The Three-Step Solution to Weight Management
You’ve reached your weight-loss goal—congrats! Now to keep those pounds from creeping back on. Statistics show that 20 percent of overweight people who lose at least 10 percent of their starting weight will keep it off for at least one year, but then there’s the other 80 percent… “A lot of people succeed at weight loss, but then have trouble maintaining it,” points out James Hill Ph.D., Director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and co-founder of the National Weight Control Registry, which follows more than 6,000 people who have lost weight and kept it off permanently.
The reason is that once we’ve reached our healthy-weight goal, many of us relapse into our old behaviors. We eat what we want to eat, maybe miss a workout here or there, and then the weight returns. But what about women who succeed at keeping their weight where they want it? What’s their secret? “We’ve seen that people who rely on physical activity to keep their weight in check after they’ve reached their goal are more likely to succeed at weight maintenance,” answers Hill, who is also a member of the Curves and Jenny Craig Science Advisory Board.
Hill and colleagues have come to see weight loss and weight maintenance as two distinct processes. “We believe food restriction is more important in helping people lose weight and that physical activity is more important in maintaining weight.”
You need a thoughtful strategy to help you hover at or near your ideal number on the scale. Here’s the one Hill and colleagues have found works for those women and men who are successful weight maintainers.
1. Increase activity
Focus on increasing physical activity to burn calories, which you can achieve with a combination of Curves, walking, and natural activity such as taking the steps instead of the elevator, parking farther from store entrances, doing household chores, and making time for leisure activities that you enjoy, like gardening.
2. Eat smart.
You no longer need to restrict calories but you do want to keep an eye on consumption of high-calorie foods—limit those high in fat and sugar— says Hill, and pay attention to portion control. “If you indulge on occasion, that’s fine,” he adds. “But make up for it in physical activity.”
3. Weigh yourself at least once a week.
Every day is better, and if you see the number on the scale inching upward, use physical activity and smart eating to send it back down.
It’s a simple 3-step plan that can help you stop yo-yo dieting once and for all.
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