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First, I want to say Congratulation to all the participants that completed the 28 Day Transformation Challenge, Season 15.

The goal of this 28-day weight loss challenge is to track progress, not just with stories, photos, or compliments, but by cold, hard numbers. The numbers don’t lie, and can tell you a story.

For example, if you’ve created a calorie deficit but can’t fit into your jeans, you may be retaining water around your menstrual cycle or had a salty meal the night before.

If this is the case, check the history of your food journal on MyFitnessPal. Look for patterns of your body disagreeing with a particular type of food. By going through the exercise of tracking your five daily numbers, you’ll become familiar with the types of food you need to be eating as well as how much activity you need to sustain. All of these are important tools as you work towards nurturing a healthier lifestyle.

After 28 days, we recommend that you continue following your tracker sheet. We don’t check these numbers daily, but we do at least monthly because they will change over time.

What to expect at the end of a fat loss diet

Maintaining weight loss results is hard, it requires ongoing effort but it gets easier as time passes.

- You may experience criticism from peers, friends and family for your food and lifestyle choices, and you may even feel deprived because you’re unable to resume old eating behaviours.

- Unfortunately this is the reality of maintaining weight loss results, so vigilance and accountability is a must.

- Overall hunger levels are high, and meals don’t really seem to hit the spot, your hunger can seem insatiable.

- You have heightened cravings for certain foods, food groups or food in general. These are often foods that you may have limited during the weight loss phase such as indulgences.

- You crave ‘food freedom’. You’ve just come off a period of time eating to numbers, data and feeling restrained by boundaries. The thought of “just eating whatever you want” is appealing.

Takeaway points of maintenance phases:

  1. It’s a good idea to plan maintenance phases at regular 4-16 week intervals throughout a longer fat loss diet.

  2. Maintenance phases are a chance to reset and re-prepare for another phase of dieting.

  3. You shouldn't gain a notable amount of body fat during a maintenance phase provided it’s well executed. Weight may increase but that doesn’t mean body fat.

  4. Maintenance phases involve an immediate increase of Calorie intake to estimated weight maintenance through the addition of more carbohydrates.

  5. A slower transition away from dieting methods, food variety, mindset and reliance on tracking should occur to achieve long term maintenance eating.

  6. Signs that a maintenance phase should start include: progress plateaus, declines in exercise performance, motivation and heightened cravings, hunger and obsession with food.

  7. Maintenance phases should last for 2+ weeks.

What habits and behaviours does the research advise us to continue?

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