Lost a few pounds? Congratulations! To help improve your odds of keeping it off for good, we’ve got 10 research-proven strategies for you to put in your toolbox to help you keep the scale steady.
While research shows that few people who lose weight keep it off for good, and there are several reasons why keeping pounds off is so hard. Despite the fact that our bodies naturally may want to return to your heavier weight, there are studies based on individuals who have lost significant amounts of body weight and have kept if off for years. You may not be able to do all 10 of them, but try to do as many as you can.
- Be clear on what motivates you: Make sure you got more to gain from keeping the pounds off long term. To live healthier? Prevent diseases you’re at risk for? See your children and/or grandchildren grow up? When you’re tempted to just skip exercising or eat something you know isn’t great for you, think about what moves you to be better.
- Believe in your abilities to master weight control: Loose the self-doubt, develop a strong will and can-do attitude.
- Get and stay active: Research shows that people who’ve successfully kept weight off exercise 60 to 90 minutes a day. Yes, that’s a lot! Fitting it in is a challenge. Develop and execute a plan. Experts suggest that you do both aerobic activity, such as walking, running, swimming, as well as resistance training 2 to 3 days a week.
- Simplify your eating: Set rules for yourself to control your food options and amounts. Perhaps you only have dessert at the end of a restaurant meal or at an ice cream shop and don’t let desserts across the threshold of your home. At social events place yourself as far from the food as possible. Search for and implement the techniques that work for you.
- Develop better coping skills: There WILL be ups and downs in life—but no one ever succeeds when food is your “therapist.” Your ability to manage life’s stressors without relying on comfort foods will help improve your changes of success.
- Track your progress: Yes that means record what you eat, how much activity you do and more. Suffice to say as much as record keeping is a pain, studies regularly support their importance. Explore a few apps, it is easier than ever to find one that meets your needs.
- Weigh yourself regularly: Know your weight by weighing often. Figure out how often is right for you. Don’t let the pounds creep on. Act as soon as you see the first 1-2 pound increase. It’s so easy to let pounds add up before taking action and then, you may have regained 5 or more pounds.
- Develop a relapse prevention plan: Have a plan in mind before you need it. Put it into action as soon as a few pounds on the scale stare you down.
- Put a support system in place: Continuous support is a must. What’s your plan to get regular support? Can you rely on a colleague, friend or partner?
- Know what works for you: There’s no single diet or approach that works for everyone. Know what you did to cut calories to lose weight so it may take a few attempts to figure out the exact strategies that work for you to ensure that you keep it off. The only way to see what works is to actually work at keeping it off.
This post is from Hope Warshaw, MMSc, RD, CDE. Hope is a best-selling author and specializes in weight loss and diabetes education. You can read more about reaching your weight goals and keeping the pounds off on her blog.