Ok so I have reached my goal but now what do I do? Any maintainers out there who could give me some advice please?

I was so pleased to reach my goal as it has taken me a few years of losing a bit, gaining a bit before I finally stuck to a plan and had a more consistent downward trend. I have felt a bit strange for the last few days! Do I carry on counting calories? Do I just stick to the lower portions and healthier options I have trained myself to have over the last 5 months? I don't really want to spend my life writing down what I eat every day but sooooo don't want to put the weight back on. I have worked out my maintenance calorie limit and have been struggling to not eat naughty things with the extra calories I can have each day now. I seem to have put on three quarters of a pound already but I guess that could just be the extra weight of the extra food in my body. I wonder if you lovely people could give me any advice and ideas of the best way to go about keeping the weight off. Many thanks.


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30 Replies

  • Hi, first of all congratulations on reaching your goal! I can imagine that all you are saying is how I will feel when I get there. I know how easy it is to have too many calories if you don't measure and weigh everything, I've tested it by spooning out rice, spaghetti, potatoes thinking that was my portion, then weighing it and it's always been more than I thought! Not being in your position yet I can't really offer any good advice but have you tried typing in 'maintaining' in the search box and seeing what comes up, you may pick up some tips by reading previous posts.

  • Hi Caz28. I agree with you about portion size and always weigh mine as guessing always went over the weight. I will type in maintaining and see what I can find. Thanks for your reply.

  • Hi, if you read week 12 of the plan, they give advise about keeping your weight. the daily allowance for female is 2000kcal, for male 2500 kcal. If I were you, I'd carry on counting, I underastand it's boring but it helps to stay on track. Then if you want to eat more, just be more active. so you won't feel guilty if you overeat.

  • Hi teresina08. I have used a couple of maintenance calorie calculators and they have given me about 1800 for my height, age, activity level etc. So maybe I will start at that and then go up to the 2000 if I am still maintaining. I agree with you that carrying on counting will keep me on track. Many thanks for your reply.

  • Hi muffintop67 - well done getting to the maintaining level! That is fantastic!

    I am just at the same point, having finally got to where I want to be - and like you I had to write down everything I eat every day (I keep a notebook just for my "input" and also write down how many steps I do, aiming for about 8,000 - 10,000 steps a day). I have found so far that I need to keep to about 1500 calories a day to get to this target weight, but am going to experiment with another hundred calories a day to see what happens! If I increase weight I'll just have to drop down again I guess.

    As I have only just got there, I am still writing down what I eat and will keep doing it until my healthier eating is an automatic habit.

    Look forward to your progress and hearing how you maintain your goal.

    We can do this! :)


  • Hi Nelliecat4. Well done for getting to your goal too. I have just got on the scales again this morning (always been a daily weigher) and put on another .25 of a pound. So I am a pound heavier already since Monday morning. I have found in the past that it can take a few weeks for your weight to stabilise as obviously you have more food going through your digestive system. My thoughts are this morning that if I want to try to maintain at about 10 stone then maybe I should lose another 2 or 3 pounds so that when my body adjusts to the higher level of calories I will still be 10 stone not over. Am I making sense?

  • Yes I do think that makes sense - my goal was to get to 9 stone 2 lbs, and I have ended up at anything between 9 stone 0 lbs and 9 stone 4 lbs - I got helpful advice from others in the group that a "range" was a better goal than a particular weight, if that makes sense! So I am happy if I am fluctuating between about 9 stone and 9 stone 4 lbs, and if I go over the higher weight I can take action.

    And I do fluctuate! (Don't we all...) Good idea to "keep a few pounds for headroom" and be happy to go up and down each week. It works for me - so far!

    I'll be interested to see how you get on, as I"m learning all the time too.


  • That is good to hear that you fluctuate but can stay within a range. I was just worried that I was going to go up and up more each day. I have just had to go out and buy some new clothes as my old summer clothes are now too big. (I dislike clothes shopping strangely!) I didn't want to not fit into them when we eventually get some sunny weather!!! I think I may try to lose another couple of pounds then set my level 2 pounds either side of the 10 stone. Otherwise a 4 pound range would put me at 10stone4 and I don't feel I want to go that far over. Thanks so much for your reply. I guess it is going to be a learning curve for me too :)

  • Sounds like a plan! Good luck, and keep us posted on how it goes - any tips on maintaining are always welcome :)

  • Excellent advice with the goal range instead of a particular number! I will try to remember that when I reach my goal.

