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.