Maintain My Weight

How to Maintain a Healthy Weight

Some of you who’ve followed my site for a long time my know this, but for others who don’t I’ll start this post by saying that I spent most of my adult life at least 30 pounds heavier than I am right now.  It’s true, and I’m including a random photo from many years ago as evidence.

BG

I didn’t grow up with healthy examples of food or exercise and so I had no idea how to approach either. Even worse, after I had my first baby I literally had no clue how to lose the weight because I didn’t understand how calories, fat, exercise or anything else worked. When I got pregnant with my second son I still hadn’t lost weight from the first and since I came from a long line of overweight people I was terrified that I was quickly going to become one of them. At the time I was dealing with postpartum depression and the ability to lose weight played a huge role in finding myself again. Once I learned how to eat and exercise so the weight stayed off it was really easy to do it after my third son was born. As of today I’ve maintained a size four for nearly five years (I was formerly a 10/12) and I thought I’d share my best tips for how I maintain my weight for those of you who might be interested.

Diet Vs Lifestyle: The best, biggest most important thing you need to know is also the toughest to adopt so we’re going to start with it. You can workout until you’re blue in the face and run a thousand miles a week. NONE of it matters if you aren’t eating well. Since we’re not talking about just losing weight, we’re talking about maintaining weight then this isn’t a DIET it’s a LIFESTYLE CHANGE. And sorry to go all tough love on you but this unfortunately doesn’t have an easy answer because losing weight isn’t easy. It is however, totally worth it so stop making excuses and start choosing yourself and your health over your cravings!

Food, Food, Food: When choosing what to eat I think that all depends on how your body reacts to different food. My best advice is to meet with a nutritionist or a doctor. If you cant do that, my second best advice is to think back to a diet that worked really well for you in the past and use it as a guideline. For instance, when I do high protein diets (like Adkins) I can lose weight really fast. If I try counting calories or drinking a shake I don’t see any results. So for my diet I keep that same idea. High protein, low sugar, lots of veggies. Also, I’ve done a ton of research about different snacks and meals that fit with this diet so I never run out of options or get bored. Lastly, as silly as it sounds, I eat the same thing over and over and over. Apparently there have been a lot of studies about people who maintain healthy weights and this is the thing most of them had in common. They found a handful of meals and snacks that fit their diet and they recycle them repeatedly. 

Set Yourself Up For Success: It’s easy to talk about high protein, low sugar but it’s tougher in practice. Because if you can’t tell from looking around this site, I LOVE to eat. So I treat dips, cookies, cakes, etc as splurges and I enjoy them when I can. The rest of the time, I don’t even let myself see it. Here’s an example of what I fill our fridge with which includes a lot of snacks and options for easy quick meals… as for the other things? I don’t even bring them in the house because I WILL eat them. 

Get a Move On: Once you’ve narrowed down your diet you have to figure out your exercise plan. For me, the greatest change in my body (and my mind for that matter) happened when I started running. If you had told me a few years ago that I would be training for a marathon I would have laughed in your face. But it turns out, running is an incredible exercise for me and I love the goal setting aspect and the time alone to zone out with my thoughts. The key though is that it’s a great exercise for me, that doesn’t mean it will work for you. Maybe you like ballet or Zumba, maybe you’re into kickboxing or swimming or cross fit. Whatever it is just figure out an activity you like to do and then do it… at least twice a week.

Get a Buddy: Once you find an exercise you like I can’t stress to you enough how great it is to have a workout buddy. My friend Eryn and I meet every Saturday morning for a run and so no matter what my week looks like or if I missed every other workout at least I reset myself on Saturday. I don’t ever skip Saturday because I wouldn’t want to let her down or miss out my time gossiping with her while we run. Get a buddy and you’ll get a guarantee of at least one workout a week!

Surround Yourself With Support: Have you ever tried to lose weight or start eating better and you find that your family or friends aren’t supportive? Sometimes it’s unintentional, like a spouse who loves to cook and inadvertently destroys your diet by offering you a plate for homemade nachos. Maybe it’s on purpose, a girlfriend who gives you grief because she misses going out to dinner and drinks with you like she used to. I call these people Trigger Friends because they often trigger bad behavior in us. It doesn’t mean they’re bad, it just means you shouldn’t hang out with them unless you’re fully prepared to stick to your guns (and your healthy new eating style) when you’re around them. 

