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How I maintain my weight loss after losing 70 lbs.
Back in 2019, after failing time and time again to lose the extra 70 lbs I gained after marriage and having my first baby, I finally did it. I lost all 70 lbs in 9 months! You can read more about my weight loss story and the one thing that worked for me after struggling for years here.
This post, on the other hand, is dedicated to one of the most asked follow up questions I get which is:
How do I maintain my weight loss after?
Well, it’s been 4 years and two more babies later and I can proudly say I have been able to keep it off! So now, let’s dive into how.
- How I finally lost 70 lbs after struggling for years
- My story: Emotional Eating – 145 lbs to 207 lbs
- What worked: A Tiered Calorie Restriction/Calorie Deficit
- How I maintain my weight loss after a low calorie diet:
- Do you still count calories to maintain your weight loss?
- So I saw the lowest you went was 1200 calories, once you hit your goal weight did you just stop counting calories? How did you not gain weight back going straight from 1200 calories a day to not counting at all?
- You had two more kids right after this, did you count calories during your other pregnancies and after delivery too?
- More Posts About My Weight Loss
How I finally lost 70 lbs after struggling for years
If you haven’t read my original post here, about the 1 simple thing that finally worked for me to lose 70 lbs after failing for years, here’s a recap:
My story: Emotional Eating – 145 lbs to 207 lbs
I was about 135-145 lbs all through high school and up until I married my husband. After a few months of marriage, thanks to the plethora of restaurant gift cards we received from our wedding, I had managed to gain 10 lbs leaving me around 155.
I didn’t think much of this because it’s normal for people to fluctuate 5-10 lbs but still this was the heaviest I had ever been. Then, after only six months of marriage we became pregnant with our first son.
Three months after he was born, we moved across the country from Utah to Kentucky leaving the only place I had ever known, all my family and all my friends, for my husband to attend law school and I would stay at home with our new baby. After moving, motherhood hit me hard.
I was only 20 years old, and I adored staying home with my son but all the extra elements of motherhood and being isolated from friends and family led me to a lot of emotional eating. I would eat, and eat, and eat all day long while at home with my son.
Before I knew it, one year later at my son’s first birthday I weighed 207 lbs.
Now this wasn’t about me being a certain number. It was more about the fact that my entire life had changed so rapidly from being married, to becoming a mom, to now being so far from anyone.
Childbirth does a number to your body. And it leaves you feeling like you aren’t familiar with it anymore. It just feels odd an new. Plus now you’re sharing your body with another human it’s not just yours anymore (I was breastfeeding).
So I felt like I don’t even know my body anymore, I’m sharing that body, and now with that amount of weight gain, my clothes no longer fit and I didn’t recognize myself in the mirror. I felt like I didn’t know who I was from an identity standpoint after motherhood, and the massive body shift made it worse. I just didn’t feel like me anymore.
This loss of self along with all the extra elements of motherhood, being isolated and away, and all at only 20 years old is what pushed the overeating and emotional eating more.
What worked: A Tiered Calorie Restriction/Calorie Deficit
I tried and failed pretty much every fad diet/weight loss method when I then became pregnant with my 2nd child. I gave up the weightloss attempts to focus on a healthy pregnancy, but hit rock bottom around 4 weeks away from my due date.
I knew I needed to do something NOW. And out of it I came up with this tiered calorie restriction (or calorie deficit), and it changed everything. You can read the full story and details on my tiered calorie restriction method here.
This method is the only thing that worked for me because it was simple and wasn’t as life-altering or restrictive as other weightloss methods.
Nine months later I was down to 137 lbs.
Not only did I feel like me again, but I felt somewhat in control of my life again.
That was back in 2019, and since then I’ve gone through 2 more pregnancies, and now 4 years later the weight has stayed off. After having two more kids, my weight has stayed around 140-145 which is my normal pre-baby/pre-marriage weight, and it actually hasn’t been hard!
How I maintain my weight loss after a low calorie diet:
Once I was at my goal weight and had lost all 70 lbs, I stopped counting calories (more on that later). I also stopped weighing myself every week.
