A recent study identified 3 strategies that may be the key to losing excess pounds and keeping them off. The results aren’t really surprising, but they are worth repeating. Successful weight loss depends on choosing healthy foods, tracking what you eat, and changing your thinking.
That’s according to the researchers at California Polytechnic State University (CPSU). They surveyed about 5,000 members of WW, formerly called Weight Watchers, who lost an average of 50 pounds and kept it off for at least 3 years.
If you’re tired of dieting and gaining back weight, this may be the breakthrough you’re looking for.
Learn more about how to use these 3 proven techniques to help you maintain weight loss
Choosing Healthy Foods:
1. Eat more fiber. Foods rich in dietary fiber help you to feel full, so you may be satisfied while eating less. Smart choices include vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Fiber also helps to stabilize your blood sugar and lower cholesterol.
2. Cut back on sugar. Excess sugar consumption is a major cause of weight gain and food cravings. You can reduce your intake by avoiding ultra-processed foods and drinking water instead of sweetened beverages.
3. Spice it up. Nutritious meals and snacks can be delicious. If you’re trying to use less salt, cook with spices and herbs. Healthy fats like olive oil and cheese will also add lots of flavor.
4. Read labels. Check the back of cereal boxes to ensure that the ingredients match the advertising on the front. Nutrition labels reveal important information like calories per serving and how much sugar has been added.
5. Dine at home. Preparing your own food puts you in charge of the cooking methods and ingredients. You’re likely to use less sugar, salt, and saturated fat compared to most restaurants.
Tracking What You Eat:
1. Keep a journal. It’s easy to underestimate how many calories you really eat. A food journal can help you to record and evaluate your activities. You can also spot patterns like emotional eating and trigger foods that make you want to eat more. Browse online for free apps or use pen and paper.
2. Set daily goals. You can also use your journal to create short- and long-term goals for your food intake and other factors. Putting your objectives down in writing will make them more concrete.
3. Measure portions. Do you know what a cup of popcorn or 4 ounces of fish looks like? If weighing your food sounds too complicated, you can memorize easy equivalents. For example, one ounce of cheese is about the size of your thumb.
Developing Coping Skills:
1. Know your purpose. Think about your main reason for losing weight. You may be concerned about your appearance or lowering your risk for diabetes and other medical conditions. Remember your purpose when you feel tempted to overindulge.
2. Encourage yourself. Motivate yourself with positive self-talk and rewards. Build your confidence by reflecting on past achievements.
3. Seek support. Surround yourself with family and friends you can count on for constructive feedback. Let them know how they can assist you. Find a workout buddy or join a weight loss support group.
4. Manage stress. Lack of sleep and high levels of stress hormones can trigger weight gain. Relax safely with physical exercise and mindfulness meditation.
5. Deal with relapses. Holidays and business trips might set you back temporarily. Have a plan ready so you can recover quickly.
The CPSU survey also found that wholesome choices become automatic with practice, so keeping weight off becomes easier over time. Forget about crash diets that leave you feeling deprived. Healthy eating and regular exercise will help you to stay lean and fit.