Guidance for Maintaining Weight
It's that day every dieter longs for - the day they reach their target weight! It is a great feeling when you reach that goal you've been working so hard for. However, often feelings of excitement are followed by feelings are fear, as it can be a daunting prospect adjusting to a maintenance programme after a long period of dieting. But worry not, with the help of your Food Diary you can make the switch from dieting to maintaining with ease.
Getting the balance right
It is perfectly possible to eat well and enjoy foods you love without regaining weight. It is all about balance - if you focus on eating healthily 80% of the time, you can afford a few treats and indulgences 20% of the time.
Some people take the approach of keeping a focus on their calorie intake and eating healthily during the week, and taking a more relaxed approach at the weekends. This is not to say you can go completely crazy at the weekend - moderation is still the key! But by using the Food Diary you can achieve this balance by checking the calorie values of foods you eat and countering this with your activity level using the Exercise Diary.
Finding the right level for you
To increase your calorie intake to your maintenance level overnight is bit of a jump. So the key is finding the right balance for you - and some trial and error does come into this. Try to gradually increase your calorie allowance to your maintenance level. So for the first week, add 200 - 250 calories a day. Keep the discipline of weighing in each week and recording your weight loss in your Progress Chart. If you are maintaining, then add a further 100 calories a day for the next week. Keep monitoring how the gradual calorie increase is working for you.
A really important factor is to also try to maintain the increased activity level you've been doing. Consciously looking 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 etc.
It may take a while for your body to adjust and you could discover that somewhere just above or just below the recommended calorie amount is right for you. However remember that your activity level has a big part to play - it's about balancing the energy in and energy out.
As you've no doubt discovered through your healthy eating regime to date, weight loss and maintenance is about eating smarter - not necessarily less volume of food - it just depends what it is. A few swaps here and there can save calories, which means you can still eat plenty of food if you 'spend' your allowance wisely. The Food Swap option in your Food Diary can help with this.
Remember to eat a good balance of the different food groups- make up about a 1/3 of your diet with fruit and veg, another 1/3 from complex carbs and the rest from lean meat or other protein sources, low fat dairy foods and the occasional treat! Swapping within food groups is a good way to reduce calories and fat in your diet.