Losing weight is hard enough. Keeping it off is even harder. Now a new study by researchers at Penn State suggests that the techniques that work for losing weight aren’t necessarily the same as those that help keep you slim.
First, the researchers surveyed more than 1,100 people who had achieved significant weight loss and maintained it. The researchers identified 36 weight-loss and weight-maintenance practices that at least 10% of the group used.
The survey found that people who lost weight successfully did so by participating in weight loss programs, cutting back on sugar and carbs, eating healthy snacks, not skipping meals and participating in different types exercise.
Not all techniques that led to initial weight loss were associated with weight maintenance, however. Continually switching up an exercise regimen helped people lose weight, for instance, but those who kept weight off tended to stick with a consistent exercise program. That may be because experimenting with a variety of workout routines may help people as they’re trying to lose weight, but once they’ve found what works for them, they tend to stick with it for maintenance.
The study noted four strategies that were associated with weight maintenance but not loss:
- Eating a diet rich in low-fat proteins
- Following a consistent exercise program
- Rewarding yourself for dieting and exercising
- Reminding yourself of why you need to keep weight off
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