Fast weight loss isn’t the answer – these long-term weight loss strategies are effective, but they take longer than you may like. They’ll help you lose fat for good, thought!
One of my favorite tips for long-term weight loss is from Timothy Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman. He encourages people to have one day a week that they eat whatever they want. I love this tip – I love the freedom of being able to indulge myself!
The following strategies are from Amy Hendel, who is “The Health Gal” who wrote Fat Families, Thin Families: How to Save Your Family from the Obesity Trap.
13 Strategies for Long Term Weight Loss
“If you read most of the People magazine ‘loser stories’, you’ll see that most of these women and men have a ‘reality moment’,” says Hendel. “Then, they begin sensible eating programs and daily exercise.”
Have you had a reality moment – which often involves hitting rock bottom? Sometimes you need that, before you can lose weight for good.
Learn to control your food, so it doesn’t control you
Strategize to deal with different situations so that you control the food – and it doesn’t control you. Try smaller plates, flavored waters, always bringing a salad (veggie or fruit) or healthy dish to a party so you know there will be something you can comfortably eat. Call restaurants ahead of time to hear a menu so you’re not surprised and order food a certain way (eg, salad with dressing on the side, grilled with sauce on the side, berries and some sorbet for dessert)
Find a long term weight loss buddy
Use a buddy or support system – many people who keep weight off do it as couples or a family, or even enlist co-workers to join in the effort. A support system can be a great way to achieve your weight loss goals and slim down for good.
Stop saying “I have to go on a diet”!
Lose the word diet. Instead, adopt the words “lifestyle change.” This is not a temporary change – it’s a final decision to “change for good.”
Plan your meals and snacks in advance
Plan ahead. Think about what you’re eating in a given day in terms of calories and “the right fit of food.” Planning ahead can be an effective long term permanent weight loss strategy because it keeps you in the “lose” phase or the “staying off” phase.
Eat more high-volume foods (volumetrics)
This is my favorite long-term weight loss strategy: fill up on foods that are high in fiber and water, and low in calories. Apples, carrots, watermelon, pineapple — all fruits and veggies! Also, fulfill your daily value of fruit servings even if it means drinking 100% orange juice during your meals (OJ isn’t just for breakfast!).
Dust off your scale – it’s an effective long term weight loss strategy
To lose fat permanently, weigh yourself on a regular basis. Also, use body measurements and clothing size as guidelines of achievement.
Stay the course despite setbacks
People who slim down for good don’t let one bad choice or one bad day de-rail their efforts. For most “chronic dieters”, letting one day’s transgressions snowball into a “total dietary break out” is the death toll.
Subscribe to health or fitness magazines or blogs
Keep reading motivational tips for losing weight, educating yourself, and learning as much as you can about food and exercise.
Get your body moving
Exercise daily. Increase your daily activity as much as possible (this should go without saying, but so many of us don’t exercise at all!). Even if you “just” go for a walk, you’re moving your body – and that’s a long-term weight loss strategy that works.
If you’re into yoga – or you’re thinking about trying it – read the Best Yoga DVDs for Weight Loss, Stretching, and Increased Energy.
Separate emotional eating from physical hunger
Lose the emotional pull of food as a primary way to relieve anxiety/stress. An effective way to achieve your weight loss goals and slim down for good is to replace food with other behaviors and rewards.
Find your weight loss motivation
Losing weight for health reasons seems to be a huge motivation for many people. Losing weight to look better is secondary. Another great motivation is to lose weight for your kids – to keep up with them, to make them proud of you.
Take it one day at a time
Plan your meals and include treats, but remember that they’re meant to be occasional pleasurable moments – not daily habits (this is something I’m struggling with right now! I’ve been eating my double chocolate chunk cookies every night for the past two weeks…and my jeans aren’t happy).
Keep a weight loss journal
A long term weight loss strategy that works from many people is to keep a food journal. Chart your daily meals, exercise routines, and feelings. This will help you identify what your emotional eating triggers are, and the times of day you tend to eat more.
If you’ve just had a baby, you may find Losing Weight While Breastfeeding – 6 Post Pregnancy Weight Loss Tips helpful.
Have you found a strategy for long term weight loss that works for you? Comments welcome below…
Amy Hendel is a health expert who trains and counsels patients with her own unique blend of nutrition, fitness and psychology. Visit her at HealthGal.com.
Need encouragement? Sign up for my weekly "Echoes of Joy" email - it's free, short, and energizing. Like me! Is your relationship in trouble? Get 7 Steps to Fixing Your Marriage from relationship coach Mort Fertel. It's free and helpful, no strings attached.