By Gigi Amurao

After weeks or months of dieting and putting in the work at the gym every day, you finally hit your goal weight.  Congratulations, you did it!

You stayed committed, worked hard, sacrificed a lot, and here you are—a slimmer, sexier, lighter best version of yourself. Losing weight for a competition, an event, or for health reasons is no easy task, but after you’ve lost 20, 30 or even 40 pounds, your next question is going to be, “How do I keep looking this way?”

The scary truth is that most dieters eventually weigh more than they did before they started dieting. It’s quite common in the fitness industry as well as in “the real world” for people to go on a diet, achieve their goal—and then end up gaining back all the weight and more within a few months.

Why would anyone let that happened after working so hard to lose it? There are many reasons, and everyone has their own story, but in most cases it’s due more to a mental rather than a physical reason.  At the end of the day, their journey to weight loss didn’t become a lifestyle; it was just a slight change in their lives—a quick fix to accomplish a goal.

In order to maintain weight loss, you have to take a different approach from what you did when your sole goal was to lose the weight. Now you must look at fitness and healthy eating as a way of life. You must accept the ups and downs of gaining and losing, the good and bad days, and become conscious always of the foods you eat, in addition to incorporating exercise into your routine.

The key to reaching your ideal weight and maintaining your new svelte image is to make long-term changes to your diet and lifestyle that you can stick with—indefinitely. Here are some tips that keep me in check after I step off the stage and hang up my heels for the off-season. I hope they can help you stay motivated and keep those pounds off for good.

Editor’s note: To contact Gigi regarding her services as a trainer, nutritionist and online coach, write to her at [email protected].