One of the things I hear a lot after someone has lost a lot of weight is that they gained all their weight back. It’s a big fear for most people. They join a boot camp, join weight watchers/slimming world or do a competition and they reach all their goals, and a few months later they are right back to where they started – or worse.

I try to teach my clients about food choices and that if they work off the 80/20 rule (80% healthy food and 20% your food), and this seems to work. There is no point in trying to count each calorie all of the time as this could lead to issues with food and just make you miserable.

Whether you are in between trainers, boot camps or competitions, you can apply these same rules to your own life to make fitness a lifestyle instead of a phase, and make your new goal weight your new normal weight.

Here are 5 tips that can help you

1.Decide on your new ideal weight.

If you haven’t reached your goal yet, your ideal weight will be a lower weight. If you have reached your goal, your ideal maintenance weight should be your new weight . This weight is what determines whether you should be dieting (eating fewer calories than you are burning) or maintaining (eating the same amount of calories than your burning).

2.Set a new goal

Whether this is a race, a bikini or bodybuilding competition, a weight loss contest, a cruise or a photo shoot, you must put some kind of goal into place. Goals give your training purpose, and make it easier to say no to high-calorie foods and the temptation to skip a workout. My goal is to do a photo shoot in November (something which is completely out of comfort zone). Plus, I just feel a million times better in all my clothes!

3.Make a recovery plan

What do you do if you bounce a check or max out a credit card? Do you keep spending what you can’t afford? No. You start making a plan to pay it off and get back in the black. The same goes for dieting. As soon as you go over budget, you have to start paying it off because you can’t afford to eat that much anymore. This is when you step up your cardio (work off your past debt) and reduce your caloric budget (learn to be more frugal with your calories). This is just checks and balances – but you have to make a plan ahead of time. As soon as you get back to your ideal weight, you can afford to have a cheat meal, you can afford to skip a workout. But, until then, you have to stay disciplined and get your body back in control.

4.Cheats are treats

What I mean is, cheat meals should be a treat, not a habit. There are certain things I try to educate my clients on and this is food choices. What I mean by this is if I want to eat something that isn’t healthy or on plan, I tell them to go out for dinner. This makes them really think if they want it (which requires more planning and reduces the chance of impulse eating).

For instance, I will not buy ice cream. If I want ice cream, I’ll head out for it – but I’m not going to have something that available to me. Same goes with chips and other high-calorie snack foods. As soon as I bring them into the house, they can work their way into our daily lives. Then it becomes a unhealthy eating habit. I will continue to have limits on how much I eat out and how much I “treat” myself. And, I will continue to cook healthy, low-calorie meals and have low-calorie snacks at home.

5. Dont just stop

One of the biggest mistakes people make is doing a boot camp or competition and then taking “off”. They work hard for 3 month and then they stop completely. You should never be “off” – you are either in weight loss mode or maintenance mode. Why not try to keep your fat under control so you start your summer body a little further ahead than last year.

Stop right now and make a plan of how you plan to control your weight over the holidays so you don’t start behind where you are right now. If you fail to plan, then plan to fail. Planning is key to success!

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