When to take a weight-loss break

There are plenty of good reasons to hit pause right now and learn how to maintain your weight successfully.
Published April 22, 2020

No one goes pedal to the metal all the time. You need breaks to catch your breath and just be, and that goes for your weight loss and wellness journey, too. Whether you’ve had great success or your progress has been a little slower than you hoped, you might reach a point where you need to ease up and refresh your mind and body.

Guess what: That’s okay.

Choosing to shift into maintenance is an option at any point, not just when you’ve  reached your goal weight. The key is approaching it intentionally, so you don’t lose your momentum entirely. This is not a pause or a side-step in your progress, it’s another step on your journey.

Intentional maintenance simply means shifting your focus away from weight loss and instead celebrating weight stability. It doesn’t halt the progress you’ve been making—it’s part of the process, and an essential skill.  

Also know that intentional maintenance is different from a plateau. During plateaus, we want to lose weight; during intentional maintenance, our goal is to keep it steady.


When and Why


You might consider holding at your current weight for any number of reasons. It could be a matter of timing, if you’ve hit a moment when weight loss isn’t your highest priority—like right now, when life feels crazy and avoiding getting sick is your biggest goal. Maybe you feel burned out and notice your will is slipping. Or you might simply want to experience what it takes to maintain your weight, so you feel confident in your ability to stay at your goal once you get there.


Plans for steady success 


These tips will help you create your maintenance plan. 

  • Commit to maintenance as your goal for now. If you find yourself hoping for weight loss, you’re probably not ready to focus on maintenance just yet.

  • Stay connected to your community. Look to Connect for ideas and motivation from fellow maintainers and, if you're a Studio member, attend your Virtual Workshops. Studies show that attending group meetings (like WW Workshops) helps people maintain their weight loss.
  • Continue your weekly weigh-ins, and respond to small weight gains quickly. When you see the number on the scale go up (about 3 to 5 pounds) use the behaviours you’re familiar with—like tracking the foods with SmartPoints values—to help you get back on track.
  • Stay active doing things you enjoy. Research shows that physical activity is the single best predictor of who keeps weight off and who doesn’t. Get out for daily walks if you can, or try at-home workouts. Dancing in your living room counts, too!
  • Celebrate maintenance milestones. When losing weight, we can celebrate every lower number on the scale—when we’re maintaining, the reward can feel less exciting because we’re looking for the number to stay the same. Try finding other milestones to strive for and celebrate. For example, celebrate maintaining your weight for a week, and then two, and then three…

Throughout your maintenance period, you’ll want to keep your “why” close by. Maintaining your weight is a different goal than losing. Perhaps your “why” is the same, or perhaps it has shifted.  When you begin maintenance, revisit your why and reflect on it often throughout this stage of your journey.