There is significant evidence that losing excess body fat is difficult for most individuals and the risk of regaining lost weight is high. From the first day of initial entry training, an understanding of the fundamental causes of excess weight gain must be communicated to each individual, along with a strategy for maintaining a healthy body weight as a way of life. Once you’ve achieved a healthy weight, by relying on healthful eating and physical activity most days of the week (about 60—90 minutes, moderate intensity), you are more likely to be successful at keeping the weight off over the long term. Losing weight is not easy, and it takes commitment. But if you’re ready to get started, we’ve got a step-by-step guide to help get you on the road to weight loss and better health. So even if the overall goal seems large, see it as a journey rather than just a final destination. You’ll learn new eating and physical activity habits that will help you live a healthier lifestyle. These habits may help you maintain your weight loss over time.
In addition to improving your health, maintaining a weight loss is likely to improve your life in other ways. For example, a study of participants in the National Weight Control RegistryExternal* found that those who had maintained a significant weight loss reported improvements in not only their physical health, but also their energy levels, physical mobility, general mood, and self-confidence.
Maintaining Your Results
While losing weight is difficult for many people, it is even more challenging to keep the weight off. Most people who lose a large amount of weight have regained it 2 to 3 years later. One theory about regaining lost weight is that people who decrease the amount of calories they consume to lose weight experience a drop in the rate their bodies burn calories. This makes it increasingly difficult to lose weight over a period of months. A lower rate of burning calories may also make it easier to regain weight after a more normal diet is resumed. For these reasons, extremely low calorie diets and rapid weight loss are discouraged.
Continuing to use behavioral strategies is necessary to maintaining weight. Be aware of eating as a response to stress. Also, use exercise, activity, or meditation to cope instead of eating. A temporary return to old habits does not mean failure. Paying attention to dietary choices and exercise can help maintain weight loss. Identifying situations, such as negative moods and interpersonal difficulties, and using alternative methods of coping with such situations rather than eating can prevent returning to old habits.