One thing no one tells you about weight loss is the bit after the weight loss – how to maintain your dream weight. Honestly, I thought once I’d got to that magic 59 kilos it would be smooth sailing. But it’s not, it’s still hard work and although I’ve revolutionised my eating habits for the better, things still go wrong. So here are my 5 things no one tells you about maintaining your goal weight:

1 – it’s all about balance

It’s ok to have a treat. There’s nothing wrong with having a treat, the trick is not let it turn into an entire day, week or month. I’m still guilty of this, just because you had a nice lunch is no reason to say ‘blow it, might as well have a naughty tea too’. It takes self-control to have a treat and then return to your normal eating habits. But if you live with no treats in your life often it can go very wrong and in our house it’s called ‘going feral in the cheese shop’ – the trick is to avoid getting to this point. Small treats work for me, and avoid those big blow out meals.

2 – Rest day is not cheat day

And while we’re at it, let’s get rid of that horrid word ‘cheat day’. You’re not cheating anyone. The problem with rest days is there are more eating opportunities available than days your training. I find myself rummaging in cupboards on rest day, grazing through the fridge. The only way I’ve found to control this particular impulse is to break meals down and eat little and often. For example, breakfast of porridge, banana and nuts – make this into three separate mini meals with an hour or so in between. You’re still having the same amount of food, but making it last longer.

3 – you need to eat to train

Don’t kid yourself that you can struggle on without food, your training will suffer. My rule is regardless of my calorie count for the day, I put back what I take out. If you’re calorie counting make sure you start eating on the bike within the first 30minutes, you’ve not got the stores of energy to train hungry. Eat! It’s not a problem – just make sure it’s healthy calories such as homemade banana bread or rice cake etc.  I’ve fallen foul of this so many times it’s embarrassing, you’re pedalling along berating yourself that you’re rubbish, you can’t do anything but churn away – and for me I start to mumble under my breath – signs you need to eat! It’s amazing how good training can be when you eat.

4 – it’s always good to take stock of how much you’re eating

My Fitness Pal is your best friend here. I don’t calorie count all the time but a few times in the year I track my weight and my calories, just to make sure I’m still on track and not eating too much. I’m very prone to putting 5 kilos or so on pretty easily if I let my diet slip a bit. Portion control is so difficult, but My Fitness Pal really reminds me of how big a portion should be and opens your eyes to high calorie items that have slipped back into your diet. For me, it’s wine, I love it, but it’s empty calories ☹ especially if you’re training hard and need those spare calories in better forms of nutrition. I found it’s very easy to let your calorie count creep up without thinking about it. Take stock, reassess and correct. I really thought my eating habits would be PERFECT once I reached my dream weight – but it’s an ongoing process of checks and balances.

5 – Love your body – it’s the only one you’ve got

Again, I thought being my dream weight, I’d love my body, but when I look in the mirror I still see the things I don’t like, big hips, boobs still to big etc. It’s hard to accept yourself and not see the flaws. Honestly, I still think someone is playing a cruel joke and has changed the lables on clothes so the size 8 I bought is really a size 18 still. The fat girl is still hiding inside, that’s for sure.

The main thing is that it’s a life change, not a diet. Treat it as a way of life.