What the Research says about Successful Weight Loss:

Unlock the Blueprint to Success with These Weight Loss Tips: Insights Rooted in Research

Embarking on the quest for weight loss often feels like navigating a confusing labyrinth of information, each promising a shortcut to success. However, the keys to enduring weight loss don’t lie in magic formulas; they’re embedded in the habits of those who have seamlessly maintained their weight loss.

While much of what is shared about weight loss research is how poorly we maintain lost weight, the habits of those who do maintain it are also being researched. The quality of the research is inherently of low or moderate quality because it involves one’s self-reporting to researchers and also observational studies of behavior, which are considered of less quality due to the lack of a controlled environment.

However, they still supply some valuable weight loss tips, and the reality is none of us live in a lab with a 100% controlled environment, so no research methodology will be perfect! In this article I’ll share what the emerging research is showing are key habits of those who are able to lose weight and keep it off. You will be pleased to know that successful weight loss outcomes often rely upon habits and activities which end up costing much less than fancy products and programs do!

Planning Ahead and Crafting a Home Sanctuary

Stocking Up on Healthy Foods: At the core of sustainable weight loss lies the planning domain. Over 80% of those who maintained their weight loss reported the strategic placement of healthy foods within their homes. It’s about setting the stage for success by immersing yourself in a supportive environment. When thinking about how to best support your efforts, ask yourself where and when you have lapses in healthy availability and make an effort to shore up those vulnerable areas. This may necessitate grocery delivery or strategic use of meal-boxes like Sunbasket or Green Chef, keeping pre-cut veggies in clear tupperware at eye level in the fridge, and having a snack bowl of apples and oranges on the tabletop instead of tortilla chips. (my personal kryptonite!)

Dietary Choices – The Morning Ritual and Veggie Bounty

Embracing Regular Breakfasts: A common thread among weight loss champions is the practice of regular breakfasts. This was observed across several systemic reviews. This simple yet powerful routine jumpstarts the metabolism and cultivates a positive tone for the day. Choosing a higher protein breakfast tends to help nearly all of my clients maintain better appetite regulation throughout the day, likely through a more stable blood sugar. A Portuguese weight loss strategy observational study did show an association between increasing protein and reducing carbohydrates resulting in greater maintenance of weight lost, but it was a small study and the only one I’ve found showing this correlation.

Amplifying Vegetable Intake: Vegetables take the spotlight in the dietary choices domain, with over 80% of successful weight maintainers highlighting the significance of incorporating more veggies into their daily meals. I will admit, this tidbit TOTALLY stroked my confirmation bias …. keeping veggies at the ready is a crucial factor to filling your belly without overshooting your caloric needs. Keep frozen veggies on hand for emergencies, and make use of pre-chopped fresh veg if you need to! These are all far better options than less veggies. Also – eat more than you think you need to; government recommendations start at the minimum, not what research shows is optimal for health. 

Energy Compensation – Movement Matters, but not by Itself

Consistent Physical Activity/Exercise: A pivotal pillar of sustained weight loss remains found in that balance of energy in and energy out, but it not as simple as counting calories! More than 80% of successful individuals lean into regular physical activity or exercise, illuminating the indispensable role of movement in weight management. The most common form of increased activity was walking, so do not feel like you need a gym membership! While research tends to show that physical activity does not cause a drop in the scale, it does help keep lost weight gone for good. That said, lifting weights or other heavy things regularly during an active weight loss phase will help prevent muscle loss, which is crucial to long-term health outcomes.

Regulations in Your Culinary Landscape

Diminishing the Presence of Sugary and Fatty Foods: Weight loss victors reported strategies like reducing the consumption of sugary and fatty foods. It’s about mindful choices that resonate with long-term wellness goals. Research often shows that more foods at home and less dining out is supportive, and one reason might be reduced exposure to foods associated with higher weight.

Creating Boundaries Around Certain Foods: Establishing boundaries around specific food types emerged as a key strategy, emphasizing the importance of moderation and mindful consumption. Do you have a kryptonite food? Keep it out of the house if at all possible. If your family members insist upon having it, ask them to keep it tucked away in a personal space or out of sight. There have been moments in my life where I just cannot be around those tortilla chips. Thankfully the family supports keeping the home a ‘willpower-free zone’ by eliminating their entry into the home when I have those moments I cannot be trusted around them.

The Lesser-Explored Trails

While certain strategies stand as pillars in the journey of weight loss maintenance, some paths are less frequently traversed, with research showing that less than 20% of successful individuals utilize them into their journey. Consider these tactics as optional to your success. There will always be exceptions, but none of the below strategies are mandatory for your success. This is great news, as they tend to be more expensive than the above strategies!

Weight Management Aids: Fewer than 20% reported utilizing weight loss medication, meal substitutes, or supplements, revealing that reliance on external aids isn’t a common thread among those who successfully maintain weight loss.

 Fad Diets and Social Circles: Avoiding friends with excess weight, embracing fad diets, and limiting intake to only one or two types of food were strategies embraced by less than 20%, showcasing that extreme restrictions are not necessary to sustained success.

Professional Support: Seeking support from a weight control group or professional assistance was reported by fewer than 20%, suggesting that success doesn’t always hinge on external reinforcement.

In conclusion, the secrets of sustained weight loss are woven into the fabric of our daily choices and routines. Creating a home environment that champions health, making mindful dietary choices, embracing physical movement, and navigating the culinary landscape with restraint are the cornerstones of lasting success. It’s not about following fleeting trends but adopting habits that stand the test of time.

As you embark on your personal journey, remember that sustained weight loss is a personalized odyssey. Find the strategies that align with your life, making each choice a step toward a healthier, more vibrant you. If you need support in strategizing personal solutions for yourself, overcoming obstacles that repeatedly thwart you, or know that you are one of those people who does better with regular accountability and support, reach out for a complimentary discover call to learn how I can be that support!

 


Resources:

Paixão C, Dias CM, Jorge R, et al. Successful weight loss maintenance: A systematic review of weight control registries. Obesity Reviews : an Official Journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity. 2020 May;21(5):e13003. DOI: 10.1111/obr.13003. PMID: 32048787; PMCID: PMC9105823.
 
Santos I, Vieira PN, Silva MN, Sardinha LB, Teixeira PJ. Weight control behaviors of highly successful weight loss maintainers: the Portuguese Weight Control Registry. J Behav Med. 2017;40(2):366-371. doi:10.1007/s10865-016-9786-y

Varkevisser, R. D. M., van Stralen, M. M., Kroeze, W., Ket, J. C. F., & Steenhuis, I. H. M. (2019). Determinants of weight loss maintenance: a systematic review. Obesity reviews : an official journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity20(2), 171–211. https://doi.org/10.1111/obr.12772

 
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