Weight control and weight management are really two sides of the same coin. In reality, the habits that help you drop pounds are the same ones that will help you maintain it. After all, losing weight isn’t really considered a success unless you manage to keep it off.
Dietician Susan Bowerman shares her secrets to successful weight loss
The top 10 strategies of successful ‘losers’:
1. They get to know themselves really well
One key to success is learning how to manage your own high risk situations – such as eating when you’re stressed or cleaning your plate out of habit rather than hunger. Successful losers are adaptable and plan ahead – they know what situations might get them into trouble and have a backup plan for dealing with them.
2. They get a lot of exercise
On average, the National Weight Control Registry enrolees’ burn about 2000 calories per week through exercise. That’s a lot they get about 60-90 minutes of moderate to high intensity exercise daily. The most popular exercise is walking, and they average 8-10 km a day.
3. They set goals and monitor their behaviour
Setting goals ones you measure, like how many minutes you walk, how many calories you take in, or how many sit-ups you do are helpful because you can track whether or not you meet these goals. Successful losers keep track of how much exercise they get, and they keep food journals sometimes using a food log to plan meals ahead of time. These self-monitoring strategies are critical and provide much needed feedback on behaviour changes.
4. They have regular meal patterns and frequency
Many people get in trouble with their weight because their eating patterns are so disorganised. Successful losers report that eating at regular intervals and snacking only when they hungry are keys to success. Skipping meals usually backfires, and having routine meal times means that you don’t go long stretches without food which often leads to excessive snacking or larger meals later on.
5. They eat a low fat , nutrient -dense diet
No surprises here, but a high quality diet one with plenty of protein, fruits, vegetables and whole grains is what keeps people satisfied. The fruits, veggies and whole grains are bulky and filling, and their calorie cost is relatively low. Adequate protein is key, since protein is highly satisfying and will help keep snacking at bay between meals.
6. They practice portion control
By learning what size portion you need to eat to feel ‘not hungry any more’ rather than feeling ‘stuffed’ you can help trim your intake significantly. Portion control strategies include using smaller plates, serving your food in the kitchen (rather than having serving dishes at the table), and using meal replacements such as protein shakes or bars.
7. They practice stress management
Food is so often used as a comfort when we’re stressed – but we usually feel guilty afterwards, which just increases the stress and keeps the cycle going. Successful losers have learned to find other ways to reduce their stress. They exercise, talk to a friend or partner, or practice forms of meditation.
8. They have an attitude adjustment
Many people who have successfully controlled their weight say that they had to change their thinking about dieting and weight control. Some felt it was ‘in their genes’ to be fat, or that they couldn’t lose because they’d never been successful in the past. Eventually, they faced the problem head on recognising that success would come through a series of small steps and a lifelong commitment to a healthy lifestyle.
9. They adopt a plan and stick to it
Once you have an established routine of how you generally eat and how frequently you exercise, learn to stick with this routine day in, day out. People who have controlled their weight and are successful maintaining it do this – even when on holiday or eating out. You may eat out less often, because you prefer having more control over what you eat by preparing meals at home.
10. They have learned to control their environment
Successful losers learn how to control situations that are likely to get them into trouble. The foods that are available in the refrigerator or cupboard at home, in restaurants, at the workplace or in the grocery store are all environments that can be controlled. To gain control over the food environment, keep ‘safe’ foods in the house, choose restaurants where you know you can get foods that you want, bring appropriate foods to work and prepare a shopping list before you go to the supermarket.