Don’t believe the haters, lost weight can stay gone



Rumor has it that weight once lost is found again. If not found every time, it’s regained at least 99% of the time. The discouraging statistic for maintaining a loss is so often repeated that some people who would like to lose weight, and who would benefit both health-wise and personally, won’t even try.

They ask themselves, “what’s the use if it will all be right back again?”

Others consider losing weight but they are deterred by an utter lack of support. In fact, it’s not even a lack of support that stops them, it’s sabotage by haters.

The haters ask, “Why go on a diet? You’ll just gain back every pound you lost and more and be fatter than you are now.”Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 11.12.12 AM

Don’t listen to the haters.

People lose weight and keep it off and they do it more than you’d think. One reason why you’re not aware that weight can be lost and the loss maintained is because you see people at a healthy weight and they stay at that healthy weight. What you don’t know is they weren’t always at a healthy weight. They are successful weight managers and they lost weight a long time ago – so long ago nobody remembers when they were overweight/obese and they’re living and staying at the lower weight.Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 11.11.39 AMThere could be somebody next to you right now who once weighed a lot more than she weighs today. People may look at her and think, “she’s so lucky to be thin. She doesn’t know what it’s like to struggle with your weight.” It’s been so long since that person lost a lot of weight that she’s now considered to be “naturally thin,”

I’ve been maintaining my loss since 1991. Sure, I can share my success story with you and there are plenty more of anecdotal stories but if you want real, hard data proving that it’s possible to lose weight and maintain it check out the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR).

The NWCR was established in 1994 by obesity researchers who didn’t accept the 99% failure rate. They started a major study looking to find people who had successfully lost and maintained at least 30 pounds of body weight and the behaviors they had in common. Their research grew to more than 10,000 participants teaching us a lot more about successful weight management than simply that it’s possible.

So don’t let the haters keep you from getting what you want, if what you want is lasting weight control. You can have it.

Here are 5 things you can do to maintain your weight loss once you reach your goal.

1. Weigh in weekly. Weighing in weekly is even more important for keeping off weight than it is for losing weight. Try to weigh in each week, same day, same time, same scale, same clothing (or none if you prefer). If the scale reads more than two pounds above your goal go back to basics. Tracking your food and exercise is the most basic of all basics. It’s important to get a handle on a gain quickly while it’s not too many pounds.

2. Two pounds up = Take action now. One big reason weight comes back is because people get complacent about a small gain thinking it’s only going to take a skipped meal or two to get back to goal. It’s not a good plan and even if it were, the complacency keeps any meals from being skipped. Without paying attention two pounds turns into ten and the pounds keep coming. Don’t let the gain go beyond two pounds. It’s easier to take off two than ten.

3. Make weekly goals. Complacency is dangerous to weight maintenance. Getting too comfortable and expecting weight to stay off on auto-pilot doesn’t work. Weekly goals keep you aware of your actions and dedicated to your maintenance. You can mix up the goals for variety or stick to the same goal each week. Food-related, tracking related and exercise goals are examples of different categories.

4. Keep Moving. The NWCR found through research that members in the registry report physical activity as the most important behavior for maintaining weight loss. Most said they burned 2800 calories a week through physical activity in conjunction with the physical activity that was part of their normal daily lives. The ways they burned calories was almost as numerous as the number of participants in the study. Burning 2800 calories a week is about the same as a daily 4 mile walk at about 3 miles per hour. Physical activity in the form of play, sports, hobbies, or the gym all count. Just find what you love and stay active!

5. Celebrate and Believe. When you reach goal, you celebrate. The feeling of weighing less and wearing smaller clothes is exciting! When you catch a glimpse of yourself in a window as you pass by it’s startling and wonderful to realize that slim figure you’re admiring belongs to you. After a while, when the newness wears off complacency sets in. What felt great at first doesn’t feel so great anymore because it’s not new. People can start to feel fat again without actually having gained any weight. Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 8.25.16 AMThe feeling of fat can trigger the default behaviors that caused weight gain in the past and will bring back the lost weight again. If you never believed weight can stay off after having lost it, the pull of the default behaviors is strong and insidious.

It’s easy to fall back into old habits without even noticing. That’s why it’s important to celebrate the days, weeks, months and years at goal. These are important and meaningful anniversaries. It’s also important to believe because it’s human nature to act in accordance to what you believe. If you don’t believe you can keep off lost weight you won’t be able to continue to do the things you need to do to maintain.

Jackie Conn

About Jackie Conn

Jackie Conn is married and has four grown daughters and four grandchildren. She is a Weight Watchers success story. She's a weight loss expert with 25 years of experience guiding women and men to their weight-related goals. Her articles on weight management have been published in health, family and women's magazines. She has been a regular guest on Channel 5 WABI news, FOX network morning program Good Day Maine and 207 on WCSH.