How to Maintain Ideal Body Weight

Three Parts:Finding Your Ideal WeightMaintaining Ideal WeightStaying Motivated

Achieving and maintaining the ideal body weight takes some commitment, but has important benefits for your overall health. Data indicates that 34.9% of American adults are obese and 68.6% are obese or overweight.[1] By determining your Body Mass Index (known as BMI or the standard used to judge whether a person is at an ideal weight or overweight), and your Basal Metabolic Rate (termed BMR or the number of calories your body needs on a daily basis), you can assess how much you need to eat and exercise to reach and maintain the healthiest weight for your body. By knowing your numbers and maintaining a fit lifestyle, you can keep your weight within a healthy range, avoid disease, and improve your overall quality of life.

Part 1
Finding Your Ideal Weight

  1. Image titled Maintain Ideal Body Weight Step 1
    Determine your ideal weight. To determine what your healthiest weight is, you’ll want to calculate both your Body Mass Index (BMI) and your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). Your BMI is a better indication of your ideal weight compared to an actual number on the scale and takes into consideration your height and weight.[2] Knowing what your optimal BMI is can help you lose weight, or maintain your ideal weight.[3]Your BMR determines the amount of calories your body needs to function while at rest, and knowing your numbers can help you ensure that you are not eating too many calories.
    • To calculate your BMI, you’ll want to divide your weight in kilograms by the square of your height in meters.[4] To calculate using pounds and inches, divide your weight in pounds by the square of your height in inches and multiply by a conversion factor of 703.[5]
    • There are several reliable online BMI calculators, including through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Mayo Clinic.[6] Once you know your BMI, you can compare it to what is a normal BMI for your age, height and gender.
    • To calculate your BMR, you’ll need to calculate the relationship between your weight, height, and age. For men, use the following equation: 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (years) + 5. For women, use: 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (years) – 161. You may also use an online calculator, such as the one available at the Mayo Clinic.[7]
  2. Image titled Maintain Ideal Body Weight Step 2
    Track your calories. Once you have determined your BMI and BMR, you’ll want to ensure you are not eating too many or too few calories. If you're eating more calories you're burning, you can either add workouts to your day, or cut back on the number of calories you eat. If you're burning more calories than you're eating, then you need to exercise less or eat more.
    • Count your calories. Make a note of what and how much you eat, and then look up the caloric value for those foods.[8] Add them up to see your total daily caloric intake.
    • Ensure that the calories you are eating come from nutritionally dense foods, including fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole-grain carbohydrates. Choose a variety of foods from each food group to ensure you are getting enough nutrients.[9] These foods will give you increased energy, added vitamins and minerals, and you can eat more of them, while staying within your daily caloric requirements.[10]
  3. Image titled Maintain Ideal Body Weight Step 3
    Shift the way you view food and exercise. Your ideal weight is linked to your emotions about food and exercise. View food as energy and as a path to achieve good health, have more energy, and improve your overall quality of life.[11] Exercise can help boost your mood, combat disease, and improve your energy levels.[12]
    • Using food as a coping mechanism can make you feel worse and derail heathy weight management. Find other ways to meet your emotional needs, such as getting a massage, a new outfit, or a fun activity. [13]
  4. Image titled Maintain Ideal Body Weight Step 4
    Make healthy changes. If you are above or below your ideal weight, make a realistic plan to achieve the outcome you want. Focus on taking small steps, such as eating five servings of fruits and vegetables a day.[14]
    • Track your achievements, exercise, and calories. Keeping a record can help you see patterns over time and allows you to make necessary adjustments.[15]
  5. Image titled Maintain Ideal Body Weight Step 5
    Develop an exercise regimen. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity per day, though you may need more depending on your goals for reaching your ideal body weight.[16]
    • Find exercises that you enjoy. Activities like swimming, gardening, walking, bike riding or dancing all count. These can be a fun and pleasant way to burn calories and stay fit, and you’ll be more likely to stick with your routine.[17]
  6. Image titled Maintain Ideal Body Weight Step 6
    Hydrate your body. Drinking enough liquids (especially water) is critical to maintaining overall health, but also may help you reach your ideal weight.[18]
    • Drinking water may increase how many calories your body burns for at least an hour.[19]
    • Staying well hydrated helps your muscles and heart work more efficiently.[20]

