5 Tips to Maintaining Your Weight—Even if You’re Not at Goal

These might be controversial opinions, so please know from the start that these are 100% my own thoughts on maintaining one’s weight. For me and my clients, ultimately what matters most is reaching goal and knowing how to stay there—NOT how long it takes. Sometimes, we all need to take a pause when on plan {regardless of what program or diet you follow}, and to me, the most important thing during those times is maintaining. Nobody wants to take a pause and undo weeks or even months of hard work. Not only is it crushing to see all of that work undone, it doesn’t set us up with a winning mindset. Instead, we tend to beat ourselves up, which is a terrible cycle to get trapped in. And, in fact, “In a meta-analysis of 29 long-term weight loss studies, more than half of the lost weight was regained within two years, and by five years more than 80% of lost weight was regained.” So in that spirit, here’s how I maintain during any pause {or once you hit goal} so that you NEVER have to start over.

  1. Be Relentless. How? Set a number range on the scale that you are ABSOLUTELY RELENTLESS about. No exceptions. For instance, let’s say you pause and you’re at 172 lbs. Set your range to 170-175 and be vigilant about staying within that range. Even if you aren’t a daily weigher on plan, way yourself daily and if you get towards the top of the range, go back on plan for a day or two to ensure you stay within range. Being on pause doesn’t mean everyday has to be a foodfest, right? It’s about having a little freedom to enjoy the moments that matter most. And, over time, this will help you find balance and you’ll know what makes your weight go up and what keeps you steady.
  2. It’s NOT All or Nothing. Every bite counts, so don’t waste a single one {literally} on anything that doesn’t provide the ultimate satisfaction. If you want to try something, ok, but stop when you’re satisfied. If that’s one bite, great. Five? Ok. But pay attention and be mindful. Maybe after three bites, you’re just over it. Every bite adds up, so don’t waste it on mindless eating. Choosing to not be on plan is just that—a choice. So be choosy about everything you eat, because when it comes from choice, you’re in control. And when the holidays end {or vacation, or a rough patch at work or in life, or whatever reason you’re on pause ends} and you get back on plan, you’ll do so coming from a place of power, not of feeling defeated. And won’t it be awesome to get back on plan and have maintained? That way, the only thing that’s changed is your timeline. No beating yourself up. No needing to lose pounds you’ve already worked so hard to lose. And if you’re just reading this and you’ve already gained a little, START BEING CHOOSY NOW. The sooner you make that u-turn, the sooner you’ll reach your destination—just like when you’re driving and get lost.
  3. Start each day on the right foot. Unless you’re planning a special meal in the morning, whether it’s the holidays or you’re on vacation, start every day on plan. You’d be amazed at how it positively impacts your mindset for the day {every win adds up} AND how it sets you up when it’s time to get back on plan. Habits are everything when it comes to long-term success. On Optavia, whether I’m on pause or not, I start each day with two shakes: one at 8:30am and one at 10:30am. In fact, if I don’t start my day off with a shake, I just feel off. And even when I have breakfast plans, I still start the day with one shake. It helps me mentally feel in control and on plan, even if the rest of my day isn’t going to be.
  4. Don’t do it alone. Whether it’s your coach, in the case of Optavia, or a friend or partner, share what you’re doing with someone else. Let them know that this is a planned pause {you are 100% in control of this and it’s a choice you’re making} and let them know when the pause is ending. Be clear. Be intentional. And, if it’s someone you’re comfortable doing so with, send them your weigh-in number or weight change {up or down} each day. So using my example above, if your pause range is 170-175, but you don’t want to share the number, tell them, “My range is zero to five pounds. Today I’m at 3.5 lbs.,” and the next day you could say, “I’m at 3.2 lbs.” As long as they know that you can’t go above five and if you get close, you’re fully aware of it and taking the steps to turn it around, the added accountability is so powerful.
  5. Keep Track. This one is probably the most difficult, but whether you write it all down in a notes app or track it in an actual diet app, itemized like LoseIt or with photos like dietSNAPS, acknowledge what you’re eating. I prefer photos because it’s PROACTIVE {meaning you have to take a pic and really consider what you’re eating before you eat it} rather than REACTIVE {after the fact.} I also think pictures are wayyyyyy easier {Who wants to write down every bite? 1/4 cup of tomatoes, 1T of creamer, three olives, etc. Not me, but do what works for you.}. Here’s an app I created with my sister over ten years ago that uses photos to track your daily food log. Alternatively, you could just use your phone’s camera and take photos as you go about your day. Whatever you choose to do, document what you’re eating in some way. I promise —it makes a huge difference.

Ultimately, a pause is not the end game and a pause is not a reason to go crazy. It’s a choice. Make everything about it intentional and set yourself up to win. And when it’s over, it’s over. Follow these tips and the only thing that will have changed in the end is your timeline.

You’ve got this!

7 thoughts on “5 Tips to Maintaining Your Weight—Even if You’re Not at Goal

  1. Denise

    Thanks so much! These are really encouraging thoughts! I’m in this for the long haul, 7 wks in and probably 30 lbs to go. I do want this to be a life-long journey.


  2. Tanya

    You seem very balanced with the Optavia life style. I weighed 180 and have lost down to 168-170 but has taken me 6 months. I have been on vacation and done great but not perfectly stayed on track meaning I will eat 3-4 fries and ate a Carmel candy at night. My night meals I gave eaten bread at dinner even with butter. I have no idea how the scales will go. This is crazy that you can not eat anything but fuelings all day and then possibly destroy everything by eating a bread slice and bites of rice. Frustrating I can’t seem to stay legal for 3 days much less a week
    I do Great during the day but find myself in to old habits of taking a few bits at night.


  3. Patty

    Thank you so much for this post. I just ended a two month pause and feel great about being back on program. I have a two bite rule. When at a friends house who made a wonderful dessert and she begs me to try it, I do. Two bites! Never three. In the eight years I have made this choice, I have never gained from the two bites of anything. I love the two bite rule because I don’t feel deprived, and my friend feels happy. Also, because it is so difficult for me to loose weight, I choose a three pound rule. I can’t gain more than three pounds or back on strict program. Thanks again.


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