Maintaining Lost Weight

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Once you have achieved a desired weight, a positive attitude is very important in your efforts to successfully manage it. To lose weight permanently, you must make a commitment to gradually adopt a healthier way of life.

Controlling your weight is not an impossible task. It simply means eating less food or burning up more calories than you need. Eating smaller portions and choosing foods that are low in total fat (as fat is a major contributor to calories), are essential to maintaining your desired weight. Establishing a regular exercise routine is equally important.

Do not "starve" yourself. That can leave you to feeling deprived and increase the temptation to binge (eat an uncontrolled, excessive amount). Often, very low calorie diets make you lose muscle instead of fat. Regular exercise helps you keep the muscle and lose the fat. Very low calorie diets also lack many important nutrients -- increasing your risk of becoming malnourished. If you are considering a very low calorie diet, consult your doctor first.

People who lose weight slowly, by eating less and exercising more, tend to keep the weight off.

Goals for healthy eating

  • Set realistic weight loss goals, such as a 1 to 2 pound weight loss per week.

  • Eat fewer calories by cutting down on portions and/or decreasing the total amount of fat you eat to 30% or less of your total daily calories.

  • Do not skip meals.

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  • Keep low calorie, low-fat snacks on hand, such as pretzels, raw vegetables with low calorie dips or fruit. Keep in mind that there is no difference between calories in low-fat foods than those found in fatty foods and you should eat appropriate portion sizes.

  • Choose foods high in fiber such as whole-grain breads, cereals, pasta, rice, fruits and vegetables.

  • To ensure you are eating healthy, keep an accurate food journal. Write down everything you eat or drink. Be honest and accurate, otherwise the journal is not as helpful. The food journal will help you learn about your eating habits and help you assess the food choices you are making.

  • Eat a variety of foods to get all the nutrients you need.

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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. For additional written health information, please contact the Health Information Center at the Cleveland Clinic (216) 444-3771 or toll-free (800) 223-2273 extension 43771 or visit www.clevelandclinic.org/health This document was last reviewed on: 8/12/2003

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