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Weight Loss for the Long Haul

Take it off and keep it off.

woman on scale looking very excited

On a journey to lose weight? That’s great! It’s not an easy thing to do. And once you do successfully lose weight, keeping it off for good can be even harder. But there are steps you can take to help you lose safely, effectively and with lasting results.

Get off to the right start

Some of the “Lose weight fast!” ads you see may tempt you, but steer clear. While you might lose weight initially, it’s likely you’ll fall back into old habits — and the extra pounds will soon return.

Instead, talk to your doctor before you start trying to lose, so you can find out the safest and most effective plan for you. Ask about your ideal healthy weight — and how much and what kind of physical activity is right for you. For lasting results, think slow and steady, aiming to lose one to two pounds per week.

Tips and tricks

Once you’ve lost the weight, follow these tips to help keep it off:

  • Watch your diet just as you did while losing. Keep meals varied and nutritious. Stick to a meal schedule to help you resist snacking when you are not hungry.
  • Take in only as many calories as you “spend” in exercise and daily activities to maintain your current weight. To lose weight, take in fewer calories than you “spend.”
  • Eat breakfast. People who eat breakfast daily tend to keep hunger at bay and may avoid overeating later on in the day.
  • Plan ahead for special occasions like vacations or holidays. What can you do to avoid temptation and stay on track?
  • Get support from friends and family.
  • Monitor your weight, diet and exercise regularly.  If your weight is creeping up, make the necessary adjustments to get back on track as soon as possible.
  • Stay positive and don’t give up.

The importance of physical activity

Staying active is more important than ever when trying to keep the weight off. Find exercise options that you enjoy, and build time into your daily routine to get moving. Aim for at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity. Do some kind of strength-building exercise twice a week.

Make it a lifelong commitment

Long-term weight-control success depends on making your overall health a priority. And that means eating healthy foods and watching calories, exercising regularly and getting support from others. Maintaining weight loss takes commitment, focus and a willingness to swap unhealthy habits for more positive ones. When you embrace these new habits as part of your lifestyle, your hard work will pay off today and well into the future.

Note: If you’re pregnant, physically inactive or have a health condition such as arthritis, diabetes or heart disease, check with your doctor before starting an exercise program or increasing your activity level. He or she can tell you what types and amounts of activities are safe for you.

By Laura Grathwol, Contributing Writer

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2008 physical activity guidelines for Americans. Accessed: October 18, 2017.
National Institutes of Health. Why is a healthy weight important? Accessed: October 18, 2017.
American Heart Association. Keeping a healthy body weight. Accessed: October 18, 2017.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Keeping it off. Accessed: October 18, 2017.

Last Updated: October 18, 2017