Maintaining What You've Got

So, you’ve achieved your goals. First of all, congratulations. It takes a lot of effort and commitment to reach your goals, and you should honestly feel proud about that. But what now? Well, I’m sorry to inform you, but if you want to maintain your achievement, then the effort, and certainly the commitment doesn’t stop there. You might want to slow down, but you don’t want to put it in reverse.

If we’re talking fitness, then maintaining that is simple enough. You just keep doing what you’re doing. If your goal was to lift a certain weight, you keep lifting that weight. If your goal was to run a certain distance, or run it in a certain time, you keep running that distance or time. The good thing about muscles is that they adapt pretty well, so you can train them to do a particular thing, and so long as you occasionally keep doing it or something similar, they’re not likely to (age withstanding) lose the ability to do it.

The nutrition side of it will require more work. Maintenance of these goals (weight or body size) is a bit more complicated, because it becomes quite trial and error, in my experience. It’s very likely that you don’t know anything about your energy balance, your daily calorific expenditure, and if you’re currently losing weight, it’s very likely because of a random number of calories you picked out of thin air. 1,750, 1,500, 1,250? Just hoping for the best. And even if you did know your daily expenditure of calories, once you’ve lost all that weight, that number will now be lower.

So, what do you do when you reach your target weight? Well, basically, you just start eating more calories until your weight stops falling. For most people, that’s going to be your only viable option. And when your weight starts to even out, then you have to assume you’re now eating roughly the same number of calories as you burn. And that would be maintenance. But how long this might take, I have no idea, that’s up to you. Personally, I’d give yourself a good few weeks on your new calorie intake to properly assess how it’s affecting your body, but really, that’s how you find out what your calories in versus your calories out are. You can guesstimate, and work from there, but it’ll still probably be trial and error for a while.

Maintenance is important, because there’s little point in working hard to achieve your goals, if you’re just going to go back to what you were doing before, and undo it all. And then the process probably starts again in a few years. It’s much easier, and much more sensible, to work on maintaining your success. Honestly, the hard work is getting there in the first place. See you next week.

Dan Miller

Body Fuel Personal Fitness Trainer