Fitness Tips

5 Things I Avoid to Maintain My 25 Pound Weight Loss

Anyone who’s lost a significant amount of weight knows one thing: keeping it off can be a struggle. Life gets hectic, and when times are tough, it’s easy to slip back into old bad habits and for the pounds to creep back on.

My weight used to fluctuate a lot when I was in my late twenties and early thirties. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I finally reached my goal weight and actually kept it off.

But I was only able to sustain long-term weight loss by avoiding these five things.

1. Alcohol

Look, I know this one sucks. Trust me, no one loved their daily five o’clock martini more than I did. (Which was usually more like two daily martinis…)

But alcohol is arguably the single-worst thing you can put in your body when it comes to losing and maintaining weight!

I refused to believe this for the longest time. Instead, I would exercise and count my calories, leaving room for a daily “alcohol budget.”

But it didn’t work because once you consume alcohol, your body has to drop everything else it’s doing to process it, including metabolizing fat.

To make matters worse, alcohol lowers your inhibitions, and you’ll find yourself binging on foods you normally have no trouble staying away from. (In my case, alcohol was almost always followed by a copious helping of Doritos.)

I’m not saying you can never drink alcohol, just limit it to a couple of drinks a week.

I know firsthand that if you’re used to drinking every day, it’s a tough ask. But once you make it through that first week without drinking, you stop thinking about it as much.

One strategy that really helped me was swapping my alcohol with a faux martini. I’d pour sparkling water into a martini glass with a squeeze of lemon. The bit of the fizziness while holding a martini glass tricked my mind into thinking I was having my regular drink.

After a week or two of this, I was able to take off the training wheels and stop thinking about alcohol.

When you do drink, stay away from mixed drinks or anything with a lot of sugar. Vodka, Red wine, and dark beers are your best bets.

2. Snacking

Years ago, snacking was my crutch, and in between breakfast and dinner, I’d snack constantly. I’d also snack after dinner, sometimes within an hour of going to bed.

Again, this really worked against me when it came to weight loss.

Some fitness gurus will tell you that eating multiple, small meals every day will help keep your metabolism stoked, but studies have proven this is not true. Even worse, it keeps your body in fat-storing mode because it’s constantly surging with insulin.

Snacking also makes it incredibly easy to overeat. A “bite or two” here and there throughout the day doesn’t seem like it would matter much, but those calories really add up by the end of the day.

To maintain my weight, I eat 3 large meals a day, and each meal is high enough in calories and protein that I can easily get to the next meal without feeling the need to snack.

I stop eating by 7 p.m. and fast for 16 hours before my next meal. It sounds like a long time, but your body gets used to it, and the fasting window helps your body burn fat and stabilize your blood sugar levels.

If intermittent fasting seems overwhelming, there are strategies you can implement to make it more manageable.

3. Rigid Diets

It’s easy to focus on the foods you should be eating instead of the ones you should avoid.

But when you’re constantly obsessing over avoiding certain foods, it makes it even more difficult to maintain your weight loss because you end up thinking about food all day long.

Instead of eliminating entire food groups or following ridiculous fad diets, my only rules are:

  1. Eat 80% whole, minimally processed foods (like fruits, grains, vegetables, dairy, and lean meats).
  2. Get enough protein (I aim for 15-20% of my total calorie intake)
  3. Don’t overeat (i.e., stay within my calorie budget.)

The best thing I ever did was give myself some wiggle room by adding healthy carbs into my diet. As long as I eat them in moderation, they don’t affect my weight.

My wiggle room is built into my daily calorie budget, so even if I do go over on calories or carbs for one meal, it doesn’t ruin everything else I’ve done throughout the day.

I don’t deny myself anything!

It’s amazing how much happier you are when you know you can have a sandwich.

4. Excessive Cardio

You’ve probably heard countless times that cardio is the best way to burn fat, but while cardio will give you great cardiovascular health, it’s not necessarily the best way to maintain weight loss.

For one thing, cardio increases the production of cortisol, a stress hormone that causes fat gain around your middle. So doing an hour of cardio every day can actually cause some unwanted fat storage.

Not to mention, too much cardio makes you freaking hungry all the time! (I’ll never forget the time I ate most of a large pizza by myself following a 10k race.)

Now I only do 1–2 cardio sessions a week and keep them under 30 minutes.

I do most of my cardio on the bike (it’s less impact than running), and if you’re short on time, 10 minutes of HIIT (high-intensity interval training) is just as effective!

Strength training makes up most of my workouts, which I do 3–4 days a week.

Strength training is ideal for weight maintenance because you’re promoting lean muscle mass. And the more muscle you have, the more energy your body burns while at rest, which means you can eat more without putting on fat!

5. Freaking Out Over Fluctuations

When you’re doing your best to maintain your weight loss, it can be frustrating when the numbers on your scale don’t stay consistent.

I totally get it! I used to panic any time I saw I’d gained two pounds, seemingly overnight.

I’d even freak out over “good” fluctuations (like gaining a pound or two of lean muscle.)

But in reality, it’s totally normal for your weight to fluctuate a few pounds up or down.

There are lots of factors that could be causing this, the most common being:

  • Sodium intake: Salt makes you retain water and causes the appearance of weight gain
  • Menstrual cycle: Women can gain 3–5 lbs during menstruation

So there’s no need to get worked up over small fluctuations and start crash dieting, which will only throw your body out of balance.

If you are doing everything right (eating smart, strength training, avoiding excessive cardio), then the numbers on the scale will remain consistent over the long term.

Final Thoughts

Avoiding these five things has helped me maintain my 25 lb weight loss for almost two years.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of things to avoid when it comes to successfully maintaining your weight loss. But following these rules have kept me from falling off the wagon!

Originally published on

Corrie Alexander is a former ISSA-certified personal trainer, home fitness advocate, and founder of The Fit Careerist. A proponent of personal growth and a self-proclaimed fitness app-junkie, Corrie shares tips and product reviews with the goal of helping others on their own fitness journey.

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