Everyone talks about losing weight, but what if you've lost the weight and now need to maintain? It doesn't seem like anyone's giving advice about that. I've recently lost 70 pounds the old-fashioned way - paying attention to what and how much I eat, and moving more. I'm now exactly where I want to be and should be, but switching to maintenance mode (I use MyFitnessPal) is a little daunting. I don't want to stop working out, because I've really come to appreciate how happy and strong it makes me feel, but I also don't want to keep losing weight. I've made the lifestyle change for sure, so now I don't even think twice about cooking for myself and eating whole, healthy foods, but when I work out and eat three meals and snacks, I'm coming in under 1000 calories. I don't want to eat ice cream and drink wine to make up the calories, so what do I do? Eat way more throughout the day? Start drinking protein shakes? Order fries on the weekend?
Ahhh… the maintenance phase. This is a great place to be but it can be a slippery slope if you are not careful. In the maintenance phase you should be a bit more lenient when it comes to your diet (you can treat yourself a little bit more) and it is also not as big of a deal if you miss a workout or two, but where the slope begins to slide quickly is when you start to treat yourself too much and you start opting for more Netflix and less treadmill. And let me tell you something – weight gain hits you like a slow moving truck! You will be trucking along eating, drinking and skipping your workouts thinking to yourself “this is great! I haven’t gained a pound!” Then one morning you are going to wake up and your pants won’t zip up.
When you were on your weight loss program you were in a caloric deficit, meaning you were consuming fewer calories than you were expending. This is why your body started to lose weight as it was forced to use your stored energy (fat cells) to provide you with the fuel you needed to get through your day. Now that you are happy with your weight you can up your calories a bit and go back to a more balanced way of living. However, with that being said, you do not get to add those extra calories in the form of ice cream and fries! Continue to eat what you are eating, the good healthy foods that were the reason why you have lost weight, but just eat more of them. Smoothies are not a bad option here either if you are finding it hard to get in the calories.
But since you asked for real advice, I am going to give you real advice. Because I am not someone who lives off of boiled chicken and steamed broccoli. I like food, I like wine and I like to live. Keep working out. Hard. Not only because it is going to give you some room in how much you can eat each day, but also because you love it and it makes you feel great!
Make the WRONG choices at the RIGHT time. What does this mean? Do not sit at home on the couch and fill yourself with ice cream and candy. But…when you are at a movie with your favourite person then order the popcorn, and enjoy every bite of it. If you have a weekend of debauchery (which we all do from time to time) don’t panic! Just get back on the healthy train and stay away from high fat or sugary foods for a while. You basically need to get onto your weight loss program you were on but just for a few days. Drink a ton of water, eat lots of fruits and veggies and throw in some extra hard workouts into the mix. The 80/20 rule, remember?
Limit your alcohol consumption. It is ok to drink but do your best to not drink all the time. With summer around the corner, patio season is fast approaching us and if you live anything like I do here in Vancouver you spend a lot of time outdoors, with a cold drink in your hand. Try to limit your alcohol consumption to 3 drinks a week. Yes, you will drink more than that on occasion, but on average keep it to 3.
And check in with yourself from time to time. Make sure your clothes are still fitting you the same and when, or if, they feel tight then get yourself focused again. You have earned yourself a little bit of freedom now that you are where you want to be weight-wise but freedom doesn’t mean wild!
Attached: Jamie Chung goes to yoga in Vancouver on April 6, 2016.