In my years of working with clients and helping conquer their goal to lose weight and keep it off, I have noticed similarities in the ongoing struggles they have encountered. Considering that approximately 1/3 of weight loss is regained in the first year and about 2/3 can be regained within 4-5 years, this signifies to me that we need to learn from people who have continually lost weight and maintained their weight for longer than 5 years.

The National Weight Control Registry tracks individuals who have successfully lost at least 30 pounds and kept it off. Their research has shown the following positive characteristics for these successful individuals. The common behaviors include tracking their weight, monitoring food intake, maintaining a low-fat and low calorie diet, eating breakfast, and engaging in one hour of physical activity every day.

Based on the information from the NWCR, we can establish the foundation for healthy and sustainable strategies for continuous weight loss and maintenance.

1) Monitor and Track: Record your food intake in a meal log on a daily basis and choose one day per week to weigh yourself. By continually monitoring your weight and tracking your food intake, you will be able to effectively manage your weight loss and keep consistency in weight maintenance.

2) Eat Smaller Meals and More Frequently: It has been recommended by medical doctors and registered dietitians to consume approximately 5 small meals per day. Establishing regular times to eat your meals and the appropriate portions for each meal will help increase your metabolism and cut your total daily calories. Don’t forget the importance of starting your day with a healthy and nutritious breakfast (the most important meal of the day).

3) Consume Nutritious Meals: Eating foods that are all natural and organic, contain whole grains and high in fiber, low in sodium and sugar, and are lean and low in fat are the best choices to sustain healthy habits. By eating food that is prepared fresh every day, you will eliminate artificial flavors and sweeteners, and many harmful chemicals needed to preserve packaged food. Try to prepare as much of your food as possible so you really know what is in it.

4) Pre-Plan and Stay Organized: Planning ahead of time is critical to short term results and long term success. By simply planning out your daily menu and shopping for all ingredients needed, you will alleviate grabbing for the wrong food when you become hungry.

5) Increase Activity Level: Incorporating at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day will help burn more fat and reduce your overall weight. Find new and interesting ways to increase your daily activities without going to the gym. By following these simple steps new behaviors will begin and positive change will occur. You will achieve your weight loss…

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