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Getting Bikini-Season Ready Part 3: Maintenance

Fitday Editor
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In the last part of the three-part series about getting your body bikini-season ready, we'll focus on perhaps the most important and often the most difficult part of any weight-loss or exercise plan--keeping the weight off for good. After you've worked so hard to lose those last few stubborn pounds, you don't want to revert back to old unhealthy habits. To keep that svelte new body looking great throughout bathing suit season and for years to come, all it takes is a little hard work and determination, and, of course, the right tools.

Become Accustomed to a Lower Calorie Intake

After losing weight, even a small amount, your smaller body requires fewer calories to maintain that weight compared to the higher number of calories it took to maintain your body weight when you were heavier. It seems a little unfair, doesn't it? You cut calories to drop weight and now you have to eat less overall just to maintain that weight. Don't worry--after a few weeks you'll feel more comfortable eating less, as long as you don't cut your calories too low.

woman grilling on beach.jpgAvoid Letting Your Portion Sizes Creep Back Up

After weight-loss success, people can get into trouble with backsliding, usually unintentionally. This often occurs when people start subconsciously eating larger portions again, and this usually happens gradually, which is why people don't recognize that it's happening at all. Keep portion sizes appropriate for what your body needs. If it helps, continue measuring your food to ensure you're consuming proper portion sizes. Use a food scale to be the most accurate, or utilize your measuring cups and measuring spoons--they can be used for more than just measuring ingredients while baking!

Switch Up Your Exercise Regimen

It's easy to get bored with the same old workout routine, and boredom can often lead to slacking off, and eventually, to throwing in the towel altogether. Be sure to incorporate new, fun, challenging exercises to prevent the workout blahs. Join an exciting new class at the gym, or try a new outdoor exercise such as hiking or biking. You'll stay motivated and train muscles that you may not have used much in previous exercises.

friends playing volleyball on a beach.jpgEnlist the Help of a Friend

We all need a little help from others now and then, and that's no different when it comes to your wellness goals. Studies have shown that one of the most important aspects of weight-loss success is having a strong social support system. Ask friends, coworkers and family members not to tempt you by pressuring you into eating high-calorie foods. Make everyone around you aware that you're making your health a priority. You can even delegate a person you trust to be your wellness accountability buddy. Ask them to keep an eye on you so that you don't start slipping up. Ask that they provide words of encouragement to keep you on track with your weight-maintenance goals.

The Bottom Line:

Continue the healthy habits that got you to your goal weight and avoid reverting back to your old routine.

Part 1: Your Diet

Part 2: The Exercise

Kari Hartel, RD, LD is a Registered Dietitian and freelance writer based out of St. Louis, MO. Kari is passionate about nutrition education and the prevention of chronic disease through a healthy diet and active lifestyle. Kari holds a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from Southeast Missouri State University and is committed to helping people lead healthy lives. She completed a yearlong dietetic internship at OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria, IL, where she worked with a multitude of clients and patients with complicated diagnoses. She planned, marketed, and implemented nutrition education programs and cooking demonstrations for the general public as well as for special populations, including patients with cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, obesity, and school-aged children. Contact Kari at [email protected].

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