Everyone says that losing the weight is the hard part. For me, keeping the weight off has been the biggest challenge.
I’m not alone either. According to one study, only 20% of people who lose weight are able to keep the weight off for at least one year. Some experts have found that most people who lose a large amount of weight generally gain all that weight back within two to three years.
So, why is it so hard to keep the weight off?
There are two common reasons people regain their weight: extremely strict diets and mindset. Many “fad” diets restrict what you can eat, when you can eat and how much you can eat. Some of them have very low-calorie restrictions; only 500-800 calories can be eaten per day.
And, many times we’re losing weight for the wrong reasons. We’re trying to fit into that wedding dress, impress others at a class reunion, trying to attract that guy or girl we’ve been secretly crushing on or wanting to get back at that person who dumped us. We don’t want a lifestyle change, but a quick fix.
If we approach our weight loss goals with the right mindset (one of having a healthier lifestyle) and we commit ourselves to this goal, it’s possible to lose the weight and keep it off for years.
A long-term research study known as The National Weight Control Registry kept track of more than 10,000 people who lost weight and successfully kept it off for years. The members of this study were able to keep off at least 30 pounds for more than 5 years. Here are a few strategies they reported using to keep their weight off:
- Regular exercise
- Eating breakfast regularly
- Monitoring their weight
- Maintaining a low-calorie, low-fat diet
- Eating on a consistent pattern every day, even weekends
Many members reported participating in high levels of exercise at least one hour a day and weighing themselves at least once a week. The study showed that those participants who didn’t weigh themselves often were more likely to gain weight than those who did.
Research also shows that individuals who are given the freedom to plan their own meals will likely have more success in maintaining their weight loss than those who don’t. In fact, one study found that people who followed low-calorie diets (800 calories a day) regained back an average of nine pounds, while those who ate what they wanted (within healthy-eating guidelines, of course) regained only half that amount or less.
Maintaining weight loss is difficult, but not impossible. I should know. Over 10 years ago, I was a size 24, and made a decision to change my lifestyle. I’m now still holding strong at a size 14.
I am proof that maintaining weight loss for years is possible. You can do it too. Don’t give up!