February 1, 2009 -- Question: Once I'm down to my desired weight, how do I continue to eat healthy without losing or gaining any more weight?
Answer: One of the keys to long-term weight maintenance is to communicate effectively with your body. We get hungry for a very good reason; our body is telling us it needs fuel. The problem in the modern world is we eat foods that increase the number of calories it takes to feel full -- that corrupts the communication between us and our appetite center.
And also, we eat for lots of reasons having nothing to do with hunger. We eat to console ourselves, we eat to celebrate, we eat when we're bored or stressed or lonely. The better you understand the signals from your body, the better able you are to eat when you actually need fuel. That's the key to long-term weight maintenance.
You should be able to eat until you feel satisfied and full. Weight maintenance should not require hunger or deprivation. A big part of that formula, of course, is getting used to eating foods closer to nature, more wholesome foods, which tend to satisfy on fewer calories.
When you're making those right choices, when you've cleared away the clutter of highly processed foods that stimulate the appetite center, when you listen to the cues your body is sending you and understand them, long-term weight maintenance is not much of a challenge. You eat when you're hungry. People who are comfortable with long-term weight control are comfortable in their relationship with their body and the signals that it sends, telling you when it's time to eat. Learn to interpret those signals reasonably.
If you're eating for reasons other than hunger, you really want to pin down what those reasons are, because something other than food may satisfy some of those other needs. And when you can do that, long-term weight maintenance isn't that difficult.