Once you've reached your goal weight, it's easy to slack off on your healthy eating and exercise plan, and celebrate. And just as easily, the weight piles back on. What's the secret to keeping the pounds off and maintaining your ideal weight? We've got 10 tips to help you maintain your weight—and feel great doing it.

1. Stay Honest

You probably kept a food log or counted calories, carbs, or fat grams while you were losing weight. And if you're like most people, you were surprised at just how many calories there were in the little snacks and bites you ate during your day. Now that you've lost the weight, don't put down the logbook. While you don't have to be as strict as you were while you were losing weight, you do have to pay attention to what you're putting in your mouth. Nothing keeps you honest like writing it all down.

2. Continue Exercising

The best way to burn those extra calories and keep them from landing on your waistline is to exercise every day, or at least five days per week.

3. Eat Frequently

To avoid scarfing down too many high-calorie snacks, desserts, and other unhealthy foods, eat three meals a day, and two snacks. You'll avoid getting so hungry that you overeat later. Eating frequently should also help ensure you get all your nutrients.

4. Plan Your Meals

Like keeping a food log, this is another technique that's great for both weight loss and weight maintenance. You'll stand the best chance of eating the foods you need and avoiding the ones you don't if you plan your meals in advance, and stick to the plan.

5. Put Away the Frying Pan

Whenever possible, steam, bake, roast, or go raw. Avoid frying foods in oil or butter.

6. Skip the Add-Ons

Do you want fries with that? How about cheese? Extra dressing? For the sake of your health—not to mention your waistline—the answer should be "no." Go ahead and treat yourself once in a while, but avoid these calorie-heavy extras most of the time.

7. Avoid Liquid Calories

Wine, soda, beer, juice—you remember, all the drinks you gave up when you were trying to lose weight? Continue to limit their intake now that you're maintaining your weight. Stick with water, and if you do indulge in the occasional celebratory beverage, be mindful of the other calories you consume that day.

8. Shun Processed Foods

Just because you're no longer on a diet doesn't mean you can go back to all those easy-bake, microwave, out-of-the-box meals. They're full of chemicals, fats, and foods your grandma wouldn't recognize. Stick to the good stuff you know you should be eating, including:

  • Fruits and veggies
  • Whole grains
  • Lean proteins
  • Beans
  • Nuts and other healthy fats
  • Lowfat dairy
  • Water

9. Unsubscribe From the Clean Plate Club

Stop eating before you're full and leave a little on your plate. If you have to decide between leaving the salad, brown rice, or chicken, fill up on the salad or other veggies, and leave a few bites of the carbs and protein behind.

10. Indulge Carefully

Nobody wants to stay on a diet forever—and you shouldn't have to, either. Go ahead and enjoy a little dessert now and then. Take the occasional day off from the gym, but be careful that a treat doesn't become a habit.

Liesa Harte, MD, reviewed this article.