So after months and months of hard work you’ve finally reached your weight loss goals. The work should be over now right? Wrong. Post diet maintenance can be just as challenging. Even while you don’t need to sacrifice to the same extent as you did during the diet phase, you will nevertheless need to learn how to incorporate some of what you’ve learned into your day to day eating habits.

Most experts agree that yo-yo dieting will only wreak havoc with your metabolic rate thereby making everything you eat post-diet difficult to burn off. Because your body starts to enter starvation mode, every bit of caloric tid-bit can become stored as fat reserves. In order for the body to feel safe it needs a regular supply of nutrients. If you’ve starved yourself silly, than the body will respond by holding on to every subsequent morsel that enters your mouth. As such, it is important not to use crash dieting techniques but instead to make permanent changes to your lifestyle that are sustainable.

One of the other main reasons for the heavy gains after dieting is that people give up all the tricks that helped them lose the weight in the first place. After a long hard struggle to lose the weight, people tend to indulge themselves and slide back to unhealthy habits. If this has tended to be your style, or if you’ve suffered from recurrent weight loss and subsequent gains, then keep reading to learn how to keep the weight off for good!

1. Change your thinking. When it comes to making changes in your health and body then you need to stop thinking diet and start thinking lifestyle change. If you’ve been suffering on a crash diet or starving yourself on a new fangled eating regime then chances are you’re not going to do that well when it comes to maintenance. If you haven’t learned how to eat healthily on your diet, then you’re not going to understand how to keep the weight off when it comes to reintroducing certain foods. If you haven’t changed your thinking then no matter how much your body might look different for now you’re not going to be able to maintain with success. Sliding back to old eating habits will have you back on a diet in no time.

2. Have a red alert weight. During your dieting phase you were probably pretty good about weighing yourself on a regular basis. Now that you are settling in maintenance you will still need to make sure that you are keeping track of your weight. While you won’t need to weigh in everyday, you will need to weigh yourself every week or so. Having a red flag weight set out ahead of time will help you realize if and when you are eating a little too lustily or skipping one to many workouts. When you see this weight on your scale you’ll know its time to cut out a few carbs and get back on track.

3. Have a plan. Too often people go off their diets only to return to their pre-diet eating habits. Obviously doing so will land you right back where you were when you started the diet in the first place. Maintenance does not mean eating whatever you like. Rather, maintenance too requires a little bit of forethought. This is why making changes in your lifestyle, including adding in exercise and cutting out unhealthy foods, will help make your weight loss permanent in ways that yo-yo dieting cannot. Having a plan of attack for how to approach maintenance will therefore include a general dietary plan alongside an exercise regime. While you obviously won’t have to be as strict as you were on the diet, you do still need to add some of the healthy habits you’ve learned to your every day life.

4. Exercise. Frequently, dieters forgo exercise in favour of very low caloric intake. While this will help shed the pounds fast it will only lead back to the inevitable post-diet weight gain. Starving yourself can work for a while, but ultimately it is unsustainable. If you are serious about making changes to your life you will really need to hit the gym. Making exercise a part of your life will not only boost your metabolism allowing you to eat a little more and burn more too, but it will also tone and shape your body. Just losing weight can often leave the body looking a little out of sorts if you fail to add exercise to the mix. Fat loss is great but if you’re left with saggy skin and bone rather than muscle tone then you’ll still be less than thrilled when bathing suit season arrives.

5. Tell others. One of the best secrets to keeping to a diet is telling others about your plan. If your partner, relatives or your best friend knows that you are trying to change your eating habits not only will you likely get the support you need, but you will also be less likely to cheat (at least in their presence). Likewise, making your maintenance plan public will keep you on the right track. When others know you are trying to make it to the gym four times a weak and to cut out junk food, then not only will you be held accountable, but you might even inspire them to make some healthy changes.

6. Don’t wait to take action. If you see the scales tipping towards the danger zone then instead of waiting for your red alert weight, or worse ten pounds past this flag, begin making changes immediately. Keeping a keen eye on the scale will alert you to unhealthy patterns. Perhaps you’ve started doing a lighter workout or added in a few more calories at the end of the day. Checking in on the scale will help you realize that maybe you can’t keep doing what you’ve been doing. Changing your routine right away will ensure that the weight gain doesn’t get out of hand. Remind yourself that it was difficult to lose the weight and maintenance though not as easy as some assume is much better than what you went through to lose the weight in the first place. As such, making some smaller changes now to address the weight you might be putting on is much easier than having another twenty or thirty more pounds to lose.

Dieting is hell for most people and that’s why thinking about lifestyle change is a much better way to go. While you may not lose the weight as fast as your starving friend over there surviving on cottage cheese, you will nevertheless have a much better chance of keeping if off. Maintaining your weight can then be easier as your metabolism won’t be a disaster and hopefully you will more easily incorporate your healthy habits into your day to day life.

Author's Bio: 

Dale Miller is a health, sports, fitness and nutrition enthusiast. He operates and writes a blog at