Embarking on a fitness or weight loss journey can be very trying at times, and when you finally reach your goals, it feels like you’ve just finished the school year, meaning that you can finally relax and do nothing right? Wrong! You can’t just sit around now that you’ve achieved your goals because the state that you now have your body in isn’t permanent. Our bodies are dynamic and in constant flux, and you have to act accordingly. So what are you supposed to do to make sure that your body stays in the state you want it to?
1. Maintain the mindset you’ve had throughout your entire journey
Chances are, you’re really feelin’ yourself now that you’ve reached your goals, and you’re going to want to celebrate and flaunt what you’ve got. By all means flaunt and celebrate, you deserve to! But don’t lose sight of everything you’ve done to get where you’re at. You’ll still need to maintain a healthy exercise regime as well as a healthy diet.
2. Adjust your diet
If your goal was to lose weight, you probably had a calorie deficient diet. Unless you have another goal to lose more weight down the road, you’ll need to adjust your caloric intake to maintain the weight that you’re currently at. Calorie Control Council has a great way for you to determine how many calories you’ll need to take in daily to either lose or maintain your current weight based on your height, weight, age, and activity level.
3. Adjust your exercise regime
If your goal was weight loss, you probably focused on a lot of cardio as well as some strength training. Now that you’ve burned off some fat, you don’t necessarily have to structure your workout to be a strict amount of cardio or a strict amount of strength training; mix it up a bit! According to the CDC, in order to maintain your current weight you should be getting in either 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise (such as light yard work or casually biking) or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic exercise (such as swimming laps or jump roping) per week. During moderate intensity exercise, you should notice faster breathing and a higher heart rate, but should be able to carry on a conversation, while with vigorous intensity exercise, you should be breathing too heavily to be able to hold a conversation, and your heart rate will be significantly increased.
If your goal was to get your muscles more toned, you should still continue lifting to keep them toned, but you might not need to increase the weight unless you want to build more muscle or unless you’re cutting your lifting sessions to fewer times per week.
Try finding some fun physical activities that you thoroughly enjoy besides going to the gym so that you don’t start to feel like going to the gym is a chore. Some fun physical activities to help you mix up your workouts are biking, hiking, and swimming. Make sure the fun physical activities that you choose really put your muscles to work. If you don’t use them, you WILL lose them.
4. Moderate your guilty pleasures
You can still have all of your favorite foods. Let me repeat that. You CAN still have your favorite foods! Banning foods that aren’t as healthy for you isn’t very productive because eventually you’ll end up binging. Keep a small amount of these foods available to you at home and enjoy small portions of them. That being said, if there are foods that you know you won’t be able to moderate because they’re just that good, don’t keep those foods in the house. Instead, treat yourself to that specific food sometimes when you’re out. You’ll be less likely to inhale ten cupcakes in public than you would in the privacy of your own home.
There will be rough patches, holidays and parties will get in the way, and there will be times that you skip a workout or two or won’t eat as well as you should, and that’s okay. We all fall down sometimes, but what matters is whether or not you choose to get back up and take steps to prevent yourself from falling down again. So combine all of this information and carry it with you. Stay focused on keeping your body where you want it to be, and if you do fall off the wagon, you can find comfort in knowing that you have all of the tools you need to get yourself right back on it.