How to Maintain your Weight

This is sort of a spin off from “How Skinny People Stay Skinny”.   In that post I had a survey of questions that were asked to people who are and who stay “skinny” or at a healthy weight for their body (I guess skinny is quite the relative term, so let’s move away from that term and focus on being at a healthy weight for our own unique bodies!)

In this post I want to talk about what personally works for me and how I maintain my weight to help others who are still trying to figure out the whole ‘maintenance’ thing.   It can be a hard concept to grasp, especially if you have been struggling with your weight.

My Happy Weight

I am 5’7 feet tall and weigh approximately 140lbs.  Like any woman, I do fluctuate, but never more than +/- 5lbs.  When I hit 145lbs, I can tell I’ve been eating too much and I can actually feel the extra weight.  When I dip below 135lbs,  I get cranky. 140lbs seems to be the happy place for me.

I’ve been this weight since I was 20 years old and have maintained it for 6 years.  Before I was 20, I didn’t frequently weigh myself (only at the doctor’s office) and so I don’t really know an exact amount that I weighed previously.  I do remember a particular time though that I had gone to the doctor for stomach problems when I was 19 and was 138lbs.  So I was still around the same ‘happy weight’.

Me with my family on my high school graduation day 2003

Me in October 2010 with family

Be Realistic with Your Body

With maintaining my weight, I stay realistic to MY body. I will never ever be a 5’11 super model or even come close to resembling Gisele.  This is a fact.  Unless I walk on stilts and lose an unhealthy amount of weight, I just won’t look like a super model.  And I am OK with that! I don’t peruse magazines and hope and pray I will one day wake up and look like an image that I see.  I work with MY body and feeling the best in MY skin.

Gisele

Gisele is certainly a beautiful woman.  But it’s not my goal to resemble her.  I can only be the best ME.

If I want to improve upon what my body looks like, I need to be realistic.  To wish I could look like someone who I can’t is a waste of time.

You also need to think about what you are personally going to be able to maintain.  I know that I love to eat.  Eating is a part of my life I truly enjoy.  I know that I can eat pretty freely (with my current activity level) at the weight I am at and maintain it just fine.  I don’t want to eat less and I know that!  Because I am not willing to give up my current eating lifestyle, I don’t have a goal of weight loss at this point in my life.

Start the Day of Right

I’ve always been a breakfast eater.  For as long as I can remember, eating is one of the first things I do when I wake up.

I try and start my day off by eating healthy.  I want to feel good before I start my day.   I try to fill my first meal with a lot of fiber (usually from cereal, oatmeal or whole wheat toast or wraps).   Fiber keeps me full and satisfied and by eating high fiber it also keeps me ‘regular’ which helps with feeling good in the stomach area 😉

I also include some sort of fruit or vegetable in my first meal.  It’s easier for me to get my fruit and veggies in during the early hours of the day.  Knowing this, I try to incorporate em’ first thing to start my day off on the right foot.

Eating breakfast helps me have better control of my appetite through out the day.

Snacking

I am an avid snacker!  Throughout the day I typically have 1-2 snacks, depending on the size of my meals.   Snacks keep my blood sugar stable and allow me to remain satisfied throughout the day without getting that ‘starving’ feeling where I want to consume anything and everything in my pantry.

For snacks, I like to have a combination of healthy, high fiber carbs, protein and fat.   An example that I eat often would be a whole wheat tortilla with peanut butter.

Eating Enough

To maintain your weight, you have to eat enough for you body.    Skimping on food throughout the day often can lead to over eating at night.  Having balanced meals throughout the day help balance out your hunger.  Eating the right amount of calories for your body and activity is also key.  This amount is different for everyone.   I typically eat 2000+ calories a day, depending on how active I am.   On days when I teach 2 cardio classes I am typically hungrier and eat more. The key is not restricting at any point during your day and honoring your hunger.

Eating the right kinds of foods

I’m an advocate for not putting labels on food (such as ‘good’ or ‘bad’).  I believe having a well rounded diet is key, including a variety of foods.  But to maintain my weight, I do put a lot of focus on eating foods with a high nutritional value.

I make it a point to eat enough fiber,  to include lean proteins, vegetables, fruits,  dairy, and fat in my diet daily.   I don’t force myself to eat anything though.  All of the food I eat I enjoy.  But I do put effort into making sure I am getting in enough of the more nutritional stuff before I eat anything that just simply tastes good (like cookies).

Allow yourself to eat what you want

I eat anything I want.   But in my previous point above, I make the effort to eat the more nutritious stuff first.   I feel better physically and mentally.  I have more energy.  So for the most part, I pick the more healthier options for my meals.

But sometimes I don’t.  Sometimes I really want to eat 4 slices of pizza or eat a Dairy Queen Blizzard.  And I allow myself this! It’s just not on a regular basis.  The more you allow yourself to eat what you want, the less you see that food as ‘forbidden’ and the less you crave it.

Be aware of your body

I don’t think anyone should weigh themselves daily and certainly not more then once per day.  That is obsessive in my opinion.  But I do think people should be aware in some way of their body size in regards to health.

For me it means weighing myself once per week.  Typically it’s a Wednesday first thing in the morning.  It keeps me in check.   Today I weighed in at 141.2 lbs.  If the scale is not your thing, then have a pair of pants that fit you at your ‘healthy’ weight and use that as a gauge.  Or take pictures.  Do what works for you.

Plan

I pack my lunch every night before bed.   I plan out healthy snacks and meals that I can take to work. I even bring a variety of things so that I have choices, as sometimes my cravings change.  I don’t have the luxury of leaving my workplace to go out to eat, so I always rely on packing my lunch daily.  I have no excuse not to eat healthy at work!  Planning is key.

