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So You've Lost the Weight - Here's How to Keep It Off for Good
Few things are more heartbreaking than to spend months whittling away your extra pounds only to have them reappear like an unwelcome visitor.
It's an especially common scenario for people who've managed to lose weight through radical diets or supplements that aren't endorsed by mainstream medical experts.
Whatever weight-loss method you used, the key to keeping it off is to avoid excess fat and calories in your daily diet, according to recent research in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. The research study monitored people who had lost an average of 66 pounds and kept it off for an average of five years. Among their findings:
1. Create a new, non-dieting mindset. Concentrate on changing your eating habits so that you get an average of about 24 percent of your daily calories from fat. Also, be sure not to let your total calories exceed healthy levels of approximately 1,500 calories per day for women and 2,000 per day for men.
2. Learn from past mistakes. If you return to old unhealthy eating habits, you're virtually guaranteed the weight will creep back. But restricting your intake too much will create an equally unhealthy obsession with food and can lead to cravings, binges, mood swings and even clinical depression. For long-term success, don't keep your calorie intake so low that you're hungry all the time. It's better to eat a variety of foods, including your favorites, in moderation.
3. Exercise. There's no getting around this one. Exercise is what burns calories. People who establish some type of regular exercise routine are much more likely to maintain their new lower weight. Further, exercise is critical to overall good health, is a huge stress reliever and is one of the best ways to help prevent serious medical problems.
4. Get a grip on stress. Many weight problems occur when people eat in unhealthy ways as a reaction to stress or depression. It's a deeply ingrained response that often can't be controlled with self-discipline. If stress causes you to binge or otherwise sabotage your weight maintenance program, then you need to explore options such as exercise, stress reduction techniques and, possibly, counseling or medication.
© Your HealthStyle, 2003.
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