11 Tips to Lose Weight for Good
Ever get excited about weight loss, only to gain it all back? Research shows that roughly 80% of dieters, who shed a significant portion of their body fat, will not maintain that degree of weight loss for 12 months. Ouch!
Sustainable weight loss is hard. It requires a balanced diet and regular physical activity, for anything to lead to long-term success and weight maintenance.
However, the future is bright! In 2022, Nutrisystem’s research found that over 70% of Americans are more health-conscious after Covid. Yet, 52% of those same people surveyed, reported gaining anywhere from 9-20 pounds during the pandemic. Most cited weight loss as their number one priority.
That’s why, in this article, we’ll look at a few ways to not only lose weight, but keep it off for good!
It’s called “sustainable” for a reason. Statistics surrounding long-term weight loss can vary depending on factors like gender, age, starting weight, lifestyle, and other conditions. Here are a few stats to consider on sustainable weight loss:
- The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) reports only 20% of people trying to lose weight are able to maintain a loss of 10% of their starting weight, for at least a year.
- Slow and steady weight loss is more sustainable than rapid weight loss. Losing 1-2 pounds per week is a realistic and safe goal for most people.
- A study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that women who engaged in self-monitoring behaviors, like tracking food intake, calories, and exercise, were more likely to achieve and maintain weight loss.
Eating a solid breakfast every day can curb your cravings later on. If you’re a morning exercise person, this is an opportunity to fuel your workout, leading to better form, faster recovery, and increased performance.
A recent study, “Timing of Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. Effects on Obesity and Metabolic Risk,” found that skipping meals was linked to being overweight and obesity. This type of eating pattern will slow down your metabolism, and can result in eating too much at your next meal.
The exact foods you put in your body, day after day, will make a world of difference. Especially when it comes to shedding pounds, losing weight, and keeping it off for good.
A 2020 study published in The American Journal of Lifestyle Medicines demonstrated that whole-food, plant-based diets are highly effective for long-term weight loss. It was also found to reduce your risk of hypertension and type 2 diabetes.
Your goal should be to eat a balanced, nutritious diet every day with plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and proteins.
This is an excellent technique for building healthy eating habits and good behaviors. Instead of adhering to restrictive diets, counting calories, or feeling guilty about a “slip up,” practicing mindful eating requires paying attention to your hunger cues and the feelings of fullness.
Ultimately, mindful eating makes mealtimes more enjoyable and helps to prevent overeating. It keeps your mind engaged and paying attention to what’s going in your mouth at all times.
It’s easy to fall into the common weight loss trap of obsessing about numbers on the scale, but it’s actually quite counterproductive for sustainable weight loss.
Weighing yourself every day has limitations. For one, it never paints an accurate picture of your actual weight loss, according to the American Heart Association. Additionally, your weight can vary throughout the day based on factors like:
- Fluid intake
- Physical activity
Stepping on the scale too often can also discourage you from meeting your goals.
A healthier way to track weight loss progress is to only weigh yourself once a week, at the same time. Make a schedule. For example, “I will only weigh myself Sunday mornings.” Then jot down the number 4 times a month. Easy!
The next time you get a sharp craving for bad foods, try downing a glass of water first. It may just be that you are thirsty. It also helps your hunger dissipate.
According to a recent study, staying super hydrated leads to weight loss by decreasing the amount you take in, and increasing lipolysis (fat-burning activity). It can also help you burn calories more efficiently and speed up your metabolism.
These are the opposite of the whole foods we mentioned above. These foods just so happen to be the ones we love the most and crave. Salty, sweet, savory—you name it! Just as plant-based whole foods benefit sustained weight loss, processed foods work against it.
In one study, researchers fed participants a variety of heavily processed foods like hot dogs, canned ravioli, pork sausage, tater tots, and chicken nuggets. The other half of the participants in the study consumed whole foods like vegetables, salads, and grilled chicken. They discovered that the people eating a highly processed diet consumed way more calories and packed on an average of two pounds compared to those eating less processed foods.
This is why it is so critical to limit highly processed foods and focus on minimally processed meals. Your life and health depend on it.
Some people are raised with the idea that they have to finish every last bite of food on their plate before they can leave the table. Lots of us have been there. However, this can condition you to lack portion control as an adult and make poorer decisions about the amount of food going into your body.
While that old-school mentality prevents excessive food waste, it’s not exactly the best frame of thinking for slimming down and sustaining weight loss.
A healthier approach to losing weight and keeping it off is to simply serve yourself less at meals or start using smaller plates. You can also try eating smaller meals, more often throughout the day.
You need to be active and stay that way to sustain weight loss. Regular exercise is even more important once you reach your goals, because that is how you stay there.
Besides burning calories, getting a good workout will improve your mental health, increase your confidence, and motivate you to eat better. It’s a total deterrent to making poor food choices.
Why is regular exercise so important? Science says that physical activity bumps up the calories your body burns for energy. That, combined with a slight calorie deficit, is a super effective tool for achieving weight loss goals (per the CDC).
Believe it or not, the more sleep you get, the easier it is to lose weight. According to research by the Sleep Foundation, there is a strong connection between sustainable weight loss and getting a good night’s rest. Just the minimum recommendation of 7 hours per night can help to:
- Regulate your appetite
- Curb cravings
- Improve exercise performance
The verdict is in! Getting ample sleep supports weight loss and improves health.
It’s never a bad idea to keep a food journal of everything going into your body each day. Essentially, tracking what you eat. The daily log can also contain information about how you are feeling after the meal. This helps to gain a better understanding of the way that you eat. Then, you can more accurately visualize where changes need to be made.
A Harvard Health study from 2008 found that people who tracked their food intake dropped double the weight of those who didn’t. It all boils down to accountability and staying on top of your progress.
There’s a famous quote by Jim Rohn: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” This form of thinking also applies directly to your fitness and health. If you surround yourself with like-minded eaters, the law of averages will apply.
Build a community of people that support your weight loss journey and won’t put obstacles in your way. This gives people a huge leg-up towards weight loss goals and helps them keep it off for good!
Maintaining a healthy weight is not just about losing pounds, but also about making sustainable lifestyle changes. This includes everything from getting enough sleeping to choosing better foods, exercising daily, drinking water, and developing healthy habits.
The statistics suggest that although sustainable weight loss is challenging, it’s an achievable goal for those who are committed and put in the hard work!