Weight Loss Maintenance Strategies
Ways to Keep the Weight Off
There are plenty of books, articles and television programs that tell you how to lose weight. The problem many people have is what to do once they’ve achieved their goal. Maintaining a healthy weight can be more difficult than losing it, because of all the ways our bodies fight against it. Here are seven things successful dieters do, to maintain their weight loss.
Keep on building muscle. Muscle increases your metabolism. As we age, the amount of muscle we carry around shrinks and the pounds often pile on. The only way to fight off that age-related metabolic reduction is through regular strength training exercises. You don’t have to keep adding new muscle, just stopping the decline is enough.
Hate the gym? Find another way to get your strength training exercises in. Take gymnastics, study martial arts or join a boot camp group. When you get tired or bored of one approach, learn something new to keep your body engaged. As long as you keep doing something, your chances of long-term success increase.
Keep eating healthy. This is one of the big sticking points for fad diets. If you drop 30 pounds because you’re only drinking lemonade and cayenne pepper, at some point, you’re going to have to start eating real food again. Go back to what you know and you’ll quickly pack the weight back on.
Long-term weight loss success is easiest for people who eat a high-vegetable, lower meat and lower processed foods diet. There are hundreds of healthy ways to prepare and enjoy vegetables. Start exploring the options. I would even suggest you set aside one day a month, just to try vegetables you haven’t had before.
Keep splurges to a minimum. A single “cheat day” can sabotage all the best efforts of a week's worth of work. Instead of bingeing on cookies or cake, prepare yourself a bowl of seasonal exotic fruit. Skip the side of tater tots and substitute a serving of broccoli or cauliflower tots.
Keep using the scale. Stepping on a scale at least once a week, is one of the things successful dieters do to lose the weight. To remain successful, keep those weigh-in appointments. With regular monitoring, you’ll quickly notice if you’re weight starts to change, so you can take action before it gets out of control.
Keep screen time to a minimum. That means limiting how many hours a day you’re watching TV, sitting in front of the computer or staring at a smartphone. Successful long-term dieters typically watch about 10 hours of television a week, compared to 28 hours for the average American. If working at a desk is part of your job, make modifications that allow you to spend at least part of the day standing.
Keep in touch with friends and family. Reach out when you need support, encouragement or just a sympathetic ear. When the pounds are dropping off, it’s easy to stay excited. But once you’ve reached your goal, loved ones can help you remember why you did it in the first place. They can also remind you of what you felt like before, so you don’t let success slip away.
Keep going back. Vacations, weddings, funerals and other major life events happen. They trip us up and we get off track. When you notice yourself veering off course, make a mental note of what happened. Then go back and start implementing the steps again.
Regular readers of my column will recognize all these suggestions, because they’re fundamentally sound ways to LOSE weight. But that’s the thing about keeping weight off. The same tools you use to get there, are what you’ll need to keep you there.
Losing weight and keeping it off isn’t a short-term lifestyle change: It’s the embracing of a new life. You don’t have to change everything at once, but over time, everything will change. Choose one thing from this list to start doing today. Repeat until it becomes a habit, then add the next one. Keep it up, you’re worth it.
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CAUTION: Check with your doctor before
beginning any diet or exercise program.