Motivate Yourself: Last but not least, you’ve got to find your motivation. Maybe it’s the desire to run around with your kids without getting winded, maybe you want to be sexier for your spouse, maybe you want to get in shape for a big event this year or maybe you’re just tired of having the same old resolution to lose weight year after year. Whatever your motivation, you’ve got to find it and focus on it and wave it around like a flag. You’re going to need that motivation when you’re not feeling up for a trip to a gym or when faced with a plate of cookies at the office. You’ll need it when you backslide and eat half the Taco Bell menu or when you’re struggling not to use food as a coping mechanism when you’re stressed. You’re going to need it a lot, so sister you better darn well know what it is!  Remember, if something is important enough you’ll find a way, if it’s not, you’ll find an excuse. Good luck! xo, Rachel 

31 Responses to “Maintain My Weight”

  1. audrey

    Great article, all true. I definitely need to get back on track. Thank you for the great points you made.

    Reply
  2. Judith Kane

    Rachel–Two particular points resonated with me. The first one I have had to reconcile with myself, and that is that we have to view these changes in our eating as permanent and immutable. We are not on a diet–we are changing the way we live out lives. There is no beginning, finish line, and happily-ever-after. It is just the way we eat. Period. Every day, for the rest of our lives. Along with this is that there is no “bad” food and there is no “cheating.” All foods are ok–just that some must be in moderation we never dreamed possible. We will find there are some foods that are just too difficult to deal with moderately , and so we just don’t bring them into the house. i can not have pistachios in my home under any circumstance. I will eat every single last one, even the ones that are nearly impossible to open. Pistachios are good–if you can eat 12 or 15. 1200 or 1500 sounds good to me. So no-go!

    Your second point that resonated with me is the idea of eating the same thing. I belong to Weight Watchers, and fight with this–I like my predictability, and am not looking for variety to “keep it interesting.” I have my protein, frozen fruit, almond milk and flax seed smoothie every morning. I eat potatoes, rice, or pasta only twice or three times a week–my treat–but I put real butter on them and cherish every mouthful. I don’t like bitter greens and tend toward the much-maligned iceberg lettuce, but will top with two tomatoes and one whole cucumber. Like five times a week! This is ok! I’m losing weight, I’m not on a diet, and I could eat this way the rest of my life. I don’t generally like raw fruit, so that smoothie in the morning is PACKED with frozen fruit. I eat a TON of fish, but enjoy a juicy steak once every week or two. Not a huge one, but a really good one.

    Exercise remains a problem. I love it when I’m done, but hate starting it. Running is another circle of hell for me, but I adore swimming…it’s just getting to that pool. Opening the car door is the hardest part!

    A while back you wrote the most moving comment after you had just completed your first marathon or half-marathon, explaining why you had done it. You hit me right in the heart–you did it as a testament to the beautiful, strong, healthy body God had given you, and you rejoiced in that gift. Wow.

    Affectionately,
    Judith

    Reply
  3. Muyly

    I also suffer from post partum..im still battling it..getting better though! so proud of you!!

    Reply
  4. Genevieve Keith

    I think the most difficult part of staying in shape is keeping food in check. I agree with setting yourself up for success.

    Reply
  5. Deirdre

    The hardest part is not wanting to have a cheat snack or an adult beverage — both of which are just too high in sugar to be a part of my weight loss journey.

    Reply
  6. Therese

    “If something is important enough you’ll find a way, if it’s not, you’ll find an excuse.” Yup, I pretty much love that. I think I’ll hang it on my fridge AND pantry to keep me on track. Thanks for writing this. I’ve used many of these techniques in the past, but after a couple of years of slowly acquiring bad habits, plus having a baby, it is definitely time to refocus.

    Reply
    • Rachel Hollis

      Hi Anne,
      After my second baby it probably took me 9 months to a year to get the weight off. With my third son it was much fast (maybe 3 months) because I knew what to do. It’s really hard to lose it but once you figure out what to eat and how to exercise it’s so much easier than you think. ~RH

      Reply
  7. Diane

    HI Rachel

    what is a typcial menu for you in a day.
    i too have been putting the weight on and on and just cant find it in me anymore to get on track – i dont know why .
    i have tried everything – i am really inspired with your comments and am hoping after looking in your fridge what you could suggest 🙂

    thank you so mych

    PS i heard you on CJAD today with Barry Morgan.

