Losing weight takes time and motivation but it can be achieved with a healthy diet and lifestyle and even pharmacological and surgical interventions. Keeping the weight off is the hardest part. There are so many successful weight loss interventions and even extreme weight loss TV program but its turns out that despite all the hard work most people fail to maintain the weight. The truth is weight maintenance remains a lifetime challenge for individuals with obesity.
The following is a list of habits that help in weight maintenance based on comprehensive reviews and studies:
- Eating breakfast every day – Based on the National Weight Control Registry(NWCR) which is the largest prospective investigation of long-term successful weight loss maintenance more than 70 percent of people who have lost weight and kept it off ate breakfast daily. One theory that explains why breakfast is so important relates to delayed hunger later in the day, which in turn could avoid overeating. In fact, skipping your first meal might increase food cravings and temptations to grab high calorie food and readily available food such as vending machine chocolate bars or muffins from the coffee shop nearby. Moreover, the prolonged fasting that occurs when you skip breakfast can increase your body’s insulin response, which in turn increases fat storage and weight gain.
With all that being said, one should also consider what to eat for breakfast. For those who load up on rapidly absorbed sugar in the morning, hunger might strike very early and this will not help for weight loss or weight maintenance. Ideally, a good breakfast should include protein such as eggs or natural peanut butter. Proteins are the secret to having long term satiety and fullness after a meal.
- Having a consistent daily meal pattern – A routine in food intake and meal timing helps to foster self-discipline and to decrease overeating. Moreover, research show that people who have small frequent meals per day tend to be thinner than individuals who eat large and infrequent meals.
- Daily exercise – Without a doubt, physical activity is one of the most important elements of successful weight management. Physical activity can favorably affect body composition by decreasing abdominal fat and hence decreasing the risk for several chronic diseases. According to the American College of Sports Medicine and the look AHEAD study, 200–300 min of physical activity per week are required for weight maintenance.
- Limiting TV viewing to less than 10 hours a week– Several reviews have found a positive correlation between TV viewing and weight gain. In the NWCR a high percentage of the registrants (about 62%) reported watching 10 or fewer hours of television per week, and more than one third of the registrants (about 36%) watched less than five hours of television per week. This goes in line with being more physically active and less sedentary.
- Self-monitoring and lifestyle counselling sessions – An observational study of 110 women with obesity who had received an initial 6-month lifestyle intervention, followed by a 1-year extended-care coaching (face-to-face counselling, telephone counselling or mail-only contact) reported that participants who successfully maintained their weight had the habit of monitoring their food intake and their weight weekly.