For people that have had issues with food or controlling their weight in the past, maintenance really is what it’s all about. For ‘normal’ people that haven't had these issues, weight gain is either non-existent or very slow. However for previously obese individuals, weight gain can happen very quickly if you take your eye off the ball.
First of all you need to consider your strategy based on your new lifestyle. Being familiar with what your daily food intake needs are based on any physical activity you intend to do is key. Monitoring this can be a chore so you might like to use a food tracking service like MyFitnessPal. This suits some on a daily basis, although some only track if their weight creeps out of a range they are happy with. The simplest form of monitoring that I'd encourage all to do is weighing yourself. Measuring your weight on a weekly or fortnightly basis is a probably the best indicator of whether or not you need to make little changes to your diet or fitness regime. If you also have a body fat scale, this will give you a better idea.
One mechanism that many people have built into their subconscious is the feeling of shame. This can be triggered by eating the wrong foods, eating too much or not exercising enough. This may well trigger you to make the right choices. The feeling of guilt can be very strong to some people and may also never go away no matter how little you deviate from the line that you mentally did not want to cross.
Another trigger that your maintenance isn't going to plan, is when your clothes start getting tight. If you've put on a few pounds you may not look or feel any different but if your clothes are getting tight, this is a trigger that you need to do something. The easy solution would be to buy some new clothes but you're just wasting money. Get on those scales and start tracking your food and exercise.
Part of the maintenance phase is choosing the right forms of physical activity and the right intensity. Over time your body will get used to the intensity of any given exercise. You will therefore need to mix it up a bit by either pushing yourself harder or for longer or even trying a different activity altogether.
Do you have any experiences related to this? Share them in the comments below.