    Reply
    • Rachel Hollis

      Hi Diane,
      Ok, I don’t know if this will work for you but my trick is that I eat a bunch of small meals all day long rather than three big ones. For breakfast I usually have oatmeal with fruit or (if I’m running that morning) toast with peanut butter. Then it’s a snack-a-thn… greek yogurt, almonds, string cheese, seed crackers. “Lunch” is usually a small piece of protein or tuna salad and small mixed salad. Afternoon snack is a brown rice cake with peanut butter. Dinner is protein and veggies and some of the brown rice or pasta the kids are having if I’m super hungry. I don’t tend to “cheat” on my diet because I stay full with snacks I like. =)

      Reply
  8. Denise

    I love your site!!! I am wondering what how you breakdown your protein, vegetable, fruit and dairy portions. I hope that makes sense. Also, if I am re-starting my running routine (yes, I have taken some time off, lol), how do you re-start and is there a regular routine that you recommend. Thanks again for all of your great information. 🙂

    Reply
    • Rachel Hollis

      Hi Denise,

      I should probably have some kind of a breakdown of what to eat when but I really don’t. I try and have my fruit in the morning because it’s sugar. If I eat rice or pasta I try and keep it small. All the other stuff: protein, dairy, veggies, nuts I just eat when I’m hungry. I’m never really having big meals (just lots of little snacks) so I haven’t thought much about the portions. Sorry I don’t have a better answer for you. As for running… go run what you can. Maybe it’s a quarter mile, maybe it’s three miles. Just set a slow pace and run until you can’t. Two days later go add a quarter mile to whatever you ran before. Two days later add another quarter mile. Do that until you build up a great base run… for me 6 miles is kind of my go-to exercise a couple times a week because the track near me is 3 miles around. When I’ve run it twice I’m set, so 6 miles is my regular run. Then on weekends I’ll do 9 or 12 just to push myself. But I got there by adding a quarter mile at a time. =)

      Reply
  9. Danielle

    The last quote in this post is my ALL TIME favorite quote. This really hit home. Thank you! I’ve just recently started slowly changing my lifestyle to be healthier and this is very inspiring and helpful!

    Reply
  10. Holly

    I love how you talk about choosing your health over your cravings. This is my hardest part! I have been doing well going to the gym and enjoying that part of my afternoon after work, but the cravings kill me (especially when going out to eat, which I love to do)! Mantras like that help me to focus on my goals and stay positive. I am adding that thought to my mantras about living a healthy life! Thanks!

    Reply
  11. Dani

    Rachel! I LOVE love LOOOOOOVE you and your site! This post was one of my top favs for sure as I am currently ‘in’ it. Our first son is just about 5 months old and I’m slowly getting my eating and exercise groove back. Woof! Learning to like, prepare and eat veggies is my biggest goal. Pre-baby, I’ve most recently been an 8/10 but always felt big. Seeing you transform yourself is so inspiring! Thanks for being so raw and real with your whole site. Chic is my happy place. And ps. I totally act as if the only reason we’re not friends is because we’ve never met. Ha!

    Reply
    • Rachel Hollis

      Hi Dani,

      Thanks for your note and congrats on your new little boy! So happy to hear that you like the post (and the site). I’m sure we’ll be fast friends if we ever meet in real life. 😉

      Reply
  12. Lisa

    Great article! Love your site. Tons of great information and I just really like your style!

    Reply
  13. Ryan

    Hi Rachel!!,

    My goal this year is to become a runner. I want to run so badly, but I don’t know where or how to start. I have a million excuses, for example… I live in Michigan and it’s cold outside! I have asthma and can’t breath (well this is the truth so not much of an excuse) and so many more. So my question to you is how did you start running? Did you walk, then run for 30 seconds then back to walking? I need help! Please share your runners secrets with me! My daughter tells me “Mom just run” bless her 9 yet old heart. It just doesn’t work that way.
    Thank you
    Ryan xoxo

    Reply
    • Rachel Hollis

      OK, my best advice is sign up for a race! Now, that sounds crazy if you’re not already a runner but it’s going to give you motivation and then you can develop a plan. I’d suggest you start with a 5K, they’re super easy to find. Choose one that supports a cause you love and it’ll be even more fun. Then you can find runners groups who are in your area. Yes, there are whole groups of people who meet weekly and run together. Look up a website called Team in Training (I’m fairly certain they’re all over the country) so you can find people to build up your pace with. Your daughter’s advice isn’t that far off… just run. It seems scary because you haven’t started but once you do, you’ll learn that it’s really just going out and trying. I started out by going, “Ok, today I’m going to try and run half a mile without stopping” and then once I did that I thought “Ok, now it’s a mile” and I just kept adding it up slowly but surely. Good luck!!

      Reply
  14. Diana H.

    It is important to share personal experiences with others for encouragement and growth. I like this site for that reason. Thanks for it all 🙂

    Reply
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