How Do I Maintain My Weight, Rather Than Keep Losing?
Ever since I decided to start eating healthy and exercising more this summer, I've lost a couple of pounds. Which was my intention. Going from 130 (summer of July 2012) to 117 (fall of November 2012). I've already surpassed my goal weight of 120. But I'm afraid of the health effects of losing anymore weight. How do I keep my weight constant?
It can be difficult for people who lose weight to maintain their new weight after so much time and energy went into lifestyle changes that allowed for weight loss. However, it can certainly be done! When you lose weight, you are basically burning more calories than you are taking in. To maintain your weight, you want to be burning approximately the same amount of calories you take in. In order to do this, consider the following:
- Diet. To maintain your weight you need to be eating less than you were before you lost your weight, but more than you were eating while you were losing weight. You should still be eating healthy food choices: lots of vegetables and fruits, lean meats, whole grains, and limited amounts of foods high in sugar or foods that are overly processed. But you can have slightly more of these foods than when you were trying to lose the weight. It is also recommended that you eat three meals a day as well as a snack or two – again, focus on healthy food choices for your meals and snacks and be mindful of portion size.
- Exercise. Continue to be physically active. This might mean engaging in cardio workouts, in strength training exercises, or even just being up and on the go and limiting “coach potato” time.
- Monitor what you are doing. Keep a journal of what you are eating and of your physical activity. And monitor your weight to see if it going up, down, or staying steady. Compare what is happening with your weight to what you are eating and how you are exercising to see if any adjustments need to be made so that your weight stays steady.
- Check in with your doctor. Meet with your doctor so that he/she can assess if you are at a healthy weight loss (as you indicated in your question, you don’t want to lose too much weight so that you are at an unhealthy weight), and so that he/she can help you come up with a plan regarding diet and exercise that will help you to stay at a healthy weight.
If you find you are continuing to lose weight, then you need to increase the calories you are consuming and/or decrease the amount of exercise you are getting. Your doctor can help you determine what changes should be made depending on approximately how many calories you are consuming each day and how much exercise you are getting. For example, if your calories have been more limited but you are exercising a reasonable amount, focus on increasing the amount of calories you are taking in. If you have been doing a tremendous amount of intense exercising, it might be wise to focus on more moderate means of exercising.
For some more helpful hints, check out the following:
If you don't have a doctor and live in northern New Jersey, you can call the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health at 973-971-5199 for an appointment with an adolescent medicine specialist or contact your local teen health center. You can also contact your insurance company for a list of in-network providers.