How to lose weight and keep it off?

Losing weight is difficult. Keeping it off seems almost impossible, according to the data. Unfortunately, studies show that most of us gain weight again within two years, and by five years, almost anything can come back. Furthermore, many people end up gaining more than they have lost. While these stats are daunting, focusing on the end goal — better health and longer life — can increase your chances. The road to a successful weight maintenance plan starts well before you reach your target figure. Here are ways to achieve a healthy weight in the long run.

Fixate on your metabolic health numbers, not the number on the scale

When patients first come to me, they often discuss their goals. Usually those goals include a number. “I want to lose so many pounds,” or “I want to reach this number on the scale.” Rather than the number on the scale, studies show that focusing on the numbers that speak about health can have more impact with ongoing behavioral change. Ditch the scales and focus on your lipid panel, your blood sugar numbers, or maybe even your inflammatory markers. Paying more attention to health rather than weight will change the reason you want to drop pounds in the first place. Other quality of life parameters, such as better sleep, less chronic pain or more energy, can also all be motivators for sustainability. Finally, if you must rely on a scale, choose options that assess body fat and muscle mass.

Learn from weight maintenance fighters

Multiple studies have been done to assess why one person succeeds in losing weight and another does not. Two studies in the journal Obesity surveyed 5,000-6,000 individuals who had participated in a structured weight-loss program. The participants surveyed lost an average of 50 pounds and maintained their weight for three years or more.

Successful dieters from these studies, as well as previous data, were often more likely to do the following:

  • Make healthy food choices most of the time and found these choices effortless and ‘unconscious’.
  • Self-monitoring and a food intake diary.
  • Consume relatively fewer calories, yet more nutritious foods.
  • Engage in a higher level of physical activity.
  • Make goal setting a priority.
  • Celebrate their past achievements and embrace their current health.

Another essential aspect was the mindset – especially in the face of challenges and adversity. While both health and appearance were important motivating factors, increased self-confidence and greater mental and physical fitness topped the list for maintaining healthy habits.

move more

When it comes to weight loss, your diet has been found to play a much larger role in terms of pounds lost. Exercise, it turns out, isn’t the secret weapon for successful weight loss. However, when it comes to keeping those pounds from coming back, you need to exercise more. A recent University of Colorado study found that when individuals exercised, they took more steps per day (about 12,000) and sustained higher energy expenditure. Another study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that to maintain their weight loss, women needed to exercise for at least 55 minutes, five days a week. This recommendation exceeds current physical activity guidelines, which require only 150 minutes of moderate physical activity during the week and two days of muscle-building training.

Adding protein to every meal — such as enjoying a protein omelet for breakfast — has been shown to aid weight loss.Sergio Amiti / Getty Images

Fall in love with proteins

A 2020 study in the Journal of Nutrition found that higher protein diets were associated with a greater ability to maintain weight loss. The study found that having more protein often counteracted the process of adaptive thermogenesis (a state in which the body adjusts to a new weight by altering energy expenditure). An easy way to do this is to add protein to every meal and snack. For example, eating protein for breakfast, hummus as a snack and wild salmon for dinner.

Rate your social environment

Have you ever had a friend tell you that “one bite of something won’t kill you?” A University of North Carolina study found that individuals who lose weight may be subject to a “lean stigma,” in which friends and family knowingly or unknowingly sabotage or undermine attempts at successful weight loss. Researchers found that effective communication techniques were a way to reduce comments and discouraging attitudes from friends and family. For example, telling your loved ones in advance about your motivation to lose weight or to lose weight as a way to achieve better health, not better appearance, were often successful ways to avoid lean stigma interactions.

Embrace and adapt to your body’s survival mechanism

Studies show that frequent attempts to lose weight and then gain it back (often called a yo-yo dieting) can negatively affect health and lead to an increased risk of further weight gain. A 2016 study found that repeated dieting can cause the brain to think it is going through periods of famine. In response, the body continues to work on fat storage to prepare for the next round. The body adapts and becomes efficient at the current lower weight, and if you don’t adapt with it, you will most likely regain the weight.

Imagine putting on a 20-pound vest and going around the block. The walk would be challenging and you may have to work harder during the activity. The effort is higher, and with it the calories you burn. Now imagine taking off the vest. The body no longer has to work as hard to get you around the block. If you’ve lost 50 pounds and haven’t changed your physical activity or eating habits, you’re more likely to regain that weight. Your metabolism is working with the new weight, so constant adjustment is essential.

Take a break from dieting

If your idea of ​​weight loss and weight maintenance is a “diet,” then studies show you’re most likely doomed to fail. A 2017 randomized controlled trial found that individuals who took a break from dieting were more likely to lose weight and keep it off. The cornerstone of any diet is often restriction. The more limited, the less we lose. So take a break from dieting and embrace lifestyle changes instead.

Weight loss, especially when the reduction occurs in the abdomen, can have a significant impact on health and longevity. When you focus on longevity, happiness and more energy, your reasons for losing weight in the first place will be clear and your ability to maintain better health will be easier.

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