I've lost 120 pounds — here are 5 ways I plan to keep it off

Jennifer StillThe author, before and after her weight loss.
  • I’ve lost more than 120 pounds throughout my weight-loss journey.
  • To further reach my weight-loss goals, I will continue to track my calories and continue to exercise.
  • I will also be especially careful with the foods that made me obese in the first place.

Over the past year, I’ve lost more than 120 pounds and I have about 20 more to go until I reach my goal weight. It’s been one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done in my life, not least because it’s transformed my health and given me a new lease on life. My risk of developing all the obesity-related diseases that are so prevalent in my family – diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure – has dramatically reduced and I’m fitter and happier than ever.

While shedding the pounds certainly took determination, effort, and commitment, it hasn’t actually felt that difficult. In fact, I’m convinced that maintaining my significant weight loss will be what takes the most effort. And there’s logic behind that thought.

Many others who have lost a significant amount of weight cite difficulties maintaining, some even saying it was harder than losing. Some research has also found evidence that your body prompts you to eat more for every pound you lose, which can often cause weight gain.

With all that said, I still plan on working to maintain my weight loss. Here’s how.

I’m continuing to track my calories and macro

I accomplished the bulk of my weight loss on a ketogenic diet, keeping my daily carbohydrate intake under 20 grams net (that’s carbohydrates minus fibre). I tracked this as well as my general caloric intake via MyFitnessPal, which has worked really well. Although I’ve been considering transitioning to a slightly less strict approach, I also know that I feel and function better when I stay away from complex carbs and simple sugars.

Read more:9 things about the keto diet I wish I’d known before starting it

Whatever way of eating I do adopt long-term, I still plan on using calorie and macro-tracking to ensure that I’m on the right path to continued success. I have a pretty good instinct now for portion sizes and whatnot but having it tracked specifically is really helpful to me.

I’m maintaining/upping my fitness

Jennifer still OMADJennifer StillI want to continue to push myself harder.

Working out at the gym four to five times a week has been part of my routine for the past year and it’s not something I plan on stopping now that I’m nearing my goal weight. Although it’s true that you can’t out-exercise a bad diet, the hardcore cardio sessions and weight training I’ve done over the past year have certainly accelerated my weight loss and helped me achieve greater results in combination with a pretty hefty calorie deficit.

I’m upping my calorie intake as I go into maintenance mode but I’m definitely not slowing down on the workouts. If anything, I want to continue to push myself harder and further to increase my fitness and meet my goals in that arena. Doing so will simultaneously help ensure I’m able to maintain my weight loss despite the fact that I’m eating a bit more.

I’m weighing myself regularly

For the bulk of my weight-loss journey, I’ve weighed myself pretty much on a daily basis. I made sure not to get too distressed over a random pound or two gain here and there – water weight is real and happens to everyone – but it was important for me to keep a regular eye on my progress to know when I needed to make adjustments and to remind me that I was on the right track.

While I no longer need to weigh myself on a daily basis, I plan to do so regularly for the foreseeable future, likely on a weekly basis. Doing this will ensure that I’m not regaining weight and can again let me know if I need to rein it in a bit.

I’m being careful with certain foods that can be triggering to me

Doughnut towerBrad Gleenlee/ FlickrI know doughnuts are a trigger.

Although I happily allow myself the occasional treat on birthdays and special occasions, I’m not prepared to consume a lot of junk food just because I now have a healthy BMI (body mass index). In fact, I’m even more careful with foods that I know trigger my bingeing impulses like doughnuts, candy, and other sugary snacks.

That’s not to say I’ll never have them but that I try to be aware of what I’m eating and how much so that I don’t go overboard. This mindfulness will serve me well long-term, I’m sure.

I’m keeping the same level of determination I’ve always had

Just because I’m close to reaching my weight loss goal doesn’t mean I’m suddenly less determined or becoming complacent. In fact, I’m more determined than ever to maintain the loss and to continue working hard to become fitter, stronger, and healthier for the rest of my life.

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