Over the years as I’ve counseled individuals for weight loss, I’ve learned that losing weight can sometimes be the easy part. Keeping the weight off becomes a matter of life long patterns established over time. (See Habits below). What sets those who keep weight off apart from those who don’t? There has been plenty of research on the matter and here’s what we know AND here’s what I’ve learned. But first . . .
A word about “habit”… According to Dictionary.com, a “habit” denotes “patterns of behavior established by continual repetition. Habit applies to a behavior or practice so ingrained that it is often done without conscious thought.” Synonyms for “habit” include “practice, custom, usage.” Thin habits need to be permanent to be positive. Thin people’s habits are not something they do just for a little while and then stop. Nope … thin people’s habits are forever. That’s what keeps them thin!
1. Eat breakfast: The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR), which is tracking over 10,000 individuals who have lost significant amounts of weight and kept it off for long periods of time, reports that eating breakfast — especially a high protein/fiber cereal breakfast — is associated with better weight control. Best choices are unsweetened cereals without added fat calories, dyes and artificial flavorings … avoid cereals labeled “crunchy” or that are coated in sugar.
2. Be Active Everyday: It’s not just about what you eat, but how your body burns those calories. Building muscle is key to keeping the weight off. Make exercise your best friend, and your body and your spirit will reap the benefits! Go here to watch a 9 1/2 minute video about the single best thing you can do for your health.
3. Monitor Yourself: Take action when necessary. Everyone might overeat occasionally — special occasions when even naturally thin people overeat. But thin people don’t throw up their hands and give up! They get back to their good habits and increase activity. The NWCR reports that successful maintainers weigh themselves at least weekly and take action if they’ve gained.
4. Stop Watching the Clock: Your stomach tells you when to eat, and if you “listen,” it will tell you when you’re full. Thin people eat when they’re hungry and stop when they’re full. Even if it’s lunch time, if you’re not hungry, have a small snack and eat the rest later, when you are hungry. No need to finish everything on the plate if you’re satisfied.
5. Eat Less Fat: Just choosing lower-calorie versions of regular foods is an important and effective strategy to stay thin. Whole-milk dairy products contain a lot of saturated fat and calories; choose lowfat cheeses, yogurt, milk, sour cream and ice cream. Instead of fried, choose grilled, baked or broiled foods. Have a baked potato instead of french fries. Put salsa on that potato and hold the butter.