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Tips for keeping weight off for good

July 23, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
For many, dieting is a way of life, though many keep repeating the same mistakes. Here are some tried-and-true tips that have helped many people take weight off and keep it off for good.

Begin by goal-setting in detail -- daily, weekly and monthly goals -- to alert your brain that effort, willpower and memory are all part of the equation.

It may sound funny, but concentrate on chewing when you eat. Slow down and chew food well. In a recent study, those who chewed each bite 40 times ate 12 percent less than those who chewed 15. It also helps produce less ghrelin, the hunger hormone. Putting your fork down between bites helps too.

Drink green tea. Some call it a diet drug in a mug as its EGCG compounds help reduce fat absorption and increase the amount of fat the body eliminates. Aim for 3 to 5 cups daily.

Know your go-to foods and fluids when social situations arise. Think about your options when there's an office birthday or girls night out. If you have a "safe to eat" list you arm yourself with confidence.

Conversely, identify trigger foods that cause you to blow it. Don't keep them around.

Keep your mind on your goals but realize that nobody ever got fat from a few bites of cake. Nutritionist JJ Virgin says to have three bites and be done with it.

"I am not a fan of the cheat day or even the cheat meal, that's where I think three bites is better," she said. "But us women, we do not have a big margin for error. If we did a cheat day, we'd be done for the week."

And, yes, you have to move with regularity, but pain equals gain isn't true.

"The harder you breathe, the sorer you are, the better the results -- not really. It's a matter of accumulation," said Dr. Len Kravitz, program coordinator of exercise science and a researcher at the University of New Mexico. "As you consistently accumulate these minutes, it's kind of like the 10,000 steps a day, day after day, really has a remarkable effect on weight loss and weight-regain prevention."

Finally, get enough sleep. When you're sleep-deprived your body suppresses the sleep hormones, which in turn stimulate hunger hormones. So cover LED lights, close blinds, and keep TV and phones out of the bedroom. It's common to confuse fatigue with hunger when your energy is low.


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