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Maintaining Your New Weight

By Dietitian, Juliette Kellow BSc RD

Q: When you get to your healthy target weight, what’s the best way to maintain it? Should you increase your calorie intake all at once or by so many calories each day?

A: This is a really good question – and congratulations on hitting target, or at least almost being there. After weeks, months or even years of controlling your calorie intake, knowing what to do when you hit target can be scary but you can’t stick with your dieting calorie allowance forever.

While some successful slimmers prefer to immediately increase their calorie intake, others prefer to do it in steps. In many ways, this is a good idea as it helps you to concentrate on getting your extra calories by gradually increasing the portion sizes of the foods you’re already eating rather than suddenly adding in chocolate, crisps, booze and takeaways. I recommend this five-step plan to maintain your new healthier weight.

Five Step Plan

Step 1 Once you reach target, add 250 calories a day to your existing daily calorie intake. This means if you’ve been having 1,250 calories each day, you should now have 1,500 calories a day.

Step 2 After a week, weigh yourself on your usual scales. You’ll probably have lost a little more weight. If so, add another 250 calories to last week’s daily allowance. So, if you were having 1,500 calories a day, now have 1,750 calories daily.

Step 3 After a week, weigh yourself again. If you’ve lost more weight, add an extra 250 calories to your daily intake, for example from 1,750 calories to 2,000 calories each day.

Step 4 After a week, if your weight has stabilised that’s the amount of calories you need each day to keep your new slim shape. If you’ve gained a tiny amount, drop your daily calorie intake by 100 calories, for example, from 2,000 calories to 1,900 calories daily. After a week, weigh yourself again. If your weight has stayed the same, that’s the amount of calories you need each day for weight maintenance. If your weight has gone up or down, juggle your daily calorie intake by 50 calories a day until your weight eventually stabilises.

Step 5 Weigh yourself once a week on your usual scales until you are confident that you’re maintaining your healthy weight.

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