Lasting and long term weight loss may seem like an uphill battle, but it is possible.
Here's what we know works, from research on long-term losers.
If you've ever dropped pounds and then tried to maintain your weight, you've probably blamed yourself when the number on the scale started creeping back up. With enough resolve, shouldn't you be able to avoid regain? Well, emerging research shows that faulty willpower is not the main culprit. "Multiple systems in your body conspire against you in a push to regain lost weight," explains Michael Rosenbaum, MD, an assistant professor of clinical medicine at Columbia University Medical Center and a top obesity researcher. After you've slimmed down, your brain, muscles and hormones work together to slow down your metabolism, so you naturally burn hundreds of fewer calories each day. In fact, Rosenbaum's research reveals that people who've lost weight require 400 fewer calories per day to keep the scale steady compared with people who never went through a slim down. Fortunately, there are proven ways to counteract these pound-hoarding tendencies. "It's not a losing battle," stresses Holly Wyatt, MD, associate director of the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center at the University of Colorado, Denver. "You can keep the weight off for the long run." By analyzing data from the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) - a database of more than 10,000 people who have lost at least 30 pounds and kept them off for a minimum of one year - experts have discovered strategies that work, many of them quite different from the ones that help take off pounds in the first place. "Losing weight and maintaining it are really two different animals," Dr. Wyatt notes. Mastering the art of maintenance is the key to making sure your goal weight turns into your new normal.
Success Secret #1
YOU HAVE TO MOVE EVERY SINGLE DAY
Success Secret #2
MAINTAINING MUSCLE MATTERS
Success Secret #3
MEDITERRANEAN MEANS MORE BURN
Success Secret #4
YOUR SCALE IS A WEIGHT LOSS WEAPON
Success Secret #5
THAT RUMOR ABOUT BREAKFAST BEING CRUCIAL IS TRUE
If you're tempted to start your day with a cup of coffee and nothing else, consider this fact: 78% of the thin-for-lifers from the NWCR group rarely, if ever, skip breakfast! And they make it a hearty one. "Most people simply don't eat enough at breakfast time," says Angela Lemond, RDN, a nutritionist based in Plano, Texas, and a spokesperson from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "It's a meal, not a snack, so eat up." For a woman who is moderately active (exercises 30-60 minutes three times a week), your breakfast should be between 300-500 calories and rich in protein. Research from the University of Missouri-Columbia found that folks who ate 35 grams of protein at breakfast felt fuller longer and had fewer cravings, making them much less likely to snack on high fat or high sugar foods later in the day. Try oatmeal with fat-free milk and some eggs on the side, or a bowl of Greek yogurt with nuts and fresh fruit. Then follow up with a mid-morning snack and a relatively early lunch. About 50-60% of your calories should be consumed by 2 pm.," says Lemond. "When you front-load your day, you get a better energy balance, which helps you ultimately make better choices.
Success Secret #6
TRYING TO EAT PERFECTLY IS A RECIPE FOR FAILURE
The occasional indulgence does more than just keep you sane - it keeps you slender for the long haul. "Being too rigid about eating healthily means eventually you're much more likely to go off track," points out J. Graham Thomas, PhD, assistant professor at the Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center of the Miriam Hospital in Providence, R.I., and a member of the research team for the NWCR.
"Having a more flexible approach, which allows for the occasional indulgence, ultimately helps you control your weight better over the long term."
Since life would be pretty boring if you could never have that side of fries, keep the bulk of your diet well-balanced but allow yourself occasional goodies. "I call it the 80/20 rule," says Jennifer McDaniel, RDN, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "Eat healthy the vast majority of the time, and you can still have room for those treats." You get the brownie and buff body. Who can argue with that?
Source: Alyssa Shaffer