Everyone wants to lose those last five pounds. But keeping the weight off can be hard. Maybe in the past you’ve been successful, but somewhere down the road those pounds snuck back. Losing weight and keeping it off can be difficult, but new research suggests your initial weight loss can determine how successful you will be in the long run.
Link between initial weight loss and long-term success
Published in the July issue of Obesity, researchers examined weight loss in patients to help determine long-term success. The Look AHEAD weight loss study is the largest of its kind within the United States. By using diet and exercise researchers can determine the long-term success of weight loss.
The research examined 2,290 participants from the Look AHEAD study. These individuals had Type 2 diabetes, a body mass index less than 25kg/m2 and were between the ages of 45 and 76. Patients participated in behavioral lifestyle intervention that included treatment meetings and a regime of specific, physical activities as well as dietary goals.
In the first year of study, treatment was frequent and reduced in each passing year up to eight years. By the end of the study researchers found those who experienced the most success had the best results of weight loss within the first two months. Based on this, researchers are suggesting weight-loss programs should be strictly followed within the first two months to achieve long-term success.
Top 6 Tips to maintain Weight
If you’re fed up with your weight yo-yoing, and want to see some long-term results, your best bet is to work your hardest within 60 days. For the best results, try some of these tips to maintain weight loss:
- It’s okay to cheat – People think dieting is all or nothing, but for long-term success it’s OK to “cheat.” Restricting yourself completely can leave you resenting your diet and becoming unhappy, so you binge on junk food. Designate one night a week to have a cheat meal.
- Stay hydrated – People often confuse hunger with being thirsty. Even the slightest drop in hydration can lead to hunger pains as well as brain fog and fatigue. Staying hydrated will keep you feeling fuller longer, and will minimize how much you eat.
- Never skip a meal – Reducing calories may be an effective means of losing weight, but it should never be done through skipping a meal. When we skip a meal our body stores fat that is normally used as energy because it goes into starvation mode. Your best bet is to enjoy frequent, smaller meals throughout the day.
- Know when to stop…eating that is – Ever been presented with a buffet of food and felt the need to have it all? Knowing when to stop and recognizing when you’re full is key to maintaining weight loss. Once again staying hydrated can help promote feelings of fullness, so drink up.
- Make healthy swaps – Did you know avocados can be used instead of butter? Applesauce and ripened bananas are great for baking? Learn cooking alternatives to make your food options healthier.
- Exercise – This is a given. You can’t keep adding calories without burning them off. Fueling your body should be for energy, and energy is what you need to exercise. Keep in mind exercise doesn’t have to be intense either – even moderate intensity can achieve results.
If you want to start seeing results, these tips can definitely help. But by keeping the new study in mind, try and stick to a program or plan strictly for at least two months. If you can get over that time hurdle, you’ll be in it for the long haul.
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