Maintenance of a relatively constant body weight after a successful weight-loss programme. It is relatively easy to lose weight, but much more difficult to maintain the weight at a lower level. Most dieters return to their original weight within one year. Weight-loss maintenance is easier if dieters adopt exercise as part of their lifestyle. It is also more likely if dieters have lost weight slowly and steadily. Dieters should aim to lose about 1–2 lb (0.5–1.0 kg) per week. Successful weight-loss maintenance usually requires considerable effort in planning balanced, nutritious, and interesting meals. The following tips may help you maintain your ideal weight:
• weigh yourself regularly (once a week), but do not worry about fluctuations of a few pounds, this may be due to variations in water retention
• plan your meals and try to eat only at meal times
• have at least three meals each day
• choose foods with a high nutrient density
• keep an eating diary recording when and what foods are eaten
• have a good breakfast and avoid eating heavy meals in the evening
• if you need to have a snack, eat fruit or other nutrient-rich foods rather than sweets which contain empty calories
• avoid foods with a high fat content
• eat plenty of complex carbohydrates, such as wholewheat pasta, wholemeal bread, and jacket potatoes
• cut down sugar intake
• include small portions of favourite foods on a regular basis
• drink plenty of watery fluids (about eight glasses of water each day)
• exercise regularly (for example, by walking briskly for 20 minutes each day).
Once an ideal weight is achieved, it is just as important not to allow it to go down as it is to prevent it from going up.