Most people understand that the most effective way to lose weight is to eat less and exercise more, even still people tend to look for the latest and greatest in quick weight loss schemes. From super-low-fat and severely carbohydrate restricted diets to meal-replacements and strict calorie counting, every method has its own following that swears by it. On the other hand, all these diets have droves of unsuccessful people who have failed to meet their goals.
After extensive researched conducted on individuals who lost more than 30lbs and kept it off for more than one year, an abundance of tried-and-true tips were uncovered to help people reach their weight loss goals. The following ten insights were the results of this research:
- Control portions: As standard portions have gotten larger, so have the consumers. The only remedy is to pay close attention to serving sizes, successful “losers” control portions. In fact, some research suggests that portion control is the greatest predictor of successful weight loss. People can help control their portions by learning to read nutrition labels, measuring out servings, eating only one serving, using smaller serving dishes, and resisting the urge to “clean the plate.”
- Be mindful: Encourage yourself to eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. That means paying attention to everything you eat. You should ask yourself: Do I eat when I am bored, stressed, sad, tired, and sometimes even when I’m full? Emotional eating can wreak havoc on a well-planned weight management-program. You should ask yourself “why?” before heading to the pantry or refrigerator.
- Exercise: More than 94% of participants in the national weight control registry (NWCR) increased their physical activity in their effort to lose weight. In fact, many reported walking for at least one hour per day, and exercise was crucial for those who kept the weight off. As people dropped their fitness programs, they began to put on the pounds. As people lose weight, a proportion of each pound comes from muscle, that slows down the metabolism and makes it difficult to keep the weight off. While walking and other cardiovascular exercise is important for burning calories, it is important to participate in a resistance program to preserve lean tissue and maintain your metabolic rate.
- Check the scale: While it is not advisable to become obsessive about weight to the nearest 0.01 pounds, people who maintain weight loss keep tabs on the scale, weighing themselves at least once per week. This way they can identify small weight increases in time to take corrective action.
- Eat breakfast: Out of all the NWCR participants, 78% eat breakfast daily, while only 4% say they never do, other research also suggests that breakfast eaters weigh less and suffer fewer chronic diseases than non-breakfast eaters.
- Monitor intake: One of the strongest predictors of successful and maintained lifestyle change is monitoring dietary intake, while some people may find it tedious, keeping a food log is a highly effective and proven strategy.
- Turn off the television: Time spent watching tv is time spent, 1. being completely sedentary and thus expending minimal amounts of energy, and 2. Eating. Most people mindlessly consume snacks while mesmerized by the television, not noticing the rapidly increasing caloric intake. Successful “Losers” watch less than 10 hours of television per week.
- Don’t wait until tomorrow and no cheating: It is easy to put off starting a serious lifestyle change to a later date. Likewise, it is also easy to “cheat” and eat an extra piece of pizza here, or an extra scoop of ice cream there, but people who do not consistently give themselves a day off or two to cheat are 150% more likely to maintain their weight loss. Encourage yourself to adopt a healthy lifestyle that you can stick with, so they do not often feel compelling urges to unknowingly sabotage your weight loss success.
- Know thy friend: A study of 12,000 people followed over 30 years concluded that obesity spreads through social ties. That is, obese people tend to have obese friends. Pairs of friends and siblings of the same sex seem to have the most profound effect. The study authors suspect that the spread of obesity has a lot to do with an individual’s general perception of the social norms regarding the acceptability of obesity. The logic works like this: If my best friend and my sister are both obese and I love them and admire them all the same, then maybe it isn’t so bad that I gain a few pounds. People can reverse this psychological phenomenon by inviting friends to work out at the gym or go for bike ride to stay in shape or get back into shape.
- Be optimistic: Research suggests that people who are optimistic- that is, they have perceived control, positive expectations, empowerment, a fighting spirit, and a lack of helplessness- are more successful at changing behaviors and losing weight.