In many ways, keeping the weight off can be even more challenging than losing it in the first place. The biggest task is making the mental shift from reaching your goal: say a particular number on the scale, or embracing new lifestyle habits. That shift is critical because it is the key to success. Here’s how to make it happen.

Set a limit
Sure it is okay to give yourself a little wiggle room, but a can’t cross boundary keeps you from straying too far. Decide on a number that is within 5 or 10 pounds of your ideal weight. For example, if your target weight is 150 then 160 is the boundary you should never cross.

Weigh daily
Stepping on the scale each day serves as a reminder that you are on a chosen path. Let the number the scale reveals help you determine how you move through the day. Plenty of wiggle room? Enjoy that treat you’ve been dreaming about. Over your ideal or close to the boundary? Cut back and recommit to the habits that got you where you wanted to be in the first place.

Keep track
Avoid underestimating how many calories you take in and overestimating how many you burn. Keep a food journal and record everything you eat and drink. Notice the relationship between your daily recordings and the number on the scale. Make adjustments as needed. The value of recording and weighing is that you can correct your course quickly before you go too far afield.

Woman On Diet Writing Details In Food Journal

Monitor your movement, too
Exercise is important but it is just a very small portion of a 24-hour day. Take advantage of every available opportunity to move so you can burn more calories. Your NEAT or non-exercise activity thermogenesis is highly correlated with your weight. The more you move the more you burn so take the stairs. Ditch the desk more, stand and walk throughout the day, fidget and get in mini workouts when you can. Try squats while you brush your teeth or calf raises when you’re waiting in line.

Know your why
Understand your motivation to stay on track. When you know why maintaining a healthy weight is important to you it, is easier to tackle the how of it. Although you may start with the idea of looking good on vacation or at the class reunion, that won’t be enough for the long haul. Instead, think about things like reduced dependence on medication, more energy to enjoy family and friends, or more confidence.

Get a buddy
Ask someone also working to maintain a healthy weight to partner with you. Check in with each other often for encouragement, new recipes and new ways to stay active. Plan in advance how you will navigate obstacles and celebrate success.

Maintaining weight loss can be challenging, but it is not impossible. The key is to adopt lifestyle habits that support your new healthy weight. Recommit daily and regard the changes you embrace as a gift to yourself of more health and confidence.