4 Tips to Find Long-Term Weight-Loss Success

Sarah Schlichter
by Sarah Schlichter
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4 Tips to Find Long-Term Weight-Loss Success

While the oft-touted advice to get to our goal weight is simply to cut back on calories, achieving long-term weight-loss goals is actually much more complex. What we don’t realize is our goal weight can actually be hard to achieve and maintain, especially without an eye toward a lifestyle shift.

Research has proven time and again that restricting and dieting often don’t work. In fact, traditional dieting methods often lead to long-term weight gain, rather than weight loss because it doesn’t teach the necessary behaviors for developing sustainable healthy eating habits. Research also shows that restricting foods and calories alone often leads to increased cravings for them, resulting in potential bingeing, a cycle known as the restrict-binge cycle.

Eating mindfully and intuitively, on the other hand, focus on tuning into your body and trusting it to know what it needs. While intuitive eating doesn’t focus on calories or weight, research shows it may stabilize and reduce weight. A 2015 study in the American Journal of Health Promotion found women who reported being intuitive eaters had significantly lower BMI scores than non-intuitive eaters.

Rather than focusing exclusively on counting calories or cutting out entire food groups, try these mindful ways to tune in to your body and hunger:

1

CONSIDER YOUR RESPONSE TO CERTAIN FOODS

Ironically, it can be the rigidity established by cutting calories that causes us to crave certain foods even more, potentially making us crave foods we don’t normally think about. The only way to learn how foods make you feel is not to feel restricted by them.

You may find that when you remove chocolate from the pedestal and give yourself permission to enjoy a piece of chocolate each afternoon, you may stop craving it altogether. You may determine it doesn’t make you feel energized the rest of the afternoon or that  allowing one piece removes the taboo and you can stop there. By paying attention, you may discover how foods affect you in different ways.

2

ACKNOWLEDGE YOU MAY BE HUNGRIER SOME DAYS

Picking an arbitrary number of calories to eat each day won’t necessarily account for your body’s needs but listening to your hunger and fullness cues will. Because our bodies are fluid and adaptable, our calorie needs are constantly changing.

Recovering from an illness or injury, being under a significant amount of stress or recovering from an intense workout are just some examples of when your body may need more calories and specific macronutrients. Being able to trust your hunger cues, rather than ignoring or suppressing them is one way to become more trusting and intuitive.


READ MORE > ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO LOSING WEIGHT


3

THINK BEYOND CALORIES

A low-fat granola bar may taste better in the moment and have fewer calories than, say, an apple and an ounce of nuts. However, because of its higher sugar content, you may find yourself hungrier only to snack more afterward and ultimately consume more calories than if you ate the apple and nuts. This is your body’s way of seeking satisfaction. While our bodies don’t monitor calories, they know what foods are satisfying and filling.

4

RECOGNIZE THAT HEALTH IS MORE THAN JUST WEIGHT

There’s a plethora of research indicating that there are different ranges of optimal Body Mass Index (BMI), including that we can be healthy outside of the “normal” BMI range. In addition, the correlation of mortality rates with BMI often fail to take into consideration such critical factors as family history, mental disorders and our social environment.

About the Author

Sarah Schlichter
Sarah Schlichter

Sarah is a registered dietitian based in Charlotte, N.C. She works with individuals to help improve and understand their relationships with food and health. She also works as a nutrition consultant and writes the blog, Bucket List Tummy, sharing nutrition posts, healthy recipes, running tips and everything on her bucket list.

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2 responses to “4 Tips to Find Long-Term Weight-Loss Success”

  1. Kristijan Sašilo says:

    I’ve been using MyFitnessPal to help me track my calories for 10 months. It was a huge success, because thanks to that, and the fact that I started with an exercise regime, I dropped around 30 kg, and settled on 86kg, give or take. I’ve stopped tracking calories with MFP and decided to utilise the knowledge I gained through those months of counting. I can already tell the portions and amount of almost all the foods I eat regularly without dragging out the scale, I know when to stop eating. So far so go, I’ve reached a golden ratio where I still lose fat (because there’s plenty left to lose) and gain muscle at a steady rate so there is no change on the scale, but there’s change in the centimetres around the waist, quadriceps and biceps, among other things.

    I was often asked how did I manage to do it, and what I “kicked out” of my diet. I respond by saying “nothing”. I only dialed down the quantity. I still eat chocolate. I still go to McDonald’s, eat chips, use cooking cream or eat pasta. But I scale it down, don’t do it often, and try to make healthier choices wherever possible.

    • Michelle Mason says:

      That’s fantastic! I have the desire but not the will/commitment. I never had to work out or worry about what I ate up until about three or four years ago. I now I have drop about 45 pounds and tighten everything up. It’s awful.

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