  • Just want to say well done and good luck with maintaining.

    I think after all the hard work it probably makes sense to keep track of what you are eating.

    You have come so far and it would be annoying if the pounds started to creep back on without you being aware of it.

    I guess though that this process does help all of us to become more conscious of how we fuel our bodies!

    Have a good day! ☀️

  • Hi Seuzan. I know what you mean. I have been amazed at the calorie count of some of the foods I was eating before I decided to lose weight. I was at a friends house the other day and managed to resist a desert that she was serving (had fruit salad instead) and when I looked at the calorie count per portion it was 600 calories!!! That's a whole meal usually. So yes I have definitely decided to keep tracking what I am eating and see what happens. Thanks for your reply and hope you have a good day too :)

  • Whoop whoop 😊🎉😊 very well done muffintop67 you need a new name!!

    I have no advice I'm afraid just want to wish you luck 😊

  • Hi Anna61. Thanks for the whoops's and the pictures (can't seem to do that on my computer). I did think about changing my name but think I will keep it as a reminder that I do not want to go back to that stage again. I still have a bit of a muffin top but working hard with exercise to help reduce it more. Thank you for your reply :)

  • Hi Muffintop,

    I still have 10 kg or so to go before I reach my target. But your question is probably the trickiest one for the many of us who have spend our lives gaining and losing weight... I don't find it difficult to lose weight (actually I find it easy and strangely rewarding) - but very difficult to maintain - probably because there is no time limit to it.

    I think what the others have said is good advice. I would just add that you should continue to weigh yourself regularly, in the beginning I would stick to once a week. Real relapses are so discouraging so simply don't let them happen.

    In sum:

    - Find out what calorie limit will maintain your weight, by slowly increasing one week at a time

    - Keep calorie counting and weighing food until you have reached the point where you know your portion sizes (maybe never, but hopefully we will learn eventually)

    - Decide on an acceptable weight range rather than a specific weight

    - Weigh yourself regularly and correct immediately if you go over the higher weight in your range

    Anything we have forgotten?

  • Hi Iben. Thanks so much for all your great advice. I agree with you that losing the weight was actually quite rewarding and it was good to actually see that you were achieving something. I also think that keeping it off is much harder too! Thanks for your reply :)

  • Another vote for a weight range rather than a single number. Give yourself about 3-4lbs leeway. I stopped counting cals straightaway as I was so tired of it, but I kept making similar meal sets and stuck to certain portion sizes e.g. always 50g rice for dinners, 25g oats for my porridge etc. There was a point when I felt my weight creeping up again, quite recently. Just 3 days of following mfp at 1800 cals, pledging on here to do strength exercises etc, and giving myself a firm talking to about staying away from the wine bottle fixed that. So even if a few lbs do slip back on there's nothing to worry about. You've got the tools to fix it now. And gradually it'll all become second nature. Congratulations on reaching goal :) :)

  • Hi Ruth_canal_runner. Thanks so much for your advice. Its good to know that there is life after calorie counting.:)

  • There's definitely life after calorie counting - apart from those 3 days recently I haven't calorie counted since last September. I think staying on here and being accountable really helps. Also however good your intentions old habits may well try to creep back in. So stay vigilant, use common sense, and basically enjoy your new healthy life :)

  • Hi muffintop67, So pleased to learn you have made it to goal. That whooping sound is me dancing in the street!

    I have gotten to goal twice. The first time over a year ago for all of a week (or a day?). I gradually went up 10.5lbs till just after Christmas and had to make a real effort this year to get back down to my goal weight. I tried to do this by my anniversary, but didn't quite make it till a month later. So this time, I am trying to drop 5lbs below goal to give myself a 5lb range up to goal to play with. I am still hovering around the 5lbs around goal between minus 3lbs and 2lbs over. So I am going to focus for the rest of July to get there. I am going for under and up to goal because I will find that easier than hovering in the 10lbs around goal (5lbs over and 5 below), that is too flexible for me.

