There is a general perception that almost no one succeeds in long term maintenance of weight loss. Weight loss maintenance may get easier over time, after individuals have successfully maintained their weight loss for 2–5 years, the chance of longer-term success greatly increases. Continued adherence to diet and exercise strategies, low levels of depression and disinhibition, and medical triggers for weight loss are also associated with long-term success.
To maintain body weight there are five key strategies for long term success:
1) engaging in high levels of physical activity (60 to 90 minutes/day)
2) eating a diet that is low in calories and fat (24% of all calories)
3) eating breakfast every day
4) self-monitoring weight on a regular basis (once per week)
5) maintaining a consistent eating pattern
Energy requirements for weight maintenance after weight reduction appear to be 25% lower than at the original weight. The net effect is that reduced-obese persons are faced with the necessity of maintaining a reduced energy intake even after the desired weight has been lost.
Lifestyle modification and a sense of self-efficacy appear to be a key to weight maintenance.
Support groups are invaluable for the obese who are trying to lose weight and for reduced-obese persons who are maintaining a new lower weight. They help individuals facing similar problems to learn about ways to stay with their programs. Two networks of self-help support groups are overeaters anonymous (OA) and take off pounds sensibly (TOPS). These groups are continuous, include a buddy system, and encourage participation on a regular basis or as often as needed. The weight watchers program offers free lifelong maintenance classes for those who have reached and are maintaining their goal weights.
Boring, monotonous and interestingly diets can be a strategy for weight management. The greater choices, the more people tend to overeat.
Tell these phrases to people, who are trying to maintain their body weight:
- The best diet is ‘don’t buy it’
- Don’t drink your calories
- Keep the ‘extras’ to no more than 200 calories per day
Continued dieting, with repeated ups and downs, leads gradually to a net increase in body fat and thus to a health risk for hyperlipidemia, hypertension and diabetes. In order to stay at the same body weight, people must balance the amount of calories in the foods and drinks they consume with the amount of calories the body uses.