What I do now:
Instead, I weigh myself about once a month (or twice a month if I feel like it), and if I’m within 5-10 lbs of my goal weight then I know I’m maintaining just fine.
Remember that your body fluctuates naturally between 5-10 lbs due to water weight, your period, stress, time of day, etc. For example, you can be 139 lbs right when you wake up and be 145 lbs that night after dinner. That’s totally normal, don’t stress.
But, when I do my monthly or bi-monthly weigh in, if I’m over by 10 lbs or more, I know it’s an indicator to take a look at my eating, activity level, and stress. I know it can be easy to fall back into bad habits (over eating/emotional eating for me) and seeing I’m up 10+ lbs in a month suggests I may have started to do so.
If that happens, here’s how I course correct.
How I course correct when I need to:
If I’m up 10 or more lbs, that’s a sign to me that I’ve possibly started the course to falling back into bad habits.
So if this happens I will count calories for a week or two setting my calorie limit high at 2000 or 1800 calories (since that is what my BMR is with my activity level set to 1-3x a week, or just under it). That way I stop any overeating or boredom snacking.
I will also look at my activity level and make sure I am active for at least 15 minutes 3x a week minimum (which is just a minimal activity level goal I have for myself in general). That may be as little as going for 15 minute mini walk 3x a week, or doing a quick 15 min workout video on Youtube, or as much as actually going to the gym 3x a week.
Going for a short 15 minute walk 3x week is something quick and easy I try to have as the bare minimum for my activity level. Just for my health overall not necessarily just to maintain my weight (My mom still plays volley ball, goes ziplining, horseback riding, hiking, surfing, etc. with us on vacations. I want to be able to do that with my adult children someday! Which is why I have that activity goal.). And it’s easy to do with my kids too which makes it even easier to fit into my schedule.
After doing this for a week or two my weight is usually all back in line and my habits are reinforced so I can go back to not counting since those eating and activity habits are back where I want them.
How often do you have to course correct?
One thing to note is that I only have to do this rarely.
Usually only during stressful times of the year like the holidays when my stress, multiplied by the plethora of gatherings surrounded by food is a recipe for destruction. Leaving me wanting to never leave my bed and eat an entire box of cookies, day in and day out.
But my normal eating habits are really good at maintaining my weight by itself. Especially when I try to maintain even a minimal standard activity level (remember those 3 mini walks a week?) and not just sit in my house 24/7.
Even when we have birthday weekends or vacations spent eating lots of food, my weight will stay between that 5-10 lbs of variance. So in all honesty, maintaining has been pretty easy!
Scroll to read some quicker answers of the most common questions I get regarding maintaining my 70 lb weight loss. Questions I’ll address:
- Do you still count calories to maintain your weight?
- I saw the lowest you went was 1200 calories, once you hit your goal weight did you just stop counting calories? How did you not gain weight back going straight from 1200 calories a day to not counting at all?
- You had two more kids right after this, did you count calories during your other pregnancies and after delivery too?
Do you still count calories to maintain your weight loss?
I do not count calories to maintain my weight.
To lose the weight I was counting calories, but after hitting my goal weight I stopped counting.
This is because my problem was that I had developed this unhealthy habit of emotional overeating.
I had been able to maintain my previous 135-145 lb weight all my life without much thought into what I ate before this. So I knew that my problem was the emotional overeating.
Once that habit was broken and my eating habits were back to what my old eating habits I didn’t have to count anymore and my weight would maintain like it always had before.
When I was at my heaviest I was eating massive portions of foods all day. I was also constantly snacking all day and even at night. But during my nine months of my tiered calorie restriction, I was able to get my portions back down to normal portion sizes (while actually feeling full afterward!). And I was also able to cut the feeling of needing to be constantly eating/eating at all hours of the day.
My problem was the unhealthy habits I had developed. Once those habits were broken, and I was able to get back to my normal eating habits from before I got married or had kids, I no longer had to count calories and my normal eating habits would maintain the weight loss.
So I saw the lowest you went was 1200 calories, once you hit your goal weight did you just stop counting calories? How did you not gain weight back going straight from 1200 calories a day to not counting at all?
