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7 Secrets to Keep Off the Weight You Lost

By JJ VIRGIN

Congratulations! You've worked hard on your eating and exercise, and you achieved the fit body you had as your goal.

Now you're ready to strut your stuff in your favorite jeans with a perfectly fitted tee that shows your newly defined arms and toned midsection.

Have your blissful moment. Enjoy that euphoric, surreal "I look fabulous and fit" feeling. You worked hard for it. Seriously, bask in that hard-earned glory.

Done?

Okay, I'm going to sound like Debbie downer for a second.

The hard work is ahead of you. I know you don't want to hear this, but after you've reached the fat-loss finish line, you're going to face challenges that can potentially topple your success.

Many fat-loss books neglect this part, because let's face it: maintaining is not sexy. It's not fun. It doesn't sell books But I believe that to make fat loss permanent fat loss, you'll need to have a bulletproof game plan so that nothing derails your continued success.

I've helped thousands of clients keep their weight off so they stay lean and sexy for life.

Here are my 7 golden rules that can help you maintain your fit body:

1. Plan ahead.
You want to show off your toned abs and defined biceps at social functions, and who could blame you? Just don’t let cocktail hour become your dieting demise. You know the scenario, you have a glass of pinot noir, you're feeling relaxed, and suddenly a "little" pecan torte becomes an all-out carb-fest. Never go to dinner parties or other events hungry. Enjoy a small plate of food, and step away from the buffet line. Make the people (rather than double fudge brownies!) the focus for the evening.

2. Reward yourself.
Gone are the days when you added a scone with your soy latte as a treat for scoring a new client. Now  it's a better idea to focus on non-food indulgences to celebrate minor victories. Treat yourself to a mani-pedi, a new pair of jeans or a massage. Just remember that rewards don't have to mean maxing your credit card. You can find pleasure in a hot bath, a silly comedy on TV, or a long walk in the park. The key is to make your rewards for yourself about something other than food.

3. Keep food fresh and fun.
Routine and consistency are crucial for fat loss, but too much of the same thing leads to stagnation and boredom. ("Brussels sprouts again? Ugh.") Mix it up, venture to a new restaurant and order a vegetable dish that you've never tried before – Kimchi, perhaps. Or try out that new quinoa recipe you found online. You'll be far less tempted by deep-dish pizza and fries when you infuse novelty and excitement into your healthy meals.

4. Don't neglect the basics.
It's easy to overlook the tried-and-true basics when you're riding high on success. Even when you've hit you goal, you should still start your mornings with a healthful and filling breakfast, such as The Virgin Diet Shake, and optimize fat-burning hormones with seven-to-nine hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. Challenge yourself, move outside your comfort zone, and constantly step up your game. Don't neglect the foundation that got you there once you've hit your fat-loss goals.

5. Employ the "three-bite rule."
Your friend raves about the pastry chef at this new Italian bakery. Rather than be a wet blanket and abstain completely from trying the delectable dessert she orders, challenge yourself to enjoy three polite bites, and then put your fork down. Polite means what you would eat as a guest on The Rachael Ray Show, not the bites you would take during an 11 p.m. kitchen raid. You'll feel satisfied without that lingering "What did I just do?" regret you feel after you devour the whole thing. Trust me, someone will finish the dessert. It just doesn't have to be you.

6. Keep a journal of your eating and/or track it online with MyPlate.
What you track, you can improve. Maybe you notice the scale nudging up a bit the past few days or your new skinny jeans feel a tad too tight. Keeping a journal can help you troubleshoot potential problem foods, avoid mistakes moving forward, and help keep you honest. For convenience, you can also use easy online and mobile food tracking apps such as MyPlate that you can take with you everywhere you go.

7. Intensify your exercise program.
Studies show people who successfully maintain their fat loss are the ones who are able to fit exercise into their busy schedules. Just like with eating, keeping the exact same workout routine day after day can lead to boredom and stagnation. Exercise should never get easier, and your best way to eliminate plateaus is by keeping your workout interesting and fresh: take a new class, try a new DVD, or hire that trainer you've been eying at your gym.

-JJ

Celebrity Nutrition & Fitness expert JJ Virgin is author of NY Times bestseller The Virgin Diet and the bestselling Six Weeks to Sleeveless and Sexy. She was also co-host of TLC's Freaky Eaters. JJ frequently blogs for The Huffington Post, LIVESTRONG.COM, and other prominent media outlets. She created the 4 x 4 Burst Training Workout and regularly appears on TV shows like Rachel Ray and The Today Show to discuss topics such as fast fat loss, weight loss, and food sensitivities.

Want more from JJ? Find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest.

>> Read more of JJ Virgin's articles here! <<

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