Now that you have finished this program, it’s time to plan for your future. Congratulations on successfully completing the first step towards managing your obesity!
Obesity is not something that is cured permanently. This program manages your weight and gets it down to a healthier place. But, if you gained weight once, that means your body has a tendency to store extra fat. So, it is possible that the fat will try to come back. It’s important to understand what to do next.
What should you do to maintain your weight loss?
You have worked hard to eat fewer calories for weight loss for the last 16 weeks. You know what the portion sizes are that helped you meet that calorie target. That target was for weight loss. The calorie target for maintaining your new, lower weight is a bit higher. In other words, when maintaining weight, you could eat more than what you are eating for losing weight.
To maintain your new weight, you will need 300-500 calories more than you have been eating for this weight loss plan. That is equal to one large slice of pizza, two more tacos, or 4-5 pieces of fruit each day, or a large bowl of ice cream, as a few examples. Try to be mindful of this as you transition off of a regimented eating plan and make your eating decisions.
The most important thing you can do to maintain your weight loss is weigh yourself daily. Daily fluctuations and small ups and downs by a pound or two don’t mean much. So, here’s how to know if you are starting to regain weight: if you have gained 3 lbs or more from your “final” weight from this program, and that weight sticks around for 1 week or more, that is a sign you may be starting to regain.
If you experience regain, the fact that you already lost weight once is a great sign that you can lose it again. If you are regaining weight very rapidly, or it continues to happen, make sure to check with your doctor about it. Reasons for weight gain can change and may need to be addressed differently.
But for most cases, not to worry, you know what to do! You have all the recipes from this eating plan. One option is to go back to your favorites, and follow those until you lose that weight again! This process is very typical and is part of life-long obesity management.
The other tactic that can really stave of weight regain is maintaining a high level of physical activity. If you can keep up with the level of activity you reached during the weight loss plan, it would be best. That will help a lot to prevent weight regain.
What if I haven’t met my weight loss goals after this 16-week plan?
If you have not met your weight loss goals after completing this program, it is time to talk with your doctor. Repeating this program may be appropriate. But, your doctor may have some additional tools that can help you reach your goals. Weight loss medications, other dietary approaches, and weight loss surgery are all potential treatments, depending on your situation. And above all, don’t give up!
If you were not able to complete the program because of poor timing (like the holiday season, or a stressful life event got in the way), there is no reason you cannot try it again at a better time. Keep it in mind, and keep your schedule clear for it later. Now you know all that is involved and it will go better next time.