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Real Life Nutrition Questions Answered

Real Life Fitness Questions Answered

Emma Brown
Nutritionist

Janet Aylott
Nutritionist

Kelly Marshall
Fitness Consultant

Q.

Reached a plateau, help with maintaining for a while

I have not managed to lose any more weight for a long time and am having treats now, because I'm bored with dieting. Do you have any tips for keeping the weight the same from now on as I am 66 and resigned to this weight now? I have been a member for over a year, and do a lot of exercise all the time.

A.

Our expert says...

Hi,

Thanks for your email.

It's not uncommon after dieting for some time to reach a point where you are a little fed up with it, especially if you stop seeing the results you want on the scales. And likewise it's very common to reach a plateau after an extended period of weight loss. Our bodies also tend to reach a natural 'set point' where they can stay for a while - but that's not to say it's not possible to lose a little more weight.

If you would like to take a break from 'dieting' for a while and focus on maintaining your weight at its current level, that's no problem. I've included below some tips on maintaining post weight loss.

Finding the right calorie allowance for you

The first thing you'll need to do is change your profile details to 'maintain' weight instead of 'lose weight'. This will give you an appropriate calorie allowance for maintenance.

The calorie allowance the system gives you will be quite a jump from the allowance you're currently on, therefore we recommend increasing your calories gradually. Try increasing your daily allowance by 200 calories for the first week - and weigh-in as normal.

If you find that your weight has stayed the same, repeat this for another week. If you are staying the same weight, try increasing your daily allowance by a further 200 calories a day (so 400 extra a day from your weight loss target). Keep the discipline of your weekly weigh-in.

If you find you have gained weight, then reduce your calorie intake down again. It will be a matter of trial and error to find the right level for you, but over a few weeks, you will be able to gauge what is the right calorie allowance for you.

Set your upper limit

First rule of maintenance is to set yourself a 'ceiling weight' that you won't exceed. We usually recommend this is 4-5lbs above your goal weight. It is natural that your weight will fluctuate but if you have personal rule that when your weekly weigh-in hits this upper limit you will take immediate action, you can keep your weight in check. Switch to a weight loss plan straight away to lose the few pounds because if you watch the pounds, the stones will look after themselves.

Keep exercising

Exercise is so important for maintaining weight. Try to keep going with the increased activity level you've been doing while losing, and consciously look for ways to be more active and burn a few extra calories each day. It doesn't have to be a trip to the gym, just walking more, taking the stairs, getting off the bus a stop earlier.

Now you mentioned that you feel you're destined to stay at this weight, however this may not be the case. It could just be that your body has reached that natural plateau that comes with losing weight. However if after a while of maintaining, you feel you're ready to try losing a few extra pounds, here's some tips on getting started.

Re-set your calorie allowance

Change your profile back to lose weight, to set an appropriate calorie allowance for weight loss, and ensure you aim to stick within this target every day. It's important that you fill in your Food Diary every day when trying to lose weight, and ensure you are being 100% honest with what you are eating. We strongly recommend weighing foods initially to make sure you are selecting the right portion sizes. Also try to find the exact brand you ate rather than adding a non branded version. This is the only way to truly know if you're staying within your targets.

Exercise

You mentioned that you're very active, which is great. Sometimes when we reach a plateau in our weight loss and want to get things moving again, the best way to do this is through exercise. Even just trying something new, or increasing the intensity of out workouts a little can be the trigger that's needed to kick start weight loss again. So perhaps look into trying a new exercise class, or adding an extra walk to your exercise each week, to give your body that shock it needs.

I hope this helps to give you some tips on maintaining, but also how to kick start things again if you would like to. If you need any further guidance please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Best wishes

Janet

Disclaimer
You are advised to seek medical advice before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle with an aim of weight loss. This website and the content provided should not be used by persons under 18, by pregnant or nursing women, or individuals with any type of health condition, except under the direct supervision of a qualified medical professional. The information contained in these articles, and elsewhere on this website, is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only, and is not intended to replace, and does not constitute legal, professional, medical or healthcare advice or diagnosis and may not be used for such purposes. Continue...

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