Secrets of Long-Term Weight Loss Success

Secrets of Long-Term Weight Loss Success

Have you ever done really well on a diet and achieved all of your fitness or weight loss goals? You look great, but you can’t live the rest of your life on 1200 calories a day or zero carbohydrates. So, how is a person to maintain weight loss success without going the rest of their life hungry? Are dieters everywhere destined for a life of ups and downs that will never settle?

The Yo-yo Syndrome

Most people quickly realize that they can’t live their entire lives on restricted eating plans. So, they achieve their goals and then revert back to calorie dense, nutrient empty diets. They quickly regain all of the weight they lost and then some. Back at square one, they choose a new diet plan, perhaps one that’s “more sustainable”, yet the same thing happens. This frustrating cycle is often referred to as yo-yo dieting and is actually as unhealthy as or unhealthier than being overweight.

Common Diet Pitfalls

Yo-yo dieting is caused by a number of “diet” pitfalls – the first one being, “going on a diet”. If you want to get off the weight loss roller coaster, you have to stop dieting and start making lifestyle changes. A “diet” is a temporary means to an end. It provides a short-term answer to a permanent problem. Most diets are too restrictive in nature, difficult to prepare, and bland! No one is ever going to make that a lifelong commitment. If you change your approach – you can change your outcome.

Lifestyle Changes vs. Diets

I’m sure this isn’t the first time you’ve heard of making lifestyle changes instead of dieting. But what does that even mean? Making lifestyle changes occurs gradually. It includes identifying unhealthy lifestyle habits and committing to change one at a time. Over time, you’ve changed them all, and miraculously, achieved your weight loss goals along the way! Here are a few lifestyle changes that provide great weight loss benefits:

  • Drink more water. Studies recommend 64 ounces a day
  • Stop drinking soda
  • Limit alcohol
  • Eat small meals frequently throughout the day
  • Eat a fruit or veggie at every meal
  • Eat slowly and enjoy your food
  • Take a multi-vitamin

You see, the tips here don’t require you to eliminate any food groups (unless you believe soda is a food group!). This approach asks you to make one change, adapt to it, and then add another change etc. So, with each change, you have time to adapt and maintaining it becomes easier.

What else can I do?

Well, if you’re already on a highly restricted eating plan, you might consider slowly reversing your way off of that, in a manner similar to what I described above, but by adding in instead of taking out. You don’t want to ruin your hard work at this point. So, gradually add items back into your diet. For example, add 700 calories a week (a daily increase of 100) to your diet. Sustain this for 2-weeks. Then add 100 more, and so on. Make sure you increase proteins, fats, and carbs together, don’t neglect a macronutrient group.

Once you hit a sustainable intake, begin making gradual lifestyle changes that will allow you to maintain weight loss over time. This is where the steps above come in. With any goal you have in life, it’s important to have a plan that matches your lifestyle. If you’re miserable while trying to achieve your goal, sustainment over time will be difficult. So, be patient, be moderate, and you will be successful in your weight loss journey.