Part 2
Maintaining Ideal Weight

  1. Image titled Maintain Ideal Body Weight Step 7
    Be vigilant. People who are successful at maintaining their weight monitor their progress and step on the scale regularly.[21] If you note that your weight has gone up or down, you can take steps to remedy it, such as increasing or decreasing portion sizes or modifying your exercise routine.
    • Keep a health journal. Writing down your food and activity ensures that you are tracking how you are meeting your goals.[22]
  2. Image titled Maintain Ideal Body Weight Step 8
    Get enough rest. On average, the less people sleep, the more they weigh.[23] Sleeping enough hours per night is an easy way to maintain your ideal weight, while also being a key part of an overall healthy lifestyle.[24]
    • Most adults need 7 to 8 hours of good quality sleep on a regular schedule each night.[25]
    • When you are tired, you may be more likely to reward yourself with food. [26]
  3. Image titled Maintain Ideal Body Weight Step 9
    Stay active. Getting regularly physical activity will help you maintain your ideal weight, while also lowering your risk for diabetes, heart conditions, strokes, and certain cancers[27]
    • Staying sedentary harms your metabolism and makes you more likely to gain excess weight, even if you are not eating more.[28]
    • Simple changes can help you get more activity in your day such as taking the stairs, sitting less, parking your card further away, or taking a daily walk.[29]
  4. Image titled Maintain Ideal Body Weight Step 10
    Follow a consistent diet. Eating the same types of food each day is better than eating more on weekends, holidays, or other special occasions.[30]
    • Don’t skip meals. This can slow down your metabolism and you’ll burn fewer calories at rest.[31]
    • Keep healthy snacks on hand. You’ll stay satisfied without adding too many calories.[32]
  5. Image titled Maintain Ideal Body Weight Step 11
    Eat mindfully. Savoring each bite of your meal will help you feel satisfied and fuller longer.[33] Put your fork down between bites, chew slowly, and sit at a table to eat. These changes can help you become aware of physical hunger and satiety cues.[34]
    • Practice shopping smart at the grocery store. Plan ahead, bring a list, and avoid shopping while hungry.[35] This will help you choose healthy foods and avoid bringing home non-nutritious foods such as cookies or soda.
    • Cook healthy recipes at home. Restaurant food is often salty, fatty, and highly caloric. Preparing food in your own kitchen can help you develop healthy habits at meals and consume the right number of calories for your body.[36]
  6. Image titled Maintain Ideal Body Weight Step 12
    Don’t give up. There will inevitably be setbacks or interruptions to your routine, so be prepared. Weight maintenance is a long-term commitment.[37]
    • Make a plan if you know that your health routine for weight maintenance will be challenged or interrupted. Feeling like you are in control can help you overcome discouragement and keep you motivated.[38]

Part 3
Staying Motivated

  1. Image titled Maintain Ideal Body Weight Step 13
    Keep a positive body image in mind. Part of maintaining your body’s ideal weight is knowing what is realistic and attainable. View yourself as a whole person and appreciate all that your body can do, instead of focusing on physical faults.[39]
    • A negative body image can impede your weight goals and lead to other serious health consequences, such as developing eating disorders or mental health issues.[40]
    • Remember that health is more important than appearance. Drastic approaches to achieving an unrealistic weight are harmful to your emotional and physical health.[41]
  2. Image titled Maintain Ideal Body Weight Step 14
    Find a partner. Asking a friend or family member to partner with you on your health goals can help you stay accountable.[42] Social support is a key strategy in reaching and maintaining the weight that is best for your body.[43]
    • Choose a partner who shares the same goals for weight maintenance that you do, and have regular meetings.[44]
    • Online communities can be a great source of social support for maintaining weight loss. Seek out groups where you can share healthy eating and exercise tips.[45]
  3. Image titled Maintain Ideal Body Weight Step 15
    Take responsibility. Take an active role in managing your overall health.[46] Maintaining your ideal weight requires making good decisions and taking charge of your diet and fitness level.[47]
    • Stay accountable through keeping the big picture in mind, and setting permanent objectives for your weight and health.[48].
  4. Image titled Maintain Ideal Body Weight Step 16
    Get medical support. Keeping weight off after losing it is a tough task. Enlist your physician and other health professionals in helping you manage your weight.[49]
    • Have regular check-ups and discuss your weight with your doctor. He or she can advise you on healthy habits, and ensure that you don’t have any health problems that may make it more difficult for you to lose or maintain weight.[50]

Sources and Citations

Show more... (47)

Article Info

Categories: Maintaining Diets