Yes! I did just stop counting once I was at my goal weight.
After counting and tracking calories for so long (nine months) it becomes second nature. You’ve counted so many different foods that now you are pretty good at knowing the calorie counts off the top of your head and even just estimating an approximate calorie count for a meal. At the very least you know when a meal is a very high-calorie meal, or a lower-calorie one.
So when I stopped counting I still kept an eye on what I was eating. Knowing that if I kept my normal day-to-day calories around 2000-ish a day I would maintain my weight based on my BMR (remember I was losing weight at 1200 calories and now I was just looking to maintain).
BMR, if you remember from my original post, is essentially just the amount of calories your body burns by itself each day based on your age, height, weight, sex, and activity level. It can also be described as the amount of calories to eat each day to maintain your weight.
My body burns around 2000 a day on it’s own, so if I eat 2000 calories a day and I burn 2000 calories a day I will not gain or lose weight. I will just maintain.
So when I stopped counting I didn’t want to just add in 800 more calories a day overnight. So, that first week, I stopped counting calories and instead just kept an eye on what I was eating keeping a mental note of it all and adjusting accordingly.
For example, if I had a big higher-calorie lunch (like and In-N-Out burger and fries), I’d try to have a lighter lower-calorie dinner (like grilled chicken, veggies, and rice) and vice-versa.
Keep in mind I was used to eating 1200 at that point so the first few days of not counting I mentally went up to around 1600 calories (just estimating in my head, because remember after 9 months of counting you can do this very well!) by adding in an extra snack here or there or a bigger meal.
And then a few days after that finally went up to about 2000 calories. Again, not actually tracking just by eyeing it all.
Remember, at this point I’m used to eating a low-calorie count and eating low-calorie and healthier foods. I’m used to making those healthier decisions, I had been doing these things for months. They were second-nature habits at this point.
Because of this, simply stopping counting my calories didn’t immediately trigger me to eat a bunch of pizza, cake, and candy just because I could. I had better habits now. Plus my fridge and pantry were full of all my lower-calorie/healthier food so I just kept mostly eating what I was used to.
You had two more kids right after this, did you count calories during your other pregnancies and after delivery too?
Yes I did!
I originally started my 70 lb weight loss when I was pregnant with my second child (born in 2019) around 35 weeks. But after I had lost all the weight, I had 2 more kids immediately after. One in born in 2020 and one born in 2021.
I did not count calories for any of my pregnancies until I got about a month out from the delivery date (go read my original weight loss post all about it here.). Keeping that calorie count high so it would still support a healthy pregnancy but limit overeating.
I then dropped to 1800 calories after delivery, and so on until I was at my goal weight. Just like I did originally with my second child. This allowed me to only gain the necessary weight during pregnancy and quickly get back to my goal weight after.
Pregnancy is the hardest time for me food wise. If you’ve had a kid you understand the cravings mixed with the nausea and overall uncomfort.
This makes it an easy time for me to want to slip into bad habits of overeating and emotional eating. Which is why I do my calorie counting at the end and right after to make sure I get back to my good eating habits and don’t slip back again.
After each additional pregnancy, I only had about 20 lbs to lose after delivery which made the process super quick and my body responded quickly to it. I only had to do my tiered calorie diet for a couple months after and that’s it.
Now, we are done having kids and it’s been a year and a half since my 4th kid and I don’t count calories and it’s been great!
All in all, maintaining my weight loss after losing 70 lbs has required mindful choices, periodic course corrections, and a return to healthier habits. By listening to my body, monitoring my weight, and making adjustments when needed, I’ve been able to sustain my weight loss even through the challenges of motherhood and additional pregnancies.
It hasn’t always been easy, but the reward of feeling like myself again and living a healthier, more fulfilling life has made it all worthwhile.
More Posts About My Weight Loss
Here a few more posts I’ve written about my weightloss and health journey:
- The 1 Simple Thing That Finally Worked to Lose 70 Lbs After Failing for Years
- How to Count Calories to Lose Weight (I lost 70lbs!)
- 100+ Snacks That are 100 Calories or Less (Homemade and Store Bought!)
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