When you’ve decided that it’s time to lose extra pounds, long-term weigh loss success depends on choosing the right strategy. Many expensive programs and products would have you believe that they have the “magic” solution that has evaded humankind for thousands of years. As it turns out, there is no single potion or trick to reaching this goal. It is a matter of having the right approach for changing your lifestyle gradually and in a way, you’ll be able to stick to over time.
Long-Term Weight Loss Success is What Counts
Remember that it’s all well and good to lose a pound or two – or even three – in a week, but if it doesn’t stay permanently gone, then it likely isn’t really the result you were looking for. Long-term weight loss success means that you’ll not only lose those pounds, but they’ll stay gone. You’ll continue to benefit from the health advantages the change provides, and you will be able to stick to the same clothing size without finding that your new victory wardrobe is gradually becoming too small to wear.
Considering how challenging it can be to drop a few pounds in the first place, the idea of long-term weight loss success can seem daunting. However, it is within your reach, provided you know the right steps…and then you take them.
6 Science-Backed Steps to Long-Term Weight Loss Success
Each of these steps for long-term weight loss success is backed by science. You’ll find them recommended on well-reputed medical websites such as WebMD as well as in peer-reviewed medical journals such as the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
1 – Set Good Goals
If there’s one thing that will determine whether you can reach long-term weight loss success with everything else you choose to do, it’s the goals you set. After all, if your goal is to give yourself two weeks to look as ultra-thin and airbrushed as models in a magazine, you’re setting yourself up for many levels of disappointment. Equally, if you’re just vaguely telling yourself that you’d like to “lose some weight”, it will be just as difficult to quantify your success, decide on changes you need to get there, and know how to maintain it.
A good goal should be defined. You should also be able to break it down into smaller goals, and into the components required for achievement, too. For instance, your goal weight may be down 25 pounds, but your smaller goals may be closer to losing a pound or two per week. Moreover, your goals to get you there – and these will be what achieves the success over time – will include those such as sticking to a daily calorie range on most days, walking briskly for a half hour five days per week, and so on.
Being realistic and specific is key to getting where you want to be and staying there.
2 – Learn Your Triggers
We all have situations – places, people, things – that trigger us to take on the behaviors that caused weight to be gained in the first place. Long-term weight loss success requires you to identify those triggers and then develop ways to get around them.
Does stress make you eat? Perhaps you need to build a new stress management habit. Does seeing treats in your kitchen make you grab a snack? Tuck them away in a cupboard out of sight. In fact, place them behind something else within the cupboard if you can. That way, they’re there when you’ve made a rational decision to have them, but they aren’t triggers unto themselves.
3 – Don’t Go Hungry
Many people are surprised that one of the tips for long-term weight loss success is to achieve a full feeling on a regular basis, not to become comfortable with hunger. Hunger is a powerful feeling rooted into some of our most basic processes. It is a strong driver for us because it is critical to our survival.
Therefore, long-term weight loss success means that you need to learn how not to overeat, but to still feel satisfied by your food. This can involve a number of helpful steps:
- Waiting ten minutes before choosing to eat another portion (most of us have a delayed fullness reaction).
- Eating more fiber, which is filling and slow to pass through the digestive system.
- Even tricking our senses, such as using a smaller plate and a larger fork, which helps portions to appear bigger.
- Keeping a set eating schedule for meals and snacks can help train you to be hungry on a clock, not at random. This is a shockingly effective strategy, though it takes time to develop.
4 – Celebrate Your Achievements
When you achieve one of your sub-goals along the way, whether it’s losing 2 pounds this week, or keeping the weight off for another month, take time to celebrate. This will help you to feel great about what you’ve done (because you should) and to maintain your goals as a priority in your life, regardless of whether you’re still headed toward your target weight or achieved it years ago.
The key is to celebrate without using food as a reward. Instead, treat yourself to something else you enjoy. A manicure, a movie, a new book, a haircut, or even just a bubble bath to end a relaxing evening.
5 – Track Your Progress
Keep track of your progress and don’t stop doing it. Use a nutrition and fitness tracker such as ShareFit to keep on top of how much you eat and exercise. This can help you to identify your habits and, if there’s a problem along the way, it becomes easier to spot what you’ve been doing right and where you might need to tweak things a little. Don’t stop this habit just because you’ve achieved your target weight. Maintaining this habit is very helpful to long-term weight loss success because it keeps you accountable and aware of your choices.
6 – Get Support
You are not an island, and your long-term weight loss success isn’t something you’ll likely be able to tackle alone. There are many different sources of support out there. These can include getting a workout buddy who will walk with you every day or take those power yoga classes with you in the morning. It may also mean choosing the best pills for weight loss dieting support for the first few months of your dieting, so you’ll find it easier to overcome common barriers to establishing new healthy habits.
You might also find that a weight loss forum can provide you with helpful hints and suggestions while giving you a place to share your victories and struggles with other people who understand what you’re going through.
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