Person standing on bathroom scale while wondering how to maintain weight loss

How to maintain weight loss

Medically reviewed on May 24, 2023 by Jordan Stachel, M.S., RDN, CPT. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.

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Reaching your target weight is an enormous feat—and one well worth celebrating. But now that you’ve accomplished your goal, the question becomes: how can you keep those pounds from creeping back on, possibly for good?

It’s a valid—and important—question. Research shows that individuals who lose a significant amount of body weight tend to gain it back within two to three years. [1] Even shedding a few pounds can be challenging to initiate, not because of a lack of willpower, but because our brains are hardwired to defy healthy weight loss. [2]

Fortunately, there are dozens of savvy methods for sustaining healthy weight loss and for relishing in the energy and confidence that may arrive with slimming down to your ideal size. Read on for four scientifically-backed ways to reach and maintain an ideal body weight.

1. Prioritize sleep

Are you wondering how to maintain weight loss?

Ultimately, the best way is to take a holistic approach to your health and wellness. This means looking past your diet and workouts to improve upon the lifestyle behaviors—like your stress-coping strategies—that contribute to your vitality.

Sleep is chief among them. Not obtaining enough sleep disrupts the natural production of two key hormones associated with weight and metabolism, which are [3]:

  • Ghrelin – Pulling an occasional all-nighter or consistently receiving less than the widely recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night may increase the synthesis of ghrelin, which may trigger your appetite.
  • Leptin – On the flip side, insufficient sleep decreases the production of leptin, which has a role in satiation—meaning, you may feel less full after eating and may eat more to compensate for that gnawing feeling.

Additionally, a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine indicates that individuals who sleep less not only intake more calories but also crave the very high-calorie foods you may have avoided on your weight loss journey. [4] So, consider sleep as essential as consuming vitamin-rich healthy foods and staying hydrated- your body and brain will thank you. [5]

2. Weigh yourself regularly

According to a comprehensive survey of 10,000 people who maintained weight loss, three-quarters of the respondents weighed themselves at least once a week. [2]

Why is this such an effective approach to aiding in sustaining your target weight? Because it allows you to make more regularly informed modifications to your diet, eating habits, exercise routine, and changes for a healthy lifestyle to nip weight gain in the bud.

That said, if you have a history of disordered eating, such as anorexia or bulimia, you may want to skip the consistent weigh-ins. This may result in a fixation, and maintaining a healthy weight ought to be about sustaining your overall health and well-being, mental health included. [6]

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3. Aim to get NEAT

NEAT refers to Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, or daily activities that fall outside of your “voluntary” workout routines, like your beloved morning runs or weekend hikes. [7] These spontaneous bouts of exercise help keep your metabolism firing and torching calories. This may, in turn, help keep that excess weight from returning.

You can increase your daily expenditure of calories outside of the gym or yoga studio in seemingly innumerable ways, such as:

  • Pacing while chatting on the phone
  • Installing a standing desk (if you work from home)
  • Setting a reminder on your phone to stretch several times throughout the day
  • Cleaning

Even fidgeting and taking the stairs instead of the elevator are smart, simple ways to boost your NEAT and reap the health benefits of sustained weight loss. [1] And when it comes to your regular exercise regime, remember that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) may boost your metabolism by building lean muscle, which helps you continue burning calories at a steady pace. [8]


4. Fill up on fiber

Fiber may be one of the most overlooked nutrients you need for health and wellness, but it’s critical for both losing weight and keeping extra pounds at bay. Fiber helps moderate blood sugar and temper hunger to ward off those “I’m dying for a donut” moments. Fiber may also help you feel fuller for longer, thanks to the fact that it travels through your system undigested while also aiding in digestion. [9]

You can incorporate more fiber into your diet by packing your plate with:

  • Nuts
  • Beans
  • Blueberries
  • Oatmeal
  • Kale
  • Quinoa

New to eating fiber on a regular basis? Start slowly: eating an excess of fiber all at once may prompt bloating and constipation. This may make you feel like you’ve gained several pounds in the blink of an eye and prompt “who cares?” thoughts. [10] And if there’s one constant when it comes to how to maintain weight loss, it’s knowing that your new perspective on nutrition and exercise is a lifestyle, not a temporary diet.

See related: How does blood sugar affect weight loss

Nourish sustained weight loss via Everlywell

How to maintain weight loss is as crucial of a consideration as how to lose weight in the most wholesome, mindful way possible. Luckily, adopting the above strategies may help you hold onto the progress you’ve made more easily.

You can also use Everlywell to help you nurture your overall health and wellness. We offer a full suite of vitamins and supplements to enhance your self-care routine and to support bone health, muscle health, energy, metabolic function, and immunity—all pillars of optimal well-being. We also provide virtual weight management services to help you harness your full potential, on and off the scale.

Explore all of our products and services today to learn more.

How does blood sugar affect weight loss?

What is healthy weight loss?

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  1. Maintaining Weight Loss.
  2. Why it’s hard to maintain weight loss. Columbia University Irving Medical Center. Published April 21, 2022.
  3. Salamon M. Snooze more, eat less? Sleep deprivation may hamper weight control. Harvard Health. Published April 4, 2022.
  4. Tasali E, Wroblewski K, Kahn E, Kilkus J, Schoeller DA. Effect of Sleep Extension on Objectively Assessed Energy Intake Among Adults With Overweight in Real-life Settings. JAMA Internal Medicine. Published online February 7, 2022. doi:
  5. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep | National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Published September 26, 2022.
  6. Is it healthy to weigh yourself every day? A look at the pros and cons. Washington Post.
  7. Plumbo G. Mayo Clinic Announces NEAT Product Certification. Mayo Clinic News Network. Published September 17, 2013. Accessed April 25, 2023.
  8. Expert Answer: Is HIIT Better for Weight Loss?» Mayo Clinic Connect. Mayo Clinic Connect.
  9. Harvard School of Public Health. Fiber. The Nutrition Source. Published June 6, 2018.
  10. Mayo Clinic . Dietary fiber: Essential for a healthy diet. Mayo Clinic. Published January 6, 2021.
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