How to Keep the Pounds Off Try these strategies to maintain your healthier weight as you shed pounds.

  • Keep a food diary.
  • Weigh yourself once a week.
  • Reward yourself.

Congratulations on the weight you've lost! Isn't it wonderful to know that your healthier eating habits and increased exercise are paying off? You deserve a lot of credit for the changes you've made. Now it's important to maintain them. To do this, continue eating healthfully and getting regular exercise. Here are some other strategies that can help.

Keep a Food Diary

It may seem tedious at first, but using a food diary to keep track of what you eat is a great way to monitor your efforts. It also makes it less likely that you'll cheat "just a little." People who are the most successful at losing weight and keeping it off are very likely to write down everything that they eat each day. Inexpensive calorie/fat guides, available in bookstores, can help you determine whether you're meeting your daily calorie, fat, and cholesterol goals and where you need to improve. Your dietitian can also help you analyze your food diary.

You might also try writing down what you plan to eat before you eat it. Compare what you have planned with your diary of what you've eaten recently. Will your upcoming meal or snack fit into your goals for today? If it will put you over any limits you have set for yourself, how can you modify the meal or snack so that it's healthier? Taking a moment to analyze your plans in this way before you start eating can help you avoid feelings of regret later. It can also help you feel more in control of your meals.

Weigh Yourself Once a Week

To help keep track of your progress, monitor your weight on a regular basis. Keep in mind that weight moves up and down somewhat on a daily basis, usually because of changes in the amount of water in your body. Don't let small fluctuations discourage you. Weighing yourself weekly and recording your weight in your food diary will help you get an accurate picture of how things are going. Each time you weigh yourself, try to use the same scale and dress in the same clothes, or remove all your clothes.

If you find that the pounds are coming back, take action! Revise your eating habits or increase your exercise so you can get back to your desired weight.

Reward Yourself

As you reach each of your short-term goals for weight loss, give yourself small nonfood rewards. Your reward might be a new book, CD, or article of clothing. Positive self-talk can be a very helpful and healthy form of reward, too. Tell yourself how great you are doing each time you make a healthy food choice or are more active. Pat yourself on the back for taking positive actions to get you where you want to be in your life. Acknowledge each small amount of weight that you lose. No matter how small it seems, it is getting you closer to how you want to be - a lighter, healthier person.