Keeping The
Weight Off

You’ve changed your diet, started exercising, and have successfully lost those stubborn pounds. But now the real work begins: Maintaining your weight loss.

Women lifting weights

Happy new you

It's easy to fall into the weight gain trap of thinking that, since you've thus far successfully whittled your waist, an extra serving of dessert here and an afternoon on the couch with a bag of chips there aren't going to sabotage your dieting efforts.

Be warned, however: Those pounds and inches can creep back on quickly, leaving you with the familiar and frustating struggle to zip up your favorite pair of jeans. Before you have to pull out the infamous pair of "fat pants," heed the following diet and exercise tips to keep your lost weight at bay.

1Adopt a positive attitude

Pat yourself on the back: You've reached your goal weight. Now is not the time to start finding flaws in your body. So what if losing 10 pounds dropped your bra size? It means you've lost fat and inches; revel in it and buy a new dress that accentuates your new shape. Look at yourself every day and think, "You rock!" It will keep you motivated to maintain your new weight.

2Don't stop eating

Losing weight with a sensible weight loss plan means reducing your daily caloric intake -- but not unrealistically or dangerously. There is no reason to start skipping meals for fear those pounds are going to reappear. In fact, starving yourself is going to eventually lead you straight to the bakery or all-you-can-eat buffet.

Revisit the healthy diet strategies that whittled your waist to begin with, and stick to them. That means eating sensible, balanced meals and snacks to avoid feeling deprived or ravenously hungry.

3Eat with your senses

Wasn't it the mindless munching in front of the computer screen that gave those extra 10 pounds the green light to bulge your buttons? Hapless noshing is a surefire way to sabotage your weight loss, and you don't derive any true pleasure from the food you are eating.

Before you start chewing, tune in to your food with all of your senses and determine if it satisfies or disappoints. Eating with your senses will help you slow down enough to heed your hunger cues -- meaning, you'll eat fewer calories and separate the foods you really enjoy from those that are pleasureless, mindless diet disasters.

4Journal your diet and exercise

Research shows that keeping a daily record of the foods and drinks you consume is the best way to lose weight. So long as you are honest with yourself, this will make you think twice before ordering the jumbo fries with that salad, and will also motivate you to keep your entries in line with maintaining your weight loss. Scheduling exercise on your daily planner will also encourage you to stick to your workouts.

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