You start a diet, lose weight, and are finally comfortable and happy with how you look and feel — so you stop the dieting and fall back into your regular routine. A couple of weeks later, the weight you lost begins to creep back, and your continuous cycle of frustration with the scale begins again. Sound familiar? If you want all of your hard work to have a long-term effect, follow these seven tips from people who have lost weight and kept it off, compliments of Organize Yourself Skinny.

lindsay klix before and after

Courtesy Lindsay Klix

>> Read more: Real Tips From Women Who Have Lost 30 Pounds or More

1. Don’t eliminate foods. Instead of banning foods from your diet, which could lead to binging later on, find a way to fit them into your healthy lifestyle. Eat them in moderation or find healthy alternatives for some of your favorite junk foods, like these gluten-free chocolate chip cookies!

2. Develop routines and make it your lifestyle, not just a ‘diet’. Getting in the habit of working out every morning or eating dinner at the same time each night are just a few examples of habits that can help lead to a healthy lifestyle. Making it part of your routine versus a temporary fix, allows you to develop more long-term habits.

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3. Practice portion control. The most basic formula for weight loss is to consume fewer calories than you burn. If you are practicing portion control, no food is truly off limits and it’ll be hard to overeat.

4. Exercise!  Like it or not, you need to work out. If you continue to be physically active and make it a priority in your everyday routine, you will achieve your goals and be able to maintain them. Combining exercise with a healthy diet leads to great results!

fitness pushup

>> WORK: 20-Minute Cardio Step Workout for a Tight Tush and Thighs

5. Stay hydrated. Drinking water helps to flush out toxins from your body, prevent headaches, increase alertness and even keep hunger pangs at bay. Try these tips to staying hydrated all day long.

6. Cook at home. Cooking in your own kitchen allows you to make your favorite foods while controlling the ingredients and portion sizes. You can also take your favorite traditional recipe, and skinny it down with healthier ingredients.

7. Plan for meals and snacks ahead of time. If you have a busy week coming up, preparing healthy meals and snacks for each day on Sunday can keep you from making unhealthy food decisions later in the week. Learn more about Power Planning Sundays here!

Dieting isn’t a bad thing; it can teach you healthier eating and cooking habits. Just make sure to continue these habits even after you’ve reached your goals! Remember, being healthy is a lifestyle, not a quick fix.

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