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How To Keep Weight Off: Strategies to Keep the Pounds Off for Good

February 21, 20244 min read

The Challenge of Keeping Weight Off

After the initial triumph of weight/fat loss, many find themselves facing an even greater challenge: keeping the weight off.

It's a common struggle, with a high relapse rate attributed to a mix of biological, environmental, and behavioural factors. From metabolic adaptations that slow down your calorie burn to an increase in hunger hormones and a decrease in non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT), the body can work against your weight maintenance efforts.

Add to this the omnipresent social pressure and food temptations, and it's clear why maintaining weight loss can feel like an uphill battle.

The Role of Behaviour in Weight Maintenance

While we might not have full control over our biology or environment, the good news is that behaviour is a variable we can manage. Successful weight maintenance boils down to adopting and sticking to the behaviours observed in individuals who have managed to keep the weight off long term.

Research, including findings from various international weight control registries, provides us with valuable insights into these behaviours.

Strategies for Success

1. Embrace Physical Activity

Consistently, high levels of physical activity are cited as a cornerstone of weight maintenance. Whether it's walking, cycling, running, or engaging in aerobics, integrating daily exercise into your routine is crucial. Resistance training also plays a vital role, helping maintain muscle mass and thereby preventing the metabolic slowdown that can accompany weight loss.

2. Healthy Eating Habits

Successful weight maintainers tend to have several dietary habits in common:

Keeping healthy foods readily available at home

Consuming a regular breakfast

Maintaining a regular meal schedule

Increasing vegetable and protein intake while reducing sugary and high-fat foods

3. The Power of Self-Monitoring

Frequent self-monitoring, through means such as regular weigh-ins, can help maintainers stay on track. While not everyone may thrive with daily weigh-ins, finding a self-monitoring method that works for you is key to long-term success.

4. Seeking Support

Social support, whether from peers or through structured programmes, has been shown to significantly improve the chances of maintaining weight loss. This support can range from online communities to professional guidance extending beyond the initial weight loss phase.

Debunking Common Myths

Myth 1: "I can go back to my old eating habits once I've lost the weight."

This belief is a fast track back to weight gain, and potentially more. Successful weight maintenance requires a permanent change in eating habits, not a temporary diet.

Myth 2: "Exercise isn't as important for weight maintenance."

On the contrary, physical activity is even more critical for keeping weight off than for losing it in the first place. It helps offset the metabolic slowdown associated with weight loss and aids in appetite regulation. This also helps with keeping healthy muscle as we age, which keeps your Basel Metabolic Rate up.

Practical Tips for Keeping Weight Off

Make exercise a non-negotiable part of your day. Aim for at least an hour of physical activity daily, and find ways to incorporate movement into your routine, like walking during breaks, cycling to work, parking further away from the shops on your weekly shop. There are many ways to increase movement everyday without stepping foot in a gym.

Plan your meals. Having a meal plan helps prevent impulsive eating and ensures you're getting the nutrients you need to support your weight maintenance efforts. You can meal prep a few days in advance, or simply have a menu of your foods for the week if you have time to cook each time. Again, many ways and methods to plan/prep your meals

Build a support network. Whether it's friends, family, an online community where having people to share your journey with can provide motivation and accountability. Or, if you prefer or feel you need face to face support, you can hire a coach.

Be adaptable. Life will throw curveballs, and your weight maintenance strategy might need to adjust. Stay flexible and willing to change your approach as needed.


Keeping weight off is undoubtedly challenging, but it's far from impossible. By adopting the behaviours of those who have successfully maintained their weight loss, staying active, eating healthily, monitoring progress, and seeking support, you can navigate the journey of weight maintenance with confidence.

Remember, this is not just about maintaining a number on the scale but about embracing a healthier, sustainable lifestyle for the long haul. Keep moving forward, and don't lose sight of how far you've come.

how to keep weight off

Paul Clutterbuck

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