While losing weight is difficult for many people, it is even more challenging to keep weight off. Unfortunately most who lose a large amount of weight regain it a few years later. One theory about regaining lost weight is that people who decrease their caloric intake to lose weight experience a drop in their metabolic rate. This makes it even more difficult to lose weight over time. A lower metabolism may also makes it easier to regain weight after a more normal diet is resumed. So don’t try extremely low calorie diets and lose the weight at a slow pace — half kilo to one kilo a week is recommended.
Also, incorporating long-term lifestyle changes will increase the chance of successful long-term weight loss.
After losing weight, you still have to be vigilant about your food intake and physical activity. Whatever strategies you used for losing weight will have to be maintained at times . Remember how hard you worked — don’t throw it away.
- Support systems — A study conducted by the US National Weight Control Registry found people who lost weight and continued bi-monthly support group meetings for one year maintained their full weight loss. Study participants who didn’t attend regained almost half of the weight.
- Physical activity — This is more important than ever. Studies show that even exercise that is not rigorous, such as walking and using stairs, has a positive effect but it has to be done routinely. Don’t be sedentary, monitor your physical activity and always look for reasons to move.
- Diet and exercise — Both are needed for maintaining weight. A study by the National Weight Control Registry found that nearly all of 784 study participants who had lost at least 30 pounds, and had maintained that loss for one year or longer, used diet and exercise to not only lose the weight, but also to maintain the weight loss.
- Go off slowly. Once your desired weight has been reached, you can add calories gradually — about 200 calories of healthy, low-fat food to your daily intake. See how this works — if you are still losing weight, then you can add more calories to you daily diet until the right balance of calories to maintain the desired weight has been determined. Keep a record of this as well as your exercise to get the right balance for you.
Continue to use behavioral strategies to help maintain weight. Be aware of stress and boredom eating and always have strategies for coping when faced with social eating.
A return to old habits does not mean failure. Just analyze the situation, take a step back and get back on track. Identify your weak points such as negative moods and interpersonal difficulties. Understanding your weak moments will help you keep control.