Chances are that you know how to lose weight; but do you know how to keep it off? Most people who have lost weight know that it often comes back—and brings friends. Is it a matter of willpower, or is there more to lasting weight loss?
Losing weight really is more complicated than calories in vs. calories out. Our hormonal balance, stress levels, environment, level of emotional support and much more definitely play a role. For instance, if you have been suffering from chronic stress you may find that trying to lose weight can actually backfire and you can pack on unwanted pounds.
But what if you have already re-balanced your stress system?
Yesterday CNN Health had a great article on keeping weight off (http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2012/10/30/know-how-to-keep-weight-off-before-you-lose-it/?hpt=hp_t3). Researchers have found that training people to keep weight off BEFORE losing weight helps people keep it off. Basically, building confidence in your ability to keep weight off actually keeps weight off.
The researchers split people into two groups: the “weight loss first” group and the “maintenance first” group. The “weight loss first” group followed a 20 week weight loss program followed by an 8 week maintenance program. The “maintenance first” group followed an 8 week “stability skills” maintenance program where they learned to savor food mindfully, to leave a little food left on the plate, and other skills, and then this group followed an identical 20 week weight loss program.
Both groups lost the same amount of weight, but the “weight loss first” group gained back over twice as much weight as the “maintenance first” group.
It seems that learning the skill of maintaining weight loss and developing confidence in your ability to keep weight off is key to lasting weight loss. So once you have re-balanced your stress system and hormones, the last step before starting your weight loss phase is learning “stability skills.”
Have you lost weight and kept it off? What was key to your success? I’d love to hear your comments!