Losing 22 lb. wasn’t easy. But maintaining my weight loss also isn’t easy. I’ve maintained my 22 lb. weight loss for almost an entire year now, but finding a healthy balance took time. I found that even though I had lost the weight I wanted, I still needed to work just as hard, if not harder, to keep it off and not let myself slide back into old, unhealthy habits. Over the past year, I’ve discovered a bunch of tips and tricks that have personally helped me maintain my weight loss.
- Meal prepping – Every Sunday, I spend about two hours meal prepping for the upcoming week. I boil eggs, wash fruit and lettuce, bake chicken, roast potatoes, sauté vegetables, and cook lean turkey – and those are just my staples. Sometimes I make pre-workout energizer trail mix balls, banana oat pancakes, lemon/lime/cucumber infused water, or other snacks. I find that during the week I eat so much healthier when I have my prepped food all set, plus making dinner takes a fraction of the time – I can just grab dinner, heat it up, and enjoy!
- Drinking water with breakfast – I drink at least 32 oz. of ice water with breakfast every morning. I find this helps me not only wake up, but keeps me feeling full, refreshed, and headache free. I usually drink ~100 oz. of water a day. Oftentimes, I make lemon/lime/cucumber infused water, like I mentioned above.
- No eating after dinner – I “close” the kitchen for myself after dinner. I am never hungry after dinner, though sometimes I get cravings to have a snack. So instead of heading to the pantry, I drink a can of sodium free lemon & lime seltzer – it does the trick!
- Bringing my own snacks to work – There are lots of delicious temptations at my job, and even though every once in a while it’s nice to treat myself, I try to avoid them on a regular basis. Instead, I bring my own snacks so I’m not tempted. My snacks include an apple for the morning, and a Lärabar for the afternoon drive home (because they contain nuts).
- I eat when my students eat – I’ve found that if I don’t eat my snacks when my students eat their snacks, I tend to pick at whatever they’re eating. To avoid this, I time it so I eat my apple at around 9:45am when my students have morning snack, and I eat my Lärabar as soon as I leave work in the afternoon.
- Not cutting out food groups – Something I learned while losing weight was how to balance all the food groups, and make sure I was getting enough of everything. I am cautious about how much of everything I eat, but aim to hit all food groups daily. For instance, I eat a majority of my carbs with breakfast so I can burn them off all day, and so I can use the energy for my afternoon workout. I eat lots of protein and vegetables during lunch and dinner so I feel full. Sometimes I snack on 1/4 cup unsalted almonds or include avocado in my dinner – both of these being sources of healthy fat. The only thing I’ve ever cut out completely was refined sugar for Lent earlier this year. I was successful and it actually wasn’t that hard! I am planning to do this again in June for a couple weeks, and later this summer for a whole month.
- Allowing myself small indulgences – Don’t let this post fool you – I DEFINITELY treat myself! (Where to start…cereal, cookies, wings…) Honestly, treating myself to small indulgences is something I’ve had to work on since I began losing weight in January 2015. How much is too much? If I have a slice of cake at work have I completely ruined my day? If I had an indulgent weekend have I completely backtracked and lost all my progress? If possible, I try to plan ahead about when I’m going to treat myself so I feel it’s well earned and not a spur of the moment kind of thing.
- Exercise – Exercise has been a huge factor in my life over the past few years. It’s helped me deal with my brother’s passing, and of course contributed to my weight loss. Sometimes when I’m feeling stressed or anxious, and honestly all I want to do is snack on unhealthy food, going for a run, lifting weights, or even taking a walk can completely turn my mood around.
- Weighing myself on a weekly basis – I weigh myself once a week. Same time. Same place. I limit it to once a week because fluctuations happen, and those aren’t anything to worry about. Weighing in and recording the number helps me stay on track.
- Tracking my food and fitness progress on my Instagram account – I made an Instagram account (elizabeth_healthy_life) in February 2015 to help me stay accountable while losing weight and getting in better shape. It has become such a huge part of my life, and I absolutely love posting my meals and workouts, as well as checking in to see how other people are doing. Following others who have similar goals is so inspiring and helps me stay motivated on a daily basis.
What are some tips/tricks you use to stay on track?