What are some tips to keep a healthy weight?

Now that you’ve reached your goal weight, you will need to continue to make healthy lifestyle changes so you don’t regain the weight you’ve lost. The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) provides success stories of more than 10,000 people who have lost weight and kept it off. If you want to avoid regaining weight, keep a positive attitude and use the guidelines below.

  • Exercise often: Studies prove that people with high activity levels are more likely to maintain their weight loss than others who are not as active. Set exercise goals, aiming to build up to a minimum of 200-300 minutes of exercise per week (ACSM guidelines).
  • Eat a healthy breakfast daily. Seventy-eight percent of participants in the NWCR eat breakfast every day.
  • Stay hydratedDrink plenty of water or other no-calorie unsweetened beverages. Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages.
  • Eat whole foods. Focus on a healthy eating pattern of whole, unprocessed foods that is rich in produce and fiber, contains lean protein sources, and is lower in fat.
  • Eat responsibly and mindfully. Pay attention to portion sizes and avoid overeating. Look at the nutrition facts on food labels listed on packages, including the serving size. Using smaller plates and bowls may help you choose smaller portions at meals. Prioritize meal time. Eat slowly, with focus on your meal. Listen to your body ‘s physical cues to stop eating before you feel overly full. On special occasions, choose your foods as wisely as you would on any other day.
  • Plan your meals ahead of time. By planning meals in advance, you can make healthier choices that are not influenced by physical hunger. Plan home-cooked meals, reserving restaurant dining for special occasions. Packing low-calorie snacks like fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains can help keep hunger controlled throughout the day.
  • Get cookbooks. Need extra ideas for meals? Try some different recipes to avoid getting bored with your healthier diet choices. Great recipes can be found in cookbooks at the public library, bookstores or on the Internet.
  • Decrease screen time. More time in front of the television or computer means less time on your feet using calories. Sixty-two percent of NWCR participants watch less than 10 hours of TV per week. Choose enjoyable activities that keep you on your feet and moving during leisure time. This movement is important in addition to exercise time.
  • Monitor yourself. If you don’t hold yourself accountable, who will? Weigh yourself weekly, or take self measurements regularly; 75% of participants in the NWCR weigh themselves at least once a week. If you find yourself going back to old habits, try to keep a record of food and exercise for a few weeks until you get back on track.
  • Join a weight management program. The longer and more often you are engaged, the better long-term success.
  • Build a support group. Find a friend or family member who can listen and relate to what you are going through. Invite them to join you and make the changes together.
  • Keep a positive attitude. Believe in yourself! Keep in mind that some days will be better than others. When you have a day of overeating, learn to pick yourself up and move on. Each new day is a fresh start for healthy eating.
  • Think for the long term. A diet is only a short-term method or tool to lose weight. In order to continue to keep the weight off, long-term changes need to be made. Rethink your old ways of eating and identify habits that caused you to gain weight. Consider what, when, why, where, and how you eat. Make any changes necessary for a more healthful eating lifestyle. For example, did you previously overeat at night while watching television in the family room? If so, make a change to stop eating in the family room or in front of the television. Instead, eat only in the kitchen at the table.
  • Make gradual turns. Plan one change at a time that can be incorporated into your new lifestyle. Once you have mastered it, plan another change. Studies prove that the longer people can maintain their new weight, the easier it becomes. Take one step at a time, and you will be headed for success.
  • Skip the absolutes. Stay away from words like “never,” “always” or “must.” Be realistic with yourself and allow indulgences on occasion. You should be able to have your favorite treats without feeling guilty. Smaller portions of higher calorie foods can be worked into your new eating style. Thoroughly enjoy each bite instead of fixating on what you can’t have.
  • Make an appointment with a registered dietitian (RD). If you need expert advice for nutrition information, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with a registered dietitian. He or she can provide helpful tips and point you in the right direction for a healthy lifestyle change.
  • Continue your healthy eating habits. You have done a great job to get to where you are now. Keep updating your goals as new situations arise.