How to Lose Weight and Keep it Off

person standing on white digital bathroom scale

One of the most common goals at the start of a new year is to lose weight. While gym memberships and weight loss programs see a huge boom in business when the new year begins, not everyone keeps up with the regimen of trying to lose weight. Those that do stick to their goal of losing weight often find that they do not manage to keep it off months or years down the road. Here are some of the best tips to not only lose weight but keep it off!

Losing Weight Slowly is Better than Rapid Weight Loss

One of the worst things to do according to health experts is to lose the weight quickly. Diets that advertise “lose 10 pounds in 10 days” are generally not safe diets for most people nor are they proven to work. What does rapid weight loss do to your body? According to WebMd, possible risks from rapid weight loss include:

  • Increased risk of gallstones, occurring in as many as 1 in 4 people with rapid weight loss
  • Dehydration
  • Malnutrition
  • Potentially life-threatening electrolyte imbalances

Not only can rapid weight loss be hard on your body, but it can make it harder to keep the weight off. Instead of trying to lose weight quickly, keep your goals small. For example, think about losing a pound each week.

Replace Unhealthy Eating Patterns with a Healthy Diet

One of the best ways to lose weight and not gain it all back is to think about beginning new healthy eating patterns to replace unhealthy ones. Strict dieting can make it harder in the long run to keep it off since you may end up craving unhealthy, high-fat foods. Research shows that strict diets may program your brain to handle stress differently.

Scientists have discovered that mice ate more high fat foods when they had been placed on a restricted diet in the past. The mice with no history of dieting did not respond to stress by eating more.

Essentially what the body does in times of stress, is to protect itself. So perhaps strict dieting is only going to make it harder for people to not put weight back on later. A healthy diet with good sources of protein, fruits and vegetables and nutritious grains, drinking plenty of water, while cutting out sugars and fats is a much better way to lose weight and keep it off long-term rather than strict dieting.

Avoid Fad Diets or Low Calorie Diets to Lose Weight

Fad diets that restrict calories or certain food groups can often help people lose weight fairly quickly. However, very low calorie diets (without clinical supervision) or are especially dangerous to your health. The only exception to this rule is for people who are obese (with a BMI over 30) and they have medical supervision for a specific very low calorie diet (VLCD). Be sure to consult with a medical care provider to see if a VLCD is appropriate for you.

One of the biggest problems with fad diets is that as soon as you go off them, the weight creeps right back on. A gradual weight loss plan that includes a healthy diet (and of course exercise) is one way to help keep the weight off. It is best then, to avoid fad diets altogether.

Do Detox Diets or Diet Pills Help You Lose Weight?

Diets that are known as cleansing or detoxification diets are not safe and will not work to keep the weight off. Despite the claims of the manufacturers of these diet products and programs, there are currently no pills, supplements or over-the-counter diet medications that are FDA approved or regulated.

So any diet pill companies claiming that you can lose weight and keep it off is not proven by research. Therefore if you take these diet products to lose weight, you are taking them at your own risk.

Find an Exercise Program You Can Stick to

An essential part of losing weight and keeping it off is to exercise regularly. Whether it’s jogging, walking, swimming or aerobics, finding an exercise program that you enjoy doing and can stick to for the long haul is one of the only ways to help keep the weight off.

Exercising with a partner can help those who are more likely to just roll over and sleep for an extra hour versus getting to the gym. Having someone else holding you accountable to exercising regularly is a great way to keep the weight from creeping back.

How Much Exercise Do You Need?

Health experts now recommend that adults get at least:

  • 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise or
  • 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise (such as running) weekly
  • plus strength training exercises on 2 days each week

One of the biggest challenges in weight loss is maintaining your weight. Yo-yo dieting with weight loss followed by weight gain is all too common. But with some basic strategies in place and a commitment to change your lifestyle, you can lose the weight you need to without gaining it all back.

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