight, you might be ready for a well-deserved celebration. That doesn’t mean you should ditch all the healthy changes you’ve made, however. Find out what you need to know about maintenance calories, healthy habits, and mindset reminders to sustain your weight loss successfully.

Get Into the Right Mindset

Whether you’ve lost a little or a lot of weight, you know that one of the toughest parts of the process is adjusting your mindset. While an unhealthy frame of mind can prevent you from hitting your weight loss goals on your preferred timeline, a harmful mindset can also compromise your ability to maintain your hard-earned weight loss.

Thinking about your weight loss plan as a quick fix will make it difficult to keep the weight off in the long run. Along the same lines, a short-term weight loss plan that only tests your willpower without helping you develop healthy habits is likely to result in an unhealthy mindset. To maintain your weight loss, think about long-term health goals and strive to change your eating and exercise habits for good. Such as starting to follow a meal plan to lose weight as well as to create a habit of healthy eating.

Define Successful Weight Loss

If you’re convinced that no one can successfully lose weight and keep it off for good, you aren’t alone. This may be the predominating sentiment, but it’s one that’s incredibly outdated. It stems from a weight loss study performed more than 50 years ago, when a generally accepted definition for weight maintenance didn’t yet exist. Fortunately, both nutrition and weight loss science have come a long way since then, and new studies have shown that weight maintenance is certainly possible.

More recently, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggested defining successful weight loss as losing at least 10 percent of your body weight and maintaining your new weight for at least a year. While this is an excellent goal, you can adjust it as necessary to meet your needs. Perhaps you only need to lose 5 percent of your body weight, or maybe you want to develop a longer five-year plan for weight maintenance. Either way, take the time to decide what successful weight loss means to you and start setting goals to make sure you stay on track.

Know How to Calculate Calories Needed to Maintain Weight

As your weight changes, your daily calorie requirements will almost certainly change, too. Naturally, as your weight decreases, you won’t need as much energy to power your body. To determine how many maintenance calories you need, calculate your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE). Women can estimate this by multiplying their weight in pounds by 12 if they lead a relatively sedentary life, by 15 if they’re moderately active, or by 17 if they’re extremely active. The final figure is your TDEE.

Keep in mind that your TDEE reflects the number of calories your body expends on a daily basis, but the number of calories you need could be different from this number. If you find that you need to gain or lose weight, you can consider changing your diet and exercise plan to incorporate more or less energy expenditure each day.

Consume Your Maintenance Calories Via Consistent Eating Patterns

Once you’ve determined the appropriate number of maintenance calories for your body, it’s important to develop healthy eating patterns. For instance, don’t plan to skip breakfast in favor of consuming more calories later in the day. While breakfast may not necessarily be the most important meal of the day, eating something in the morning helps balance out your calorie intake throughout the day and ensures that you start the day with essential nutrients.

To make sure you’re sticking to healthy, consistent eating patterns, try tracking what you eat each day. With a digital food journal, you’ll be able to keep track of when you eat, how many calories and nutrients you’re consuming, and whether you’re developing any notable habits.

Make Time for Regular Exercise

Making substantial changes to what, when, and how you eat is essential to losing weight and keeping the pounds off. However, staying active is also critical to successful weight loss. In fact, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition notes that making time for at least 60 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity per day can help you meet your weight maintenance goals.

While brisk walking, weight lifting, and cycling are some of the most common activities for those striving to maintain weight loss, that doesn’t mean you have to add any or all of these activities to your gym routine. In fact, you don’t even have to go to the gym. Ultimately, choosing physical activities that you like is more important than joining the right gym. After all, if you love hiking and standup paddleboarding and can do them regularly, you’ll have a better chance of sticking to an exercise routine that gets you excited.

Build a Supportive Network

Even with the right mindset and all the essential tools at your fingertips, maintaining weight loss can be challenging. It’s even tougher if you try to do it alone, which is why most experts recommend building a supportive network around you.

If your best friend is also striving to keep off extra pounds, you could offer each other support and even get together to make weekly meal plans. You can also create your own community of friends, such as a team of gym buddies whom you work out with on a regular basis.

You can also seek out professional support to help with weight maintenance. Hiring a personal trainer can help you keep your exercise plan on track, or a yoga instructor could help you lower stress levels. You could even consider talking with a therapist if persistent weight struggles stem from deeper issues.

After reaching your initial weight loss goal, don’t let your hard work go to waste. From calculating your TDEE to exercising regularly to reaching out to your support network, follow these tips to help with successful weight loss.

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