Today’s guest post is from Daniel Depp, the author of The 30 Day Diet system: a personalized online weight loss program designed to help you lose weight in 30 days or less, change your habits and keep the weight off permanently. He’s a former professional athlete and the successful author of numerous weight loss articles, videos, e-books and publications that have helped thousands of people lose weight, look good and stay that way – even if they’ve failed in the past.
Losing weight and keeping it off
How many people do you know who have lost weight on a weight loss diet or program at one time or another? Probably quite a few, now ask yourself how many of those people have managed to keep it off? I bet it’s considerably less – perhaps nobody.
It might seem hard to believe but it would certainly seem that losing weight permanently is far more difficult to achieve than short-term weight loss. Studies have shown that many dieters are able to lose weight initially, but before long they slip back to old habits and the weight returns to haunt them. Sometimes, they even end up weighing more than when they started!
Why is this? Well, it could be for any number of reasons; inadequate motivation, hunger, bad days, stress. The ultimate challenge is to sustain healthy lifestyle habits without the compliments from friends, family and colleagues, or seeing the numbers on the scale descending.
In order to maintain your weight loss, it’s time to accept that eating healthy and being physically active IS your new lifestyle. Focus on the rewards: lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, sleeping better, getting off medication, feeling energized and confident. Don’t think of your weight loss efforts as dieting as this implies there’s a beginning and an end.
Instead think of it as shifting to a new gear in which you are adopting small and realistic lifestyle changes. You need to continue the behavior that lost you the weight in the first place, and that behavior needs to be sustainable or else weight-regain is inevitable.
The 7 keys to long-term weight loss
Let’s take a look at how the people who have managed to successfully lose weight and keep it off – these dieters have beaten the odds and remained at their desired weight. Remember, the following information doesn’t necessarily show you how to lose weight fast, but more importantly, how to sustain your weight loss until you’re at your target weight and remain there indefinitely.
Back in the late ‘90s, researchers James Hill and Rena Wing set-up the National Weight Control Registry and tracked the habits of over 6,000 people who had lost at least 30 pounds and kept it off for more than one year. Their studies showed that these successful dieters lost, on average, 70 pounds and stayed at their desired weight for six years.
They also discovered that they shared seven important habits:
1. Weight losers follow a calorie-controlled diet that is relatively low in fat
Portions should be small and foods such as soup and vegetables are a good idea. Another is to limit the variety of food you eat thus simplifying your diet. Choose calories wisely – don’t waste them on calorie dense food with little nutritional value!
2. Successful dieters have everything planned out
They follow a consistent eating pattern each day that establishes a routine – this set eating plan is the cornerstone of weight loss success. Even your indulgences can be planned out in advance, this way you have something to look forward to and keep you motivated whilst also eliminating many of the cravings associated with being unable to eat junk food.
3. Weight loss maintainers eat frequently, up to five or six times per day and every three to four hours
Nothing kills your diet faster than hunger, and eating regular meals helps control blood sugar while also managing your appetite. Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day as thirst can sometimes be confused with hunger and those extra fluids will take the edge off your appetite and help your body burn those calories more efficiently.
4. They never skip breakfast
People who are struggling to lose weight seem to forget that breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. After all, you haven’t eaten for probably eight or more hours and your body needs fuel for the day ahead. Start eating a healthy breakfast each morning and you’ll notice a vast improvement in your performance. The first meal of the day doesn’t have to be fancy, fixing up a quick bowl of whole-grain, high-fiber cereal with a bit of fruit and some non-fat yogurt will do just fine.
5. Weight loss maintainers do some sort of physical activity for 60 minutes each day
The majority of people who lose weight fast and keep it off walk five to six miles per day. That may seem like a lot but many experts agree that you could get away with less than five miles so long as you take those walks at a high intensity. Add some hills, pick up the pace and boost your heart rate to boost that metabolism and fire the fat burning furnace.
6. Successful dieters regularly take their measurements
They tend to measure their progress often, at least once a week they’ll jump on the scales and see how they are getting on. You’ve got two to three pounds to play with. If the scale goes beyond that number you know you’ve got to tighten the belt by curbing calories and/or increasing activity levels.
7. They limit time in front of the TV
Reducing the time you spend in front of the tube can have surprising results in terms of weight loss. Typically, successful weight losers watch about 10 hours of television per week, which is approximately one third of the American average. This obviously saves time that can instead be spent on working out or preparing quality food, it also means you’re less likely to indulge in unhealthy snacks while watching the latest American Idol episode.
Next stop, permanent weight loss
These seven keys to permanent weight loss have worked for others – and they can work for you, too. Of course it’s vitally important to stay positive throughout any weight loss program and to choose the right one! Sometimes what works for one person, isn’t necessarily the best option for another . It’s best to create a personalized plan that’s tailored to your own needs and preferences.
Before I sign off, I’d like to add one last thing: get realistic. If you want to lose weight permanently you need to take things slowly. Work on changing your eating habits and improving your lifestyle choices. These things don’t happen overnight but by gradually making positive changes you’ll start seeing lasting results.