Steps to changing eating and lifestyle habits for weight loss and maintenance
Most of us are aware that carrying excessive weight elevates the risk of developing chronic diseases. However, despite best intentions, discarding bad habits and adopting new, healthy habits can be one of the most challenging elements of weight loss and maintenance.
Studies show that it is not so much losing excessive weight but maintaining weight loss in the long term that many overweight and obese people struggle with.1
This is because maintaining weight loss involves interactions between biological, lifestyle, environmental and mental influences, so a combination of steps are recommended for sustained weight maintenance.2
5 habits for weight loss maintenance
In the National Weight Control Registry, 87% of participants maintained at least 10% weight loss for five and 10 years. Individuals who maintained their weight loss had five habits in common that contributed to their long term success:
- High levels of physical activity of at least one hour each day
- Eating a low calorie diet
- Ensuring they consumed breakfast daily
- Self-monitoring their weight, and
- Maintaining consistent eating habits on both weekdays and weekends.
Of course we are all individuals, and while there are common habits associated with long term weight maintenance, it is important to consider your own needs, environment, eating and lifestyle patterns to give yourself the best chance of success.
Along with the steps already mentioned, here are some other eating and lifestyle factors to consider:
Identify your motivations for wanting to lose and maintain weight loss. Are they associated with long term or short term goals?
Weight loss is associated with sticking to an eating plan that is lower in calories rather than focusing on specific breakdowns of fat, carbohydrates, etc,3 so focus on dietary strategies that suit your individual needs, make you feel great and that you can follow.
Making changes gradually but consistently will give you a better chance of them becoming long term habits rather than transitory changes. Try incorporating one new habit each week.
Exercising more has been linked with better outcomes for improving dietary habits - plus, body movement is essential for weight maintenance.3 Therefore, consider what type of physical activity you enjoy and what suits your body type, mixing it up to keep it interesting for your body and mind.
There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach weight loss. Be sure to individualise your habits and try to relate them to what has been shown to be effective in the long term - it’s a step in the right direction!
For more healthy diet and lifestyle tips plus delicious recipes, go to www.wheyless.com.au to download our FREE weight management e-book!
- Montesi L, El Ghoch M, Brodosi L, Calugi S, Marchesini G, Grave RD. Long-term weight loss maintenance for obesity: a multi-disciplinary approach. Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: Targets and Therapy 2016; 9: 37-46.
- MacLean PS, Wing RR, Davidson T, Epstein L, Goodpaster B, Hall KD et al. NIH working group: innovative research to improve maintenance of weight loss. Obesity Society, January 2015: 23 (1): 7-15.
Georgia is a naturopath and nutritionist of more than 12 years in the complementary medicine industry, with experience in areas including clinical practice, practitioner consultant, writing, lecturing, product development and regulatory affairs. With a Masters in Human Nutrition, her main interest areas are gastrointestinal and women’s health and she is passionate about providing information to people to help them optimise their overall health.