    My dieting friend who got to goal 3 years ago, does try to stay below goal. She has stopped counting unless she finds her weight too high, then she counts till she gets down to where she wants to be. I have noticed that her general approach is to stick to her successful meals. So she has standard breakfasts, lunches, dinners and suppers. This range of foods and meals are the ones she found most helpful when she was losing. She goes off plan when there are holidays or celebrations, and has her treats. But she still keeps to those good value treats and meals for the rest of the day/week.

    So learning from all of this, I have tended to go for the same breakfast of porridge made with water. I do vary the fruits I have with it. But I've found that with perhaps 1 day a week off, when I do a low fat version of the full English, this works. I do have a bigger range of lunches, but again, I vary them according to what the rest of the day brings. My dinners tend to be a small low fat protein serving with a big range of low carb veg. By sticking to the old diet rules for 80% of the time, I find I can go off plan for 20% and, on the whole, get away with it.

    I really don't want to have to lose those last 5lbs just above goal again. I have found they are the slowest to shift. So I am really trying to keep them out of my life! I'll be really interested to share your journey to balanced maintenance. I know it can be done, because I am watching friends do it. Though I suspect we will all be doing it slightly differently.


  • Thank you Venusflytrap. Your advice is great. I guess by sticking to standard meals it helps you keep on track without having to think too much about the calorie content. I struggled after Monday but have decided to keep counting the calories and to try to lose a few more pounds as a lower range under my goal weight. Sounds like that is a good plan. I know that these few pounds will probably be the hardest to shift but like you I would like to keep them off as I don't want to have to lose them again! Thanks again and it will be interesting to see how we all manage it. Hope you having a nice weekend :)

  • Hey muffintop what an inspiring post and well done.

    I have been sort of maintaining for the last 8 weeks, so hardly an expert. I thought initially that I would like to lose another stone but for now I am consolidating the loss, testing the water a bit with calories and offsetting with the increase in exercise. I guess we have to listen to our bodies and find what's best for us. I do weigh still every day and can choose to cut back if I've overstepped. For now I don't trust myself if I don't record what I've eaten but with time I'm hoping that will come too. It's like you say, you know the portion sizes and what you can eat from the programme but having those extra calories available it's easy to slip, those treats are always calorie loaded!

    I really wish you every success with your maintenance, just keep posting, even if it's a small gain it gives you some accountability. xx😀

  • Thank you so much for your reply. I agree with what you say and I guess it is just trial and error to find the balance. I will definitely keep weighing in on a Monday and keep on the forum to hopefully keep me on the straight and narrow. I wish you continued success too. Have a good week :)

  • Thanks very much, have a good week too🙋🏻

  • My top tip is to come here once a week, at the moment I am at the top end of my desired weight range however I have managed to maintain by sticking around so I weigh at least once a week, I have been at goal since September 2013, previously I would have had a holiday blow out and stopped weighing, now I put weight on but can manage it before it gets out of hand. I also have a size 8-12 wardrobe no 14's allowed apart from one Desigual coat (Spanish sizing is so small) 😜

  • Thanks for your reply Prin. Fantastic that you have been at goal since Sept 2013. I will definitely still weigh in each week. I have found that all my size 14's are too big now and have even bought a size 10 top! :)

  • A New wardrobe is the best therapy and great motivation. Once you've chucked out all those big close you won't watnt to go back to buy anything bigger.stick with Zest she will keep you on track. Well done again and good luck

  • Thanks Prin. It's funny as I really don't like clothes shopping normally as usually can't find anything to fit but recently I have found a few bits that I like and it has spurred me on to shop a bit more. Not sure I am brave enough to chuck out all the size 14's yet :)

  • Just noticed Muffintop67, that there are some new resources on the NHS Choices website - it's clearly just been updated in the last few days I think, as I didn't see these things prior to that, and here's a great bum blaster exercise - looks like it would help the core area too:


    Lowcal :-)

  • Oh my that looks hard. She looks far more flexible than me! Great that it is only 10 minutes though. Looks like there is a good 10 minute ab workout too. Thanks for the info Lowcal will give them a go :)

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