10 Ways to Keep Weight Off After a Diet

keep weight off after a diet
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You probably thought that dieting was the hardest part of weight loss. But for many people, trying to keep weight off is a greater challenge. Only about 20 percent of dieters maintain weight loss for more than a year.

So what's the difference between people who keep weight off and people who regain the weight? These are the top reasons that people pack on the pounds. Make sure you don't fall victim to any of these common blunders so you stay slim for life.

10 Ways to Keep Weight Off

  1. Avoid very low-calorie diets. People who choose very low-calorie diets are more likely to regain weight. But dieters people who choose slow and steady weight loss tend to keep weight off. If you've already slimmed down on a juice fast or other quick weight loss method, you can't change the past. But you can choose a better diet the second time around. Diets that promote slower weight loss usually help you to learn the lifestyle skills that keep the weight off for the long-term.
  2. Don't get lazy about your eating habits. Are you starting to make common portion size mistakes? Are you sure that you're eating the right amount of food at each meal? After a diet, it's easy to relax your eating habits a bit. But if you add more food to your plate and more calories to your eating plan too quickly the weight comes back. To keep the pounds off for good, do regular check-ups and measure your portions, count calories and calculate your energy balance to stay lean and fit.
  1. Manage stress without food. A research report in Obesity Reviews found that people who eat in response to negative emotions are more likely to regain weight. That means that if you can use food-free methods to manage your stressful moments, you're more likely to eat less and keep weight off. If you eat when you're upset, learn healthy ways to manage your emotions to avoid overeating. And if you continue to struggle with stress-related eating, confront the deeper emotional issues with a therapist.
  1. Banish negative beliefs. A report in the journal Clinical Diabetes on weight gain prevention suggests that people who have low "self-efficacy" at the beginning of their diet are more likely to regain weight. "Self-efficacy" is a word that therapists use to define your beliefs about your ability to accomplish certain tasks. So, people who believe that they can't lose weight, have a harder time losing weight and are more likely to put the pounds back on. But here's the good news: you can build self-efficacy by learning just a few simple habits. And even better, it helps you to become successful in other areas of your life.
  2. Sleep better to manage hunger hormones. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that certain hormones may cause you to become more hungry after a diet. Researchers studied the levels of leptin, a hormone that helps you feel satiated, and ghrelin, a hormone that increases hunger, in 50 people who had lost weight. They found that hormone levels stayed in "diet- mode" even after the diet is over. The research was limited in scope, but it suggests a possible reason that dieters often regain weight. So what's the fix? Researchers don't know how to change these hormones, but there is some evidence that suggests getting a good night's sleep may help.
  1. Increase your physical activity. Exercise and non-exercise movement (like walking, carrying groceries or gardening) are important to keep weight off. The American College of Sports Medicine says that that people should participate in at least 250 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise to maintain their weight after losing. That's roughly 35 minutes per day.
  2. Clear your roadblocks. Diabetes researchers have found that people who perceive barriers to weight loss are more likely to regain weight after it has been lost. For example, you might believe that food is too expensive or that you can’t eat healthy meals away from home. But you can develop clever strategies to get around these obstacles to keep your body slim and fit.
  3. Find support. Your friends and family may have rallied around you while you were dieting, but now that your diet is over they may say and do things that hurt your weight maintenance efforts. So do you need to ditch your friends? No. Just learn to ask for continued support to keep them on your side for the long haul.
  4. Look into your past. According to data from the Diabetes Institute, you are more likely to regain weight if you’ve regained weight before. Losing weight and regaining weight becomes a "weight cycling habit". There is conflicting research about the long-term effects of this habit, but in some studies, yo-yo dieting has been linked to an increased risk of certain diseases including hypertension. So are you doomed for failure if you've lost and gained weight before? Not necessarily. Use the medical warning as an incentive to bolster your weight maintenance efforts and keep weight off to stay healthy. Talk to your doctor, get support from other former dieters and stay active to stay lean.
  5. Ditch "all or nothing" thoughts. What happens in your head may play a big role in what happens when you step on the scale. Experts believe that a pattern of “all or nothing thinking” can lead to binge eating after a diet is over. The fix? Learn effective short and long-term goal setting strategies so that you learn to recognize the small accomplishments and set-backs as stepping stones to a larger goal.

You can keep weight off after a diet. But if you’ve regained weight after a period of successful dieting, don't panic. Try to keep the setback in perspective. Remind yourself of the strategies that made your diet and exercise program work in the first place and try to revisit them to keep the pounds off for good.


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