Losing weight is one thing, but keeping it off can prove an even more difficult task. What happens when the goal is achieved? It’s easy to revert back to old habits, creating that “yo-yo diet” effect in which weight is lost and gained in a cyclical manner. Fortunately, new research provides insight into the methods of those who have successfully maintained their weight loss.
Harvard Medical School recently published a special report documenting the habits of people who lost weight and kept it off for many years. These people have been successful in their journey to a healthy lifestyle, and at over 10,000 strong, they prove that keeping the weight off is possible. Here are four ways they suggest for keeping the weight off and maintaining the healthy habits that brought about that change in the first place.
1. Staying Active Is Key
It’s no secret that exercise is a guiding factor in weight loss. Burning calories through exercise is a proven way to achieve a healthy weight. This is especially true for resistance or strength training, which builds lean muscle mass and causes the body to burn more calories over an extended period of time. By sticking to an exercise routine, there can be continuous improvements in body composition, and a healthy weight can be maintained easily.
2. Monitor Weight Regularly
According to the report from Harvard Health, the majority of people who lost 30 pounds or more weighed themselves once a week; one-third even reported weighing themselves daily.
In addition, the majority of participants also kept a food diary in which they recorded their meals each day. Self-monitoring is proven to aid in weight loss, and it would do good to continue the habit once weight loss is achieved.
3. Watch Less Television
Watching television is generally a very sedentary activity. In fact, certain studies show that the more television a person watches each week, the more likely they are to have a higher body fat percentage. 60 percent of people who watch three or more hours of TV per day are obese, and that percentage is cut in half for those who watch one hour or less. Of successful weight-losers, more than 60 percent report watching less than 10 hours of TV per week.
4. Follow a Healthy Diet, but Avoid Extremes
While weight loss requires burning more calories than are consumed through food, an extremely calorie-restricted diet may not be the most effective way to maintain weight loss. Instead, it was found that people who ate what they wanted, but followed a healthy eating guideline, were more successful in maintaining long-term weight loss.
Keeping the weight off is possible! With a few specific lifestyle choices, maintenance can be attained, and a healthy lifestyle can continue for years to come. If maintenance or weight loss proves difficult for you, there are many licensed professionals, such as doctors, nutritionists and personal trainers, who can assist in the process.