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Preparing Yourself for the Weight-Loss Maintenance Phase

Posted Mar 15 2013 5:00am

It pays to get ready ahead of time for the final weight-loss phase. Don’t let maintaining your weight loss sneak up on you without preparing for it. If you don’t prepare, you will be in for lots of surprises that will test and perhaps sink your resolve.

Experience, especially good experience, makes a big difference here. Believe it or not, you can get some early experience with weight maintenance during the weight-loss phase. You can use diet cheats, weight-loss plateaus, and some of your very good weight-loss strategies to practice for the later weight-loss maintenance phase. 

A diet cheat, of course, is where you deviate from your diet, usually with a treat of something salty or some calorie-rich food (or candy). You could also cheat on a diet by eating seconds or eating too big a portion. In any case, a diet cheat gives you a chance to learn how to recover and get back to your diet or weight-loss regimen. This is exactly what you will have to do during the maintenance phase. You will have to know how to recover from eating too much at one meal or eating too much at the restaurant on Saturday and get back to your usual portion size or usual food. You might even have to compensate for overeating or eating fattening foods by eating less or eating differently for a meal or two or a day or two.

Weight-loss plateaus, which are a natural part of the weight-loss process, are another early opportunity to practice weight-loss maintenance and gain experience in what maintenance will be like. During a weight-loss plateau you’ve stopped losing weight. Your job then, for the time being, will be to keep your weight where it is and not gain more. You have your diet or eating plan to guide you, but you also need to keep your head. Weight-loss plateaus can wreak havoc with your confidence. They can make you terribly frustrated, or worried, or angry, or any of a lot of different powerful emotions that might throw you off your weight plateau, but in the wrong direction. 

During the losing weight phase, you most likely will have to deal with lots of different issues that could throw you off your weight-loss course. One of the major issues that you will strategize about time after time will be your own feelings, how they affect your eating and your dieting, and what to do about them. This is a task for everyone during the weight-loss phase: how to break the bond between emotion and food, and how to sustain your effort over time. In order to accomplish separating emotion from food and making a sustained effort, you will develop strategies that work for you. You can then keep these strategies and use them later during the weight-loss maintenance phase.

There you have it, opportunities to prepare for maintaining weight loss way before the weight-loss maintenance phase is upon you. Now it’s up to you to do the rest.


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