Right after you have reached your ideal weight comes a period of
time that presents its own challenges, because the most active and
directed phase of losing the weight is over. Here are some ideas: First,
instead of always thinking about how to stay away from the kinds of bad eating habits you once used in your life, try to concentrate on
positive things you have learned to do for yourself. At the same time,
don't be too rigid about what you can and can't do. Your newfound
freedom and comfort will not vanish on the spot just because you have a
Another good idea is to hold on to the feeling of being capable.
Remember, it is you who brought about this change. Your confidence will
continue to grow as you become more and more able to lead a good life
without using food or dieting to lean on in times of trouble. Of
course, you will not always be able to do this. If you feel quite able
to leave your old habits behind sometimes, but less able at other
times, be reassured that this is a natural process of behavioral change.
Here is something else that will be infinitely helpful to you. Ask
those around you for support when you need it—your life partner, your
parents, your children, your friends, your co-workers. You need helping
relationships, as we all do. You will find that most people are
flattered if you ask for their help and let them know how much they are
needed in your life.
Remember, as always, it is the food and the feelings, with the
feelings leading the way. So, maintaining weight-loss success really has to do
with how you handle feelings that come up as you navigate the
challenges and changes in your life: relationships, keeping up
self-esteem, achieving personal growth, pursuing your life goals.
Maintaining your new lower weight does not mean being constantly
watchful and totally in control. That is not a good way to live a free
kind of life. Rather, it is a matter of staying in touch with your
whole self and never cutting yourself off from your thoughts, fears,
hopes, aspirations, or from your feelings, good and bad. It means not
depriving yourself of the things you need: good food as nourishment and
enjoyment, good self-care, good feelings about yourself and what you