What are some tips for successful long-term weight loss?

Long-term weight loss requires time and effort and a long-term commitment. No one else can make you lose weight. For example, more movement is a wonderful goal, but it is not specific. Running 5 miles every day is specific and measurable.

But is it realistic if you’re just starting out? What you eat can also help. Think fiber (such as fruit and vegetables) to fill you up. Carrying excess weight can increase the risk of serious health problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes. A diet of less than 1,000 calories per day does not provide adequate daily nutrition.

People with a BMI of 30 or more and no obesity-related health issues may benefit from taking prescription weight loss medications. These could also be suitable for people with a BMI of 27 or more with obesity-related illnesses. These external motivations can make the difference in losing weight in the short term but rarely translate to long-term determination. It is entirely possible that patients really believe that they are sticking to their diet even though they are no longer losing weight or even gaining weight again.

Providers can point out the extent of the reduced weight and put it into context in terms of average expected weight loss (described below) and clinical improvements in risk factors such as blood pressure and blood sugar control. Instead of drastically reducing calories and losing a lot of weight quickly, create a small calorie deficit that you can keep up with over time, Younkin shares. Equipping a kitchen with dietetic foods and creating structured eating plans will result in greater weight loss. Obesity interventions usually result in early rapid weight loss, followed by a weight plateau and progressive weight gain.

In one study, patients who took part in a diet and exercise program expected a loss of 20— 40% of their initial body weight — amounts that could realistically only be achieved through bariatric surgery82. Eating a recommended amount of protein is important to maintain your health and muscle mass while losing weight (. Several studies show that continuous interaction with healthcare providers or in groups significantly improves weight maintenance and long-term outcomes compared to treatments that end after a short period of time (Figure 70.71). Higher protein diets may also provide benefits for maintaining weight loss58, particularly if the entire diet has a low glycemic index.59 A steady weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week is recommended for the most effective long-term weight management. Hoping to motivate him, you remind him how bad he’ll feel if he gains weight again and tell him to make a follow-up appointment for six months and warn him that he’ll have to take his blood pressure medication again if he doesn’t change things up quickly. Outdated guidelines for doctors and their patients give the false impression that relatively modest dietary changes consistently and progressively result in a significant weight loss of one pound per 3500 kcal of accumulated calorie deficit21—24. To both lose weight safely and maintain that weight loss over time, it’s imperative to make gradual, lasting, and beneficial lifestyle changes.

Despite the modest weight losses associated with behavioral interventions, small weight losses can result in impressive health improvements and a reduction in risk factors.


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