Many people believe that long-term weight loss simply isn’t possible. They think weight re-gain is inevitable and that their new, slimmer figure is only temporary. This isn’t true! Losing weight is hard work and it’s an accomplishment you should be able to show off for years to come. Unfortunately, weight maintenance isn’t easy either. About 80% of people who lose weight regain all or some of that weight within two years. The key to successful weight maintenance is to behave like the determined 20% who keep the weight off long term! Thankfully, this is a heavily-studied topic and experts can offer some concrete recommendations to help you avoid weight re-gain.
Habits for Weight Maintenance
In the US, there’s a group called the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR). This list keeps track of people have lost at least 30 pounds and kept it off for at least one year. The registry is voluntary and currently tracks over 10,000 individuals. When experts analyzed the data gathered through NWCR questionnaires, certain patterns emerged in the daily routines of people who successfully maintain major weight loss.
Here are some of their most important habits:
1. Eat Breakfast
If you want to maintain major weight loss, eating breakfast proves key. But don’t stress – it doesn’t need to be anything fancy! The most common breakfast among NWCR participants is milk and cereal, but scrambled egg whites & toast, a smoothie or a meal replacement shake are great options too. The most important thing is that you eat (or drink) something. Aim for about 250-400 calories at this first meal.
2. Stick to a Healthy Diet
Have you heard people telling each other, “If you want something you’ve never had before, you have to do something you’ve never done before”? As cliché as it sounds, this advice holds amazingly true – as does the opposite. If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll end-up where you’ve always been. So, it’s important to stick with your new, healthier diet if you want to maintain your new, healthier weight. NWCR respondents report sticking to a low-fat, calorie-controlled diet long-term. Experts estimate that these maintainers eat about 1800 calories per day (when exercising) and avoid high-fat foods.
3. Cook at Home
Eating at home is healthier, and cheaper, than eating out. Studies show that home-cooked meals are almost always lower calorie, lower fat and lower in sodium as compared to restaurant meals. Moreover, diners who usually eat at home tend to eat less when they choose to eat out. People that lose a lot of weight and keep it off know this. Successful maintainers in the NWCR only eat out an average of 2.5 meals per week, and less than once a week at fast food restaurants.
4. Maintain Restraint
One reason people who successfully keep the weight off are able to stick with their healthy habits long-term is because they keep a “just lost weight” mindset. Instead of allowing themselves to slack, successful maintainers preserve their discipline. They stay highly motivated to eat right and get moving each day long after they’ve reached their goal weight.
The most successful maintainers hold onto this mindset even on weekends and holidays. This matters because these are the times when we’re most likely to binge or otherwise abandon healthy habits. To maintain major weight loss, healthy living should be a 24/7 endeavor.
5. Stay Active
It’s no secret that healthy diet and exercise work together in keeping your body healthy. So, it’s important to incorporate both into your daily routine to maintain weight loss. NWCR participants report fitting in an average of one hour per day of moderate exercise. Walking is the most common workout, but hiking, workout classes and water sports also prove popular. Anything works as long as you enjoy the activity and keep moving!
6. Weigh Regularly
Getting too attached to your scale is definitely controversial, but studies show that pesky machine plays a legitimate role in weight maintenance. The majority of those 20% that maintain their lower weight weigh daily, or at the very least weekly. Experts think this helps because it allows the individual to note small fluctuations in weight and adjust accordingly. If you weigh frequently, it’s much less likely that you’ll gain ten or fifteen pounds without noticing.
Weight Maintenance After Phentermine
If you’re nervous about reaching the end of your phentermine prescription, routine will prove extra important in making your transition off the medication successful.
During the final weeks of your phentermine prescription, make it a point to establish healthy routines based on the above tips. For example, if you aren’t normally a big breakfast person, take this opportunity to start incorporating a morning meal into your daily routine. Same goes for exercise. If you’re working out 3-4 times a week now, make an effort to increase this activity to 5-6 times per week. The lower your body weight, the less calories you need to function. So, if you’re working to permanently maintain a more slender figure, controlling intake and increasing activity are paramount.
Establishing routines also proves extremely helpful in a more general sense. While you still have the help of phentermine, start getting your body used to a set daily routine. If you’re already used to eating healthy meals and snacks, working out and sleeping at the same time each day, it will be much easier to control your appetite and energy levels post-phentermine. Wondering what a healthy routine looks like? Check out the example below!
Sample Daily Routine
So how do you put all of these tips into action? Here’s an example of a healthy weight maintenance routine. Clearly your food, exercise and schedule will vary day-to-day, but the idea is to follow a similar routine regardless of what life throws your way. Most days should be filled with nutritious and moderate meals & snacks, about an hour of moderate physical activity and self-care as needed.
|7am||Cook and eat breakfast: 2 slices of whole wheat toast and 2 scrambled egg whites with black pepper plus 1 clementine (a vsmall orange)||222 calories, 2g fat, 35g carbs (6g fiber), 16g protein|
|7:30am||Leave for work|
|12pm||Eat lunch: grilled chicken salad (2 cups lettuce, 2oz grilled chicken, ½ cup diced tomato, ¼ corn kernels, ¼ cup canned black beans, 2 tbsp ranch dressing) plus one serving of Wheat Thins||363 calories, 4.5g fat, 57g carbs (11g fiber), 27g protein|
|4pm||Eat afternoon snack: large apple and a tablespoon of natural peanut butter||210 calories, 8.5g fat, 34g carbs (6g fiber), 5g protein|
|5pm||Get off work|
|5:30pm||Workout: brisk walk around the neighborhood for one hour|
|7pm||Cook and eat dinner: spaghetti and meat sauce (1 cup cooked whole-wheat penne, ½ cup ready-made marinara sauce, 3oz of cooked lean ground beef) with steamed squash (1 yellow squash)||608 calories, 10g fat, 91g carbs (15g fiber), 45g protein|
|8pm||Nighttime snack: 1 cup of tea (decaf, unsweetened) and a small handful (1/4 cup) of regular trail mix||173 calories, 11g fat, 17g carbs (2g fiber), 5g protein|
|MACRO SUMMARY||1576 calories, 21% fat calories|
Now you know the habits experts recommend to maintain weight loss long-term. Still wondering if these ideas really work? Here’s the story of a real young woman who lost weight with phentermine and has been phenomenally successful in keeping it off long-term!
Shelby weighed 226 pounds at her heaviest. She lost over 100 pounds with phentermine to reach a current weight of 125 pounds. Over the past 14 months, Shelby has successfully maintained that loss while going on and off phentermine. Here’s what she had to say:
What prompted you to start your weight loss journey?
“I saw number on the scale go over 200 lbs and just knew I had to do something, because I always said I’d never let myself get over 200 lbs.”
What’s the best part of losing all this weight?
“The most rewarding part of my new lifestyle is that I feel better, I’ve learned to love myself inside and out, and my health is much better. Knowing I’m at a healthy weight and not having to worry if I’ll be around to see age 50 is a wonderful feeling to finally have… It’s so satisfying seeing people that I haven’t seen in a long time and they almost don’t know who I am because I have lost so much weight, the look of shock is what keeps me going.”
What advice do you have for other people hoping to achieve the same success?
“As far as advice goes, all I can really say is, don’t give up, and phentermine does its job, but you have to do yours as well. It’s not a miracle pill, but if you put in the effort to get started, phentermine will do the rest.”
Are you close to your goal weight or reaching the end of your phentermine prescription? Share your questions about and experiences with weight maintenance in the comments section below!