Healthy Tips for Keeping the Weight Off
What happens once you reach your weight loss goal? According to a meta-study, most people gained back 80% of the weight lost after five years. The National Weight Loss Registry has been tracking 10,000 people who had lost an average of 66 pounds and kept it off for an average of five and a half years.
Here are some tips from them:
- Have long-term motivation. Pleasing a partner or getting into size eight jeans won’t sustain you. Instead, think of big picture goals that matter to you; I want to stay off hypertension meds. I want to start a family. I want to hike or bike and travel into my senior years. I want to be an active grandparent. I want to have energy and stop being out of breath.
- Have realistic goals. Those who lose a lot of pounds quickly struggle with maintenance more than those who lose a pound or two a week. Experts say it’s rare for most people to successfully lose and maintain more than 10% of their body weight. Adjust your expectations.
- Physical activity is mandatory. Most successful folks from the Registry average an hour of exercise daily, total. Walking is the most common activity, but to see the most success, find something you enjoy.
- Support is key. People who go it alone are much more likely to fail. You will be more successful in maintaining weight loss if you have a group that you check in with and receive positive reinforcement from. Other support may include dietitians or fitness trainers.
- Recognize the emotional and mental side of eating. Emotional eating is a real challenge, and recognizing our triggers is a powerful tool. A therapist can help identify patterns and find ways to conquer negative thoughts or overcome emotions that threaten your healthy lifestyle.
- Focus on the good in your diet instead of the no-nos. Fill up on whole grains, fruits and veggies, and avoid the temptation of empty calories that leave you hungry. Also, eat a healthy breakfast.
- Have screen limits. People on the Registry that maintained weight loss watched far less TV than most. Binge-watching and mindless eating create a dangerous pair, and that goes for phones and laptops, too.
- Get eight hours of quality sleep every night. When we don’t get enough sleep, we actually increase our hunger, especially for sugary foods, and our bodies can’t restore themselves.
- Monitor your efforts. That means at least weekly weigh-ins, maybe food trackers or health journals. Those on the Registry often weighed themselves daily.
Maintaining a healthy weight is a lifetime pursuit, but the rewards are immeasurable.