Stage 7: Maintain Your Weight for Life

Congratulations! You have now reached the maintenance phase of the 20/20 Lifestyles meal plan! This means that you have completed all 7 of the stages, have added back all the food groups, and have reached your goal weight! So congratulations on all your hard work and success! Maintenance is all about continuing what you have learned through this process regarding exercise, and nutrition to successfully maintain your new weight for the rest of your life.

What does maintenance really look like? Well, a few things will change, but many of the principles regarding meal planning that you have learned through this process will remain the same. Protein and veggies will continue to compose the majority of your meals, and carbohydrates will always need a protein or a fat paired with them. Continue to eat every 3-4 hours and avoid skipping meals. Also, pre-planning meals and snacks will be a lifelong commitment. What will change is your recommended calorie range, and the flexibility within your plan. We increase your calories by either adding another snack to the day, or increasing the volume of calories at meals.

Calorie recommendations will vary from person to person, and will be based on your age, gender, height, weight and activity level. To learn your personalized calorie range to help you maintain your weight, connect with a 20/20 Lifestyles Registered Dietitian through our Ask an expert, or Weekly Dietitian Review features.  Our experts are here to help you create a customized plan for maintaining your weight!

Here are some key tips to help you stay successful!

• Meal track!

Just because the weight loss part of your journey is over, it doesn’t mean the meal tracking is. Meal tracking is, and will continue to be a key part of your lifestyle moving forward and essential for weight maintenance. Meal tracking will not only help you be aware of how many calories you are consuming, but also will help you keep a sense of accountability regarding your food intake.

Meal tracking can also be helpful to ensure you are meeting your daily protein recommendations. As you remember from previous stages, protein is essential for keeping you full and satiated through the day.  So familiarize yourself with the “nutrient summary” screen on your meal tracker to help you continue to meet your macronutrient goals.

• 90/10

90% of the time, your meal plan is business as usual. This means following your personalized maintenance calorie range provided by one of our experts and sticking to the lean protein, vegetables and 1-2 carbohydrate servings per meal structure. The other 10% refers to the instances where you choose to have a glass of wine with dinner, dessert, or another off plan item. We want you to enjoy these foods, but also to meal track them, and enjoy them in moderation. We run into trouble when an off plan meal turns into an off plan day, and so on. So know that 90/10 is a wonderful rule to both allow you to indulge in moderation, but also to keep your weight off!

• Weigh yourself weekly

Weighing yourself once weekly is a great way to maintain awareness and accountability with your weight.  Consistency is important with weighing, so use the same scale on the same day and same time each week. Also, since weight fluctuation is a normal part of daily life, weighing yourself daily is not recommended.

• Stay active!

Exercise is also going to be key for weight maintenance. Finding activities or sports you enjoy can be a great way to burn calories, relieve stress, and to have some fun as well!  Don’t be afraid to try something new either! Also as important, is continuing to monitor steps. Using a pedometer daily, and aiming for over 5000 steps a day, can help keep you active through the day when you are not doing structured exercise.

• Have a contingency plan!

Having a contingency plan refers to a situation where you may have gained a few of your pounds back, and want to refocus. To begin, establish a “red light number” or a weight that you don’t want to exceed. A good guideline for this is to use a weight 5 pounds above your lowest weight achieved during this process. If after your program you reach this “red light” weight, use this as cue to refocus your eating and exercise plan.

To help get back on track, make sure you are meal tracking fully! Get back into your exercise routine if it has decreased or deviated from your plan while you were in weight loss mode, and consider going back to stage 2 of the meal plan. For a refresher on stage 2, refer to the stage 2 video. Know that maintenance is a lifelong process, and don’t be afraid to go back to any previous stages at any time!

• Check in with the experts!

For continued accountability or guidance with meal planning, 20/20 Lifestyles Online has multiple features that allow you to connect with experts! The Weekly Dietitian Review feature will allow your 20/20 Lifestyles Online meal tracker to be reviewed by a Registered Dietitian on a weekly basis. This will help you stay accountable, but also give you expert advice regarding any modifications or tips needed.

The Ask an Expert feature allows you to text message one of our experts a question, and we will respond to you right away! For example, if you are at a restaurant, and deciding between two dishes and are not sure which is the healthier option, you can send a message to one of our Registered Dietitians, and you can receive the answer while still at the table! Remember, we are here to help you and support you as you continue to achieve your goals!

We hope this has given you some insight on to how to maintain your weight for the rest of your life! Congrats on all your hard work and putting your health first! We are excited for you to accomplish new goals, and hope these new lifestyle changes stay with you forever!

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