American Council on Exercise by American Council on Exercise

Congratulations! Getting to your goal weight is a big accomplishment. Now, the next challenge is keeping it off. Maintaining a healthy weight requires an ongoing commitment to living a healthy lifestyle.

  1. Exercise about 1 hour each day (on average). This appears to be the #1 most important factor in keeping the weight off. Inviting a friend or family member to be your exercise partner can make workouts more enjoyable and keep you accountable.
  2. Eat a nutritious breakfast daily. This jump starts your metabolism, gives you fuel for the day, and makes it less likely that you will overeat later. 
  3. Eat a low-calorie, low-fat diet. Consistency is key. Making healthy food choices on a daily basis with occasional junk food is much better than overindulging on certain days of the week.
  4. Eat plenty of low-fat protein to help you feel full in between meals. 
  5. Weigh weekly. A weekly weigh-in allows you to track the trends without getting hung up on small daily ups and downs. Doing a waist measurement once a month is also a good way to track your progress. 
  6. 6.Watch less than 10 hours of TV per week and limit other sedentary activities such as web surfing and video games. When sitting, move your feet, shift in your seat, and tap your fingers. Even calories burned with small movements add up throughout the day.
  7. Activate your social network. Surrounding yourself with friends and family who can encourage you to keep up your healthy habits is incredibly important. 
  8. Create a healthy home environment. Keep fresh fruits and veggies within reach. If you purchase less-nutritious foods, buy only small portions and store them in hard-to-find places. And make sure to keep your gym bag near the door and home exercise equipment in plain view. Post reminders of why you want to be healthy in places that you look at often (bathroom mirror, car, refrigerator).
  9. Keep stress at bay. Times of increased stress put you at risk for backsliding to your old behaviors. Find ways to deal with stress that do not involve ditching your healthy lifestyle behaviors. 
  10. Reward yourself for staying on track but make sure to choose non-food rewards. Treat yourself to a spa service, a new clothing item, or something else you would enjoy for maintaining your goal weight each month. 

As with weight loss, there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy when it comes to weight maintenance. Pay attention to what does and doesn’t work for you and create your own strategies for keeping your weight down. 


Additional Resources

American Council on Exercise
National Weight Loss Registry 
Sciamanna, C.N., Kiernan, M., Rolls, B.J., Stuckey, H., Kephart, D., Miller, C.K. (2011). Practices associated with weight loss versus weight-loss maintenance results of a national survey. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 41(2), 159-66. 

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