It's been a lot of really hard work, but you've persevered and managed to lose weight and hit your target goal. You understand the importance of reducing belly fat to ward off heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer, and want your hard work to be for life. And yet the urge to eat a sugary donut or super sized fry makes you wonder how you're going to be able to keep the weight off permanently.
Only 1 in 6 Can Maintain Weight Loss
Starting a new diet and watching the scale drop each week is exciting, and provides the initial enticement to keep up with your weight loss program. Once you reach your goal, the excitement fades and pressure from friends, family and the constant barrage of junk food marketers is enough to make you stray from a healthy lifestyle.
You're not alone, as research from the Penn State College of Medicine finds that only 1 in 6 people who have been overweight or obese are able to maintain their weight loss for more than a year. Sustainable weight loss can be a very complicated process. In addition to following a reduced calorie diet with regular physical activity, it's important to control confounding factors such as stress, mood and lifestyle changes which can cause the pounds to reappear.
Attitude is Key to Permanent Weight Loss
When excess weight is lost too quickly, our innate survival mechanism takes control of our subconscious mind in an attempt to replace stored fat, considered key to perpetuating the species. While we have no control over generations of genetic predisposition to resist lost body fat, we do have the power of mind and attitude which can help us overcome the urge to fall back into old habits. Nutritional experts have compiled important tips to help you keep the weight off for good.
Tip 1: Don't Skip Meals
Skipping meals is the biggest mistake people make when trying to maintain lost weight. The thought is they'll avoid the calories and maybe even drop a few more pounds. Our metabolism is quite sophisticated, and will force you to make up the difference and then some through between meal snacking. Plan to eat 3 to 5 small well balanced meals each day to keep your metabolism burning efficiently while reducing the opportunity for a calorie packed junk food splurge.
Tip 2: Weigh Yourself Weekly
Weigh yourself once a week on the same day and time, and keep track of the results in a journal. This creates an important awareness of your current weight and allows for adjustments if you have strayed from your program. Make adjustments accordingly to maintain a constant weight.
Tip 3: Eat a Variety of Foods
Your new diet is a lifestyle which you must be able to maintain permanently. By including healthy choices from all food groups, you provide your body with all the critical nutrients and reduce the likelihood you'll want to binge between meals.
Tip 4: Physical Activity Every Day
Regular exercise must be a natural part of your new reduced weight lifestyle. If physical activity seems like a chore, you need to find something different. Remaining active throughout the day should be natural for most people after weight loss, and is critical to your permanent success.
Millions of people are on a weight reduction program at any given time, yet the sobering fact is the vast majority will pack the pounds back on in the near future. Genetics exerts a powerful influence over lost weight, ensuring our survival when food was scarce. We can overcome this evolutionary mechanism with a positive attitude and mindful approach to achieve permanent weight loss for life.