I also make sure my pantry, fridge and freezer are stocked with healthy foods so I can easily whip up a healthy dinner.   I keep lean meats in the freezer, whole grain products in the pantry, and plenty of canned and frozen goods.  I don’t go crazy with the meal planning, but I do put some thought and effort into it.

Exercise

I think exercise is a big reason I maintain my weight.  I am very active and have been regularly working out since I was around 17 or 18.  It’s a habit in my life and something I crave and enjoy doing.  It does allow me to have some wiggle room with eating and I do eat more when I work out.

Listen to your hunger

I think that as we age, we lose our sense of hunger.  We’re born knowing when to eat and when to stop.   As we grow older we’re faced with a lot more issues in life and begin turning to things for comfort.  Food being one of them for a lot of people.  It’s important to get back in tune with your body and really listen.  I’m not perfect at all and still eat just because something tastes good. But it’s not a habit that I do daily.  I’m ok with eating just to eat on occasion.  The holidays are a big example of that.  I love to eat and relax!  But the take home message is to make this something you do rarely and not daily.   And realize it’s ok to eat for other reasons other then hunger sometimes.

You are more than your body

I think one of the main reasons I maintain my weight is because I am not striving for perfection.  I am not striving for a body that is unattainable for me.   I’m simply striving to maintain my health, but not to the point of obsession.  We are more than our bodies and when I take time each day to think about that, I don’t obsess over my looks. I’m then able to put my focus onto other things that are important in my life like striving to be a good and loving person rather than striving to have a perfect body (that doesn’t even exist!)

Question:

Do you have any tips for maintaining a healthy weight?

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23 responses to “How to Maintain your Weight

  1. I think you covered every single aspect of anything I could ever want to say. Great writeup.

    I think maintaing your weight should be easy and enjoyable. It allows you to eat plenty of healthy foods and some fun foods occassionaly as well.

  2. Exercise helps maintain weight (if that means keeping pounds on or off, either way) and it has SO MANY other great benefits, I’m sort of a cardio/kickboxing junkie myself, and it gives me so much energy and clears my head.
    I love this post, thank you!
    meri
    merigoesround.blogspot.com

  3. I’m in complete agreement with you on all things, but especially starting the day right, meal planning and eating the right foods. I can’t believe I used to think that 200 calories of mini eggs was equivalent to 200 calories of broccoli! Ugh!

    I also love how you say your focus is to be the best YOU. Five different people can be 5’7″ and 140 lbs and have entirely different body types, depending on where you carry it, right? You can’t focus on the numbers – you’ve got to focus on how your clothes fit and how you FEEL.

    Amazing post… thank you so much for taking the time to write it!

    • Right, numbers are just that- numbers. Knowing your actual body fat percentage is a better way to determine how healthy you are, as well as waist circumferance. Some people most definitely carry weight differently and look completey different from someone else who may be the same weight. A lot factors in: body shape, muscle, etc. We are more than the number!

  4. loved this post!! thankyou 🙂

  5. This was a great post! I LOVE “you are more than you body.” That’s something I think we all need to remember from time to time!

  6. I love how you said you just want to “be the best ME” I agree and it took me a long time to get to that point. I think that maintaining my weight came easier when I just didn’t look at every day as a day on a diet. I used to approach situations like parties and holidays with a defeatist attitude.Now I just look at any situation and aim to make the healthiest choices I can, and I don’t freak out if I don’t want to eat healthy all the time. This balance helps curb binging and by not binging regularly for the first time in years, I’m able to maintain my weight. (sorry so long!)

    • I agree, I have not binged in almost a year…and it was when I decided to take control of my life and stop putting so much time and effort into worrying about food and my physical appearance. To be honest, food is not a huge thought in my mind these days. I don’t agonize over ‘what to eat’…I just simply eat with a couple of things in mind: 1. What am I hungry for? and 2. How can I incorporate something healthy into a meal and still have it taste delicious. Sometimes I choose something very healthy and sometimes I just want something junky…but it balances out in the end if you don’t deny yourself and eat what you really want.

  7. ❤ it! I am the same height as you and I am trying to get to 130, but I totally agree with the happy weight concept. I think, If I get to 130 what will I have to do to stay there, BUT I know if I get there and maintain it and develop the habit of eating the right foods, of course having my cheat days, I will be ok and it will eventually be a happy weight. Not sure if that makes sense.
    It sucks to be a girl sometimes, lol!

    • Makes sense! You are exactly right: You have to eat in a way that allows you to maintain your weight. If I wanted to drop weight, I’d have to form new habits that I would continue on as a lifestyle, just as you are doing now. That is the key! Making lifestyle habits, not ‘dieting’.

  8. Lindsey, I read a lot of fitness and wellness blogs. Out of all of them, you always seem to have the best mindset of what it truly means to be a healthy individual. Thank you for sharing with all of us and for personally reminding me that it isn’t all about numbers on the scale.

  9. Love this post! I have such a hard time with feeling comfortable in my own skin. I feel the need to compae myself to others and at times, it can be an impossible standard. I am just now starting to like myself for who I am. I have never really been at a truly “happy” weight. I can say that when you get to your “happy weight,” weighing yourself should be a rare thing because people get too caught up in the numbers. Even though I am trying to lose weight, I have decided not to use a scale for a while. I’d like to see how my clothes fit by whether I should be at maintenance mode or not. I think the lack of scale is helping me to like myself again.

  10. Get enough sleep!

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