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It seems that everyone is concerned with losing weight and fewer people are worried about keeping it off. While weight loss is the natural first goal, knowing how to maintain a healthy weight beforehand will help ensure that you keep it off once that goal is achieved.
For many, weight maintenance is a learned behavior. After struggling with your weight, you learn how better to manage your waistline. Through proper diet and regular exercise, you can keep a consistent weight and eliminate the negative effects of yo-yo dieting.
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, almost half of the adult population in the United States is trying to lose weight at any given time. This isn’t a bad thing, although it would be nice if all of those attempts were successful. The vast majority of dieters, even those who lose weight, will not keep the weight off.
In order to ensure your weight-loss successes are not fleeting, you must be prepared to continue healthy habits throughout your life, not just until you reach your goal weight. The true benefits of a healthy weight can only be reaped through lasting changes. These benefits include higher confidence, lower stress, and lower risk of numerous diseases.
The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) is the largest prospective investigation of long-term, successful weight-loss maintenance. Established in 1994, the NWCR tracks more than 5,000 individuals who have not only lost significant amounts of weight, but also kept it off for long periods of time. Here are the common-sense strategies they’ve used to maintain their weight losses:
Seventy-eight percent of NWCR members never skip the most important meal of the day. Eating in the morning can keep you from indulging in less-than-healthy snacks later in the day. Breakfast eaters, on average, weigh less than people who skip breakfast. Also, eating in the morning gives your body the energy needed to start the day with a good attitude and focus.
Seventy-five percent of NWCR members engage in this healthy habit, which keeps them in tune with their progress. Your weight fluctuates throughout the week depending on hormone levels, food intake, exercise, and water retention, just to name a few. By weighing yourself at the same time every week you can keep a close eye on how your habits affect your weight, reining in your eating, or boost your workouts when you begin to see the scale tipping in the wrong direction.
Sixty-two percent of NWCR members watch less than 10 hours of TV per week. It sounds simple, but watching television truly makes you fat. This is thought to be due to the combination of reduced activity levels and mindless eating. Whatever the reason, the solution is to minimize the time spent glued to the tube.
Ninety percent of NWCR members exercise one hour per day on average. Exercise should be a lifelong habit in everyone’s life. Not only will it keep your weight in check, it can help reduce stress and prevent disease. A combination of cardiovascular activities, strength training, and flexibility training can help create the most well-rounded fitness plan.
Create a life that is conducive to weight management. Make it harder to fail and easier to succeed. This is possible when you make little changes like:
While statistics may show that your chances of regaining weight are pretty good, this should provide even greater motivation for keeping it off. A positive attitude and dedication to lasting health can go a long way in weight-loss maintenance. By keeping the weight off, you are setting yourself up for a long and healthy life.
Written by: Leslie Goldman, MPH
Medically reviewed on: Nov 06, 2014: Brenda B. Spriggs, MD, MPH, MBA
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