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How to Keep the Weight Off

Join an elite club – the 20 percent of dieters who manage to maintain their weight loss – by learning the secrets of their success.


  • Step 1: Eat breakfast Eat breakfast. Research shows that successful dieters and maintainers alike start the day with a nutritious breakfast, which helps prevent overeating the rest of the day.
  • Step 2: Choose low-fat over low-carb Choose a low-calorie, low-fat regimen. That, and portion control, seem to help people keep their overall calories in check more easily than a low-carb diet.
  • TIP: Eat a limited number of foods. People who keep weight off tend to eat the same foods day in and day out.
  • Step 3: Don't allow cheat days Limit cheat days, like weekends or holidays. Dieters who did found it easier to stay on track.
  • Step 4: Walk everywhere Aim to walk the equivalent of four miles a day. A pedometer can be a great reminder to take those extra steps.
  • TIP: Train yourself to look at junk food as a number of extra calories you're going to have to burn off through exercise.
  • Step 5: Weigh yourself weekly Weigh yourself at least weekly, at the same time of day every time, so if the pounds start to creep back on you can catch them early.
  • TIP: Some dieters have a 5-pound warning system, like a pair of pants that will no longer zip up if they gain a few pounds.
  • Step 6: Eat dairy Eat three low-fat servings of dairy a day. A study found that successful dieters who did were able to eat about 200 more calories a day than those who didn't -- and still keep the weight off. Researchers speculate that dairy helps the body burn fat.
  • Step 7: Watch less TV Sixty-two percent of dieters who maintain their weight loss watch less than 10 hours of TV per week. Probably because they're so busy burning calories!
  • FACT: People who maintain a weight loss for at least two years cut their risk of regaining the weight in half.

You Will Need

  • Breakfast
  • A low-calorie
  • low-fat diet
  • Small portions
  • Consistency
  • An hour of exercise daily
  • Weekly weigh-ins
  • Limited food choices (optional)
  • A 5-lb. warning system (optional)

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