Today’s Ultimate Transformation Moment spotlights the role of nutrition in the maintenance of weight goals. During my clients’ weight maintenance period, I revisit the importance of the nutritional plan.

Nutrition may play the most critical role in maintaining newly achieved weight reduction. Once this goal is met, the focus becomes that of maintaining proper nutrition throughout the summer months in ways that do not sabotage the newly attained healthy weight.

The incorporation of a maintenance program after weight loss is very important. However, equally important is the awareness of a few nutritional detriments, or red flags. Let’s not call them don’ts.

I label them as red flags, so that when you are confronted with them, they will trigger the thought that you may be at the beginning stages of creating a bad habit.

The first red flag is alcohol consumption. I want everyone to be mindful of his or her alcohol intake. Limiting alcohol intake is extremely important during the maintenance program, because alcohol is simply empty calories. An empty calorie is a food or beverage that provides no nutritional value to the body. The body is forced to take the calories from the alcohol that you drink and try to get rid of them first, because it can’t do anything with them. The food and drink that you take in thereafter become excess calories.

Total elimination of alcoholic beverages is preferable, however, if you are drinking alcohol, especially the sugary drinks, note that the body will hold on to the sugar in the drink, and it will hold on to the nachos or the chicken wings you’re eating while consuming the alcohol. This type of eating and drinking may begin a new addiction to sugar and cause the body to crave more. A bad habit is then being reinforced.

The second red flag is cheating on a cheat day. A cheat day is the one day each week that we take some liberties with the type of foods we eat. Many of us elect to “use” our cheat day during the weekend. I would recommend that the cheat day occur during the week, because a weekend cheat day, such as Saturday, tends to roll into Sunday. In this case a cheat day, turns into cheat “days.”

In those two days, the nutrition plan goes out the window, and one can take in as much as 30 percent more calories than you would normally. So again, be mindful of your cheat day.

The third red flag is late night eating. During the summer months, we like to take advantage of the beautiful, long days. The extended hours of daylight provide many hours for participation in various outdoor activities.

After a long day of activity, the last thing we should consider is late night eating. Typically, late night eating consists of snacking on cookies, chips, ice cream and other foods that are high in sugar and sodium. We think that we’re not eating a lot of food, but these “quick fixes” for late night hunger, are very, very, very high in calories and can add up quickly.

I prefer the flat tire analogy, when referring to a slip in nutrition. If you are driving a car and you have a flat tire, you don’t continue to drive around on that flat tire. You pull over, get out, change it, or have someone come change the tire for you. Likewise with a bad meal. If you eat a meal that’s outside of your normal nutritional habit or exceeds your normal caloric intake, don’t continue to eat in this fashion. Make a change, and choose more nutritious foods to eat at the next meal. Get yourself back on track.

If you don’t change the flat tire, damage continues on to the rim and it becomes difficult to steer and drive the car. Similarly, if the bad eating habit is not corrected, it can lead to additional negative eating habits, weight gain and adverse medical conditions.

Don’t lose focus, and always remember the effort it took to reach the current success. Stay on course, make corrections as necessary and embrace the new lifestyle.

That’s our Ultimate Transformation Moment. Peace and be more.

Erich Nall is the owner and founder of Ultimate Transformations Training in Los Angeles, Calif. The certified trainer, nutritionist, motivational speaker, and dedicated life coach is a regular guest and commentator on KJLH 102.3 FM’s the “Front Page with Dominique DiPrima.” He has written for Our Weekly Los Angeles.