You've reached your goal weight...

All Woman

Dear Donovan,
After I have reached my fitness goals how should my workout and nutrition plan be altered if I no longer wish to lose weight or build additional muscle?

I am 10 pounds away from my ideal weight with a well-toned body that I have worked hard over the last year to get. After losing the 10 pounds, I don't want to lose or gain any more, and I don't want any more muscle. How do I ensure that I remain just where I want to?

Congratulations on your fitness and weight-loss journey so far. I see where you only have 10 more pounds to go to reach your ideal weight. At this point, you will have to continue reducing your calories/food intake and increasing your exercise. This will help you to lose the further 10 pounds.

However, I must say that it might not be a bad idea to lose 12 or 13 pounds instead of the 10 pounds. This might be necessary so that you can create what I call a “buffer zone” to protect your weight loss.

That said, it is very important to say that, unfortunately, many individuals who have lost weight will put it back on in the first year, and even put on extra pounds, making them heavier than where they had started. In fact, studies have shown that only about 20 per cent of people who go on a weight loss diet will reach their goal and keep it off in the long term.

That aside, I would say don't panic about keeping the weight off once you have reached your goal. However, you will have to stick to a consistent plan or you will put it back on.

Once you have reached your weight loss goal, the aim is to maintain a calorie/energy balance. When you are in a calorie balance, you're burning approximately the same amount of food/calories you are consuming. This is equivalent to a weight-loss plateau where you are neither losing nor gaining weight; you are roughly in a stable band of weight.

To achieve this state you will have to create a balance between exercise, diet and other lifestyle factors. If there is a loss in balance of these factors, it is possible to regain the weight that you lost.

Your diet is going to play an important role going forward in trying to maintain your new weight. Once you have reached your weight-loss goal it is important to eat in a structured manner. It is best to eat three healthy meals per day, with at least two snacks. It is important not to skip breakfast, as this might make you too hungry later in the day.

Additionally, it is important to watch your carbohydrate intake. Carbohydrates can be converted to fat. It is also important, at this stage, that your diet consists mainly of fruits, vegetables, vegetable juices, ground provision, whole grain, lean protein, yoghurt, etc.

As much as possible, stay away from fried and greasy foods. It is necessary to keep the bowel clean going forward. It is not a bad idea to periodically do a detox programme. In addition, effort should be taken to keep your system hydrated. Drinking water will help to promote a feeling of fullness, which will help to reduce calorie intake. Also, studies have shown that drinking water can also help you to burn more calories.

That said, it is also important to pay attention to your exercise programme. Exercise will help you to burn extra calories. However, it is important to adjust your exercise programme based on your needs and goals at each state. For example, when you need to lose the 10 pounds to reach your goal, cardio-type exercise might be best. However, once you have reached your goal, it would be wise to put in some muscle-building exercise as well.

Again, use foods and exercise as a tool to achieve your fitness goal. Overall, about half-hour to 45 minutes of exercise per day should help you to maintain your weight. Exercise will also help you to reduce stress. High stress can increase your cortisol hormone levels, which has been associated with belly fat. Stress may also cause you to eat in an impulsive way.

It is also important to get enough sleep. Lack of sleep has been shown to be associated with a higher level of appetite-increasing hormones. Lack of sleep may also reduce the motivation to do exercise, which is crucial to you keeping the weight off.

It should be noted that it might also be important to get a support group so you can keep motivated on your fitness journey.

In a nutshell, you will have to first lose the 10 pounds for your goal weight, then take note of my pointers. Also, it is very important to check your weight at least once per week. Be prepared to make the adjustment in your exercise and diet programme, where necessary.

I must tell you, it is very unlikely that your weight will just be at the same all the time, so monitoring your weight and making adjustments are crucial.

Good luck!

We will answer your weight-related questions

Are you struggling to lose weight or just need some advice on living a healthier life? Tell us about your health issues and we'll have nutritionist and wellness coach Donovan Grant answer them for you. Grant has over 12 years' experience in the fitness industry and is the owner of DG's Nutrition and Wellness Centre, 39 Lady Musgrave Road. Call him at 876-286-1363. E-mail questions to




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