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We caught up with Karen 6 months after reaching her goal to see how she's getting on maintaining her new weight.

How easy are you finding it to maintain your weight?

Personally, I find it easy to maintain, but that doesn't mean that I make no effort: I do!

That's one of the facts that underpin successful weight loss maintenance: you need to make the same effort to keep it off as you made to lose it in the first place! Getting to target weight and heaving a huge sigh of relief is part of a yoyo dieters mindset and I've done that in the past. You could quite reasonably ask me what's different this time: why do I feel so sure that this time the weight is off for good? And I'd say that this time my attitude has changed.

When I got to my first target [10stone 13lbs] in August 2011 I took a long hard look at myself and saw changes in my physique that I'd never seen before: an emerging waist, more energy, less joint pain and a confidence that I lost somewhere around 1980! I decided to re-programme my weight loss and just see what I could become if I kept going on a healthy weight loss trajectory.

"By April 2012 I had hit my new target: 8stone 13lbs which puts my BMI at 19 and I'm hugely motivated by the fact that I'm now a slim, trim, neat and athletic person with cholesterol and BP back to normal. I had no idea I was this person!

How often do you weigh yourself? Do you still record this in your Weight Tracker?

Weekly: I weigh myself every Saturday morning - before my first cup of tea, and I record it in my Weight Tracker without fail.

I don't know how many times I hear people say that they have no idea how or when the weight started to pile on, and I've said this myself more times than I care to confess. Isn't it interesting that we do this? We lose weight then stop monitoring ourselves - then exclaim with sorrow when we 'discover' how fat we've become. This time I decided to rethink my diet - with a sensible mantra: 'If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always got'. So, when I joined the this website I bought a good pair of bathroom scales and a good pair of kitchen scales and I use them regularly: the former weekly and the latter daily. I'm proud of the weight I've lost, I really like the svelte person that I had trapped under 5 stone of blubber and I know that I need to keep an eye on my intake and body weight to make sure I stay as I am! If I ever thought it's a fag to have to step on the scales or weigh out a portion of rice, I would remind myself that guessing is a poor substitute for knowing, and it was not weighing that allowed the weight to creep back on. Weight gain is an insidious process that can be challenged and managed by simply keeping an eye on the scales!

How much does your weight fluctuate by? What do you do if you've gained a few pounds?

My weight fluctuates very little actually [it floats comfortably between 8 stone 9 lbs and 8 stone 12 lbs - not bad from a starting point of 13 stone 8lbs!!!!] because I monitor it, and that is a large part of my successful weight stasis. I have learned the importance of keeping the momentum going! I know how to control my weight and if I allow it to go up a little, [which I do quite often!] I can bring it down within a week. Isn't this amazing? To think that I could always have done this but just paddled along [for more than 40 years!!!!] in the miserable belief that my weight controlled me. If I'd realised that I could make such a difference I wouldn't have been condemned to wearing baggy black size 20 trackie bums for all those years!!!

I had a wonderful time at my son's wedding recently and enjoyed a three course meal prior to the ceremony - with wine and champagne, a heavenly breakfast [actually two of them!!!] and a sumptuous wedding lunch. I weighed on the Friday before we set off [8 stone 10 lbs] recorded all the food that I'd eaten over the weekend [300cals over my limit on two consecutive days], adjusted my daily allowance for the remainder of the week [down to 1,500 per day] and didn't weigh again until the following Saturday: 8st 11lbs. A week on 1,600 cals and I was back to 8 stone 9lbs having had a wonderful time! Planning to indulge is part of a calorie controlled lifestyle and is pleasurable and positive. 'Giving in to temptation' is a very negative way of expressing an inability - or lack of will, or yearning - for fat, sugar, salt and chemical laden foods, but it does characterize a defeatist attitude!

What are your 3 top tips for someone who has just hit their goal?

  1. Don't see hitting your target as the end of a diet - instead, think of it as the beginning of a whole new set of challenges and opportunities all of which are Good Things and make plans! Remember: you can't lose weight by eating a salad for a day if your diet is predicated on unregulated portions of heavily processed, fat/salt/sugar laden meals and snack, and you can't gain weight by having a few treats if your diet is predicated on sensible portion control, lots of healthful foodstuffs and at least some exercise every day!
  2. Find your tipping point. Get 'Me-savvy' - know how many calories you actually need to maintain your weight so that you can wring every last calorie out of your budget!
  3. Think long term thoughts about your clothes! How many dieters rush out and buy new smaller clothes but end up giving them away when the weight creeps back on? Look forward to wearing your smaller clothes next year and the year after that!!! This positive reinforcement has worked well for me, and my favourite pair of size 8 jeans are now a year old! Woohoo!!!!!

How confident do you feel that you will be able to maintain your new weight for life?

For more than 50 years I labelled myself as a big-boned, heavy, obese, a lost cause! With a modicum of embarrassment and an occasional sheepish smile, I've hugely enjoyed discovering that there was a completely different person trapped inside this wobbly body!!! The confidence, pleasure and healthfulness will help ensure that the 'Me' is a permanent re-invention, even if I do have to work at it!!!!

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Weight loss is individual and your personal rate of loss may vary from any case studies shown on this website.