Sooooo, busy ladies, I have a question. Do you just want to lose weight or do you want to lose the extra weight forever? It’s a fact that losing weight does take focus and devotion. It’s imperative that we remember that weight loss isn’t really a start-and-end process. Of course it makes sense that you should have a weight loss goal to reach, but once you reach that accomplishment, you can’t just stop eating right and working out. Absolutely, no way! You keep up the good work because it’s a healthy lifestyle that’s livable and lovable…and, most importantly, it makes you feel GREAT.

When you make the transition from losing weight to maintaining weight, you have a little more room to play around with your diet and workout plan because you don’t need to create a deficit of calories anymore. You will just be obligated to take in as many as your body needs in order to not gain or lose weight.

Ladies, whether you’re just starting out on your weight loss journey, or if you have already reached your weight loss goal, follow these steps for top strategies to keep the weight off for good.

Move, Move, Move

Being and staying physically active is extremely important for keeping weight off. Not to mention all the other health benefits which include helping lower cholesterol, reducing blood pressure and improving mood (God knows we need that). Moving and doing something that you love makes fitness more fun. Try dancing, walking, biking or playing your favorite sport. Life is too short to do something that you don’t like, especially when you have other choices.

Eat What You Love

If you love cheesecake and chocolate but have a food plan that restricts you from eating them, chances are you’re going to feel pretty deprived. And that’s never a good thing and I can almost promise that it will backfire on you at some point. To have a truly livable lifestyle, you should include small treats (always eaten in moderation) in your diet.

Let H20 Be Your Best Mixed Drink

Ask any successful weight-loss maintainer and I guarantee they do one thing—drink at least 8 glasses of water a day. Water helps support your metabolism, aids in removing fat from the body, can help cut cravings and basically is just good for you. So drink up!

Keep The Challenge Going

Even if you’ve already reached your weight loss goal, never stop setting smart goals. Whether it’s adding more weight to your strength training routine, walking or running a little bit faster, fitting more fruits and veggies in your diet or simply saying “No” when Auntie Hattie tries to guilt you into having that second piece of potato pie, keep setting weekly, monthly and yearly goals to keep you focused and challenged. And be sure to reward yourself (go see a movie, get a pedicure, enjoy a massage, buy new workout clothes, etc.) with good stuff when you reach your goals! Rewards can sometimes be the best motivator of all.

Mama always told me that it takes 21 days to create a habit. Try to make these suggestions habits and after a few weeks of eating right and working out, you shouldn’t just look better; you should feel better. Losing weight is not just about losing weight, it is also about improving your personal life…not restricting it. Embrace your choice. You’ve chosen to be healthy and happy.