No one would deny that losing weight is hard work. However, contrary to popular belief, the hard work isn’t over when someone reaches their goal weight. With prescription weight loss drugs, like phentermine, this holds especially true given that the medications are only designed as a short-term treatment. Therefore, it is critical to consider life after phentermine. Patients nearing the end of their treatment should consider the sustainability of their wellness routine, phentermine withdrawal, how to avoid rebound weight gain and where to turn for support. Many people believe that it is impossible to maintain their new, slimmer figure without going back on phentermine. Thankfully this is not true, but keeping the weight off long-term does require commitment and mindfulness for years to come.
The best way to NOT gain weight after stopping phentermine is to establish - and commit to - healthy routines long-term. This includes behaviors like eating breakfast, staying active, weighing regularly and cooking at home.
About 80% of people who lose a significant amount of 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 practical, concrete recommendations to help avoid rebound weight gain.
The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) is a list that keeps track of people in the United States who have lost at least 30 pounds and kept it off for a full year or more. The registry is voluntary and currently tracks over 10,000 individuals . When experts analyzed data gathered through NWCR questionnaires, certain patterns emerged in the daily routines of people who successfully maintain major weight loss.
People successfully keep the weight off by choosing to :
In the quest to maintain major weight loss, eating breakfast proves key. Thankfully, it does not need to be anything fancy. The most common breakfast among NWCR participants was milk and cereal, but scrambled egg whites & toast, a smoothie or a meal replacement shake are great options too. The most important thing is to eat (or drink) something in the first 1-2 hours of the day. Aim for about 250-400 calories at this first meal.
To avoid weight gain after phentermine, it is important to maintain a nutritious diet long-term. 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. There is an old saying, “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 true with life after phentermine.
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.
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 have reached their goal weight.
The most successful maintainers hold onto this mindset even on weekends and holidays. This matters because special occasions are the times when we are most likely to binge or otherwise abandon healthy habits. To maintain major weight loss, healthy living should remain a 24/7 endeavor.
Healthy diet and exercise work together to keep your body healthy, so it is important to incorporate both into your daily routine. NWCR participants report doing an average of one hour per day of moderate exercise. Walking is the most common workout, but hiking, dancing, workout classes and water sports are also popular. Anything works as long as you enjoy the activity and keep moving!
Getting too attached to your scale is definitely controversial, but studies show the balance 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 is much less likely that you’ll gain ten or fifteen pounds without noticing.
Diet, exercise and schedule vary day-to-day, but it is still productive to follow a similar routine regardless of what life throws your way. Most days should include several nutritious, portion-controlled meals & snacks, plus about an hour of moderate physical activity and self-care as needed.
So how can you put all of these suggestions into action? Below is an example of an easy, healthy weight maintenance routine for life after phentermine:
Another way to stay on-track with healthy living after stopping phentermine is to seek support. Having people that encourage and motivate your healthy behaviors makes sticking with those beneficial routines infinitely easier.
If you are looking for online support among a group of likeminded individuals who are also living through the triumphs and challenges of life after phentermine, join our dedicated Facebook group!
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1. McGuire, MT, Wing, RR, & Hill, JO. (1999). The prevalence of weight loss maintenance among American adults. International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders, 23(12), 1314-1319. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10643690.