I was reading an article recently about a study of folks who had lost a significant amount of weight (30 or 40 pounds or more) and kept it off for at least a year. That’s really the trick – weight loss is only part of the battle, then you have to KEEP it off. Lots of folks lose weight, hit their goal, celebrate achieving their goal and abandon their diets. Then they gain the weight back.
That’s why healthy weight loss can’t be a fad diet, it has to be lifestyle modification.
Here are two facts about the folks who kept that weight off:
1. They don’t skip meals. Some folks think weight loss is about eating one tiny meal a day and starving yourself. But folks who’ve succeeded show that the opposite is true. You eat healthy, and often. And ESPECIALLY they don’t skip breakfast. You need to start your day with some healthy fuel, plus a good healthy breakfast makes you less likely to gorge yourself on an unhealthy lunch.
I’ve started carrying with me a "snack kit" which includes a ziploc bag of pretzels and a few other little healthy snacks that travel well. My mother has been known to keep a little cooler with a couple of Diet Cokes in it. Both of those are good techniques to help fight off hunger during the day and keep your body fueled.
2. They weigh themselves regularly. You don’t have to weigh in every day, but those who maintain their weight loss tend to weigh in at least twice a week – that way if they do have a sudden gain (and a pound or two of fluctuation is normal, don’t panic) they can reexamine what they’re doing with food and exercise and make corrections if necessary. I usually weigh in 2-3 times a week; these last few days I’ve been weighing in once or twice a day but that’s just because of the novelty of wanting to see sub-200 come up on that scale. Now that I’ve achieved it (199.2) I’m sure I’ll go back to only weighing in every 2-3 days just to track progress.
Important: Be sure you’re getting a balanced diet – not just limiting yourself to a narrow range of foods. The diets where you just eat cabbage for two weeks are not healthy. Sorry. One thing that can help is to take a multivitamin every day in order to help make up for any key nutrient shortages but that shouldn’t be a replacement for a balanced diet.