Health & Wellness Articles

10 Best Strategies for Long-Term Weight Loss Success

What Really Works to Keep the Weight Off Forever

So, you don't just want to lose weight, you want to lose the extra weight forever. Ta-ta. Sayonara. Good riddance. While losing weight does take focus and dedication, it's important to remember that losing weight isn't really a start-and-end process. Sure, you have a weight-loss goal to reach, but once you get there, you don't just stop eating right and working out. No way! You keep it up because it's a healthy lifestyle that's livable and lovable—and it makes you feel great.

Despite this, when you make the transition from losing weight to maintaining weight, you have a little more wiggle room in your diet and workout plan because you don't need to create a deficit of calories anymore—you just need to take in as many as your body needs in order to not gain or lose. (For more on how many calories you need, be sure to update your weight and goals regularly on SparkPeople.)

So whether you're just starting out on your weight-loss journey or if you've reached your goal weight, follow these top strategies to keep the weight off for good.

Get Moving and Stay Moving
Being active is extremely important for keeping weight off—not to mention it has a slew of other great health benefits, including helping cholesterol ratios, reducing blood pressure, improving mood and well-being, and strengthening the heart. Be sure to get active doing something you love; whether it's dancing, walking, biking, or playing sports—life is too short to do something you don't like! Shoot for at least three days of cardiovascular exercise a week and two days of resistance training. Sessions should be at least 20 to 30 minutes each (which can even be broken up into smaller segments) with your heart rate up to 60 percent to 85 percent of its max. Not sure how to figure out your training heart rate? Check out this resource that shows you how.

Multiple studies show that people who track or journal the foods they eat lose more weight and keep it off for the long haul. In fact, the National Weight Control Registry, which tracks more than 3,000 people who have lost an average of 50 pounds and kept it off successfully for five years, has found that logging foods is one way to stay on track well after they've lost the weight. In another study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, those who used a food diary while dieting lost twice as much weight as those who didn't.
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About The Author

Jennipher Walters Jennipher Walters
Jenn is the CEO and co-founder of the healthy living websites, and A certified personal trainer, health coach and group exercise instructor, she also holds an MA in health journalism and is the author of The Fit Bottomed Girls Anti-Diet book (Random House, 2014).

See all of Jenn's articles.

Member Comments

    New habits can be fun to try. At start of year, I selected 5 new habits to try for 21 days, knowing that I'd be successful on only some. I ended up with 3 powerful changes that are now routine: (1) I put sneakers on first thing In the morning - they give me spring in my step. I have them ready the night before. (2) I keep a glass of water next to the sink to grab at all times. (3) Every morning, i log my weight, food plan into SparkPeople. (It's true that 21 days of doing something makes a habit - at least for me). - 3/31/2015 7:06:36 AM
  • Great article, I am the same with the water drinking, some days I will drink the water other days not, I do drink black coffee no sugar no problem. Tracking my food is really helping. I just need to keep motivated. I do a lot of walking as I have 2 dogs. Good luck everyone in reaching your goals - 2/18/2015 3:46:14 AM
  • ASTRA56
    I've been maintaining my goal weight for over 6 months now. I'm embarrassed to admit it but I lost 84 pounds without any formal exercising. I just hate to exercise. lol Of course, I am more active now - I can run up the stairs without panting - but I will probably never do formal exercise. I know this won't work for everyone, but it seems to have worked for me and I have been a yo-yo dieter all my life. The one thing I continue to do faithfully, however, is journaling every day. I really believe that helps keep me in check. - 12/23/2014 10:35:17 AM
  • Great article. The two things i need to focus on most is moving and drinking more water, My calorie intake is mostly under the recommended - but i just do not drink the water - right now am drinking more tea. Grew up on sweetened iced tea - year 'round - but now just want it iced - not sweet, and no lemon.
    barb - 7/11/2014 10:21:09 AM
  • Yes the answer is to ALWAYS keep MOVING. you must move! move or die i say! - 2/9/2014 2:14:03 PM
    Excellent tips for kipping weight off for good. To maintain a healthy weight eat five to six small meals per day rather three large meals. By splitting your meals up into smaller portions, you can keep your metabolism strong, helping you to maintain your ideal weight. NOt only that but small frequent meal can give you an energy boost when you need it most,
    helping you stay alert and focus throughout the day.

    Bharat Shah


    .com - 6/6/2013 5:34:57 PM
  • I love this articles. Even though I can not tract my food and work out here daily, but I do exercises every day. I eat all nutritious food daily. I am on my maintenance now, and I keep this way. I am active in my daily work. I am like a yoyo because of my medicine can gain weight but I stay ahead of my work outs every day. I dont like my medicine to ruin my sexy body.

    I do my best to tract my work outs here. I can not promise to tract my food. I never been so big though, but in my mind I remember myself a chubby one, and I dont like me to be chubby. I like to be slim like I use to be. I keep changing my work outs too, so that I dont feel bored. - 1/27/2013 2:31:18 AM
  • Good article! I reached maintenance not that long ago and faced some challenges that I had not expected, including getting bored with my diet/fitness plan, losing goals, and adjusting my food and activity to stop creating a deficit. Thankfully, I already know that I will not stop being a vegan and my love for being active will not suddenly disappear. This article was very helpful, though! - 8/25/2012 9:45:23 PM
  • I think it was intersting. I keep a food journal and write when I eat and what I eat and nutrient info. I also keep track of my exercise. But I found out with me it is better to eat smaller meals every two to three hours and I lose weight but if I did your way I gain weight. - 7/10/2012 10:49:51 AM
  • I enjoyed the article. Now that I'm finally at maintenance, I'm looking for all the help I can get, to stay at this weight. I've yo-yo'd for years, and frankly I don't care right now if I have to track my food for the rest of my life, if it works to help keep the weight off. I see tracking as a game-- how much food can I get, while staying within all my ranges (calories, carbs, fat, protein, etc.). - 2/10/2012 7:32:38 PM
  • This article came in good time because I finally reached maintenance, woohoo!!!

    This is the third or fourth time I've reached my goal weight on SP. Each time before, I failed miserably in maintenance and gained all the weight back (and more) because I did not have a post-weight loss plan. This time, however, will be different! (Until I start a family, that is...

    Anywhoo!!! I believe my weight regain was due to the lack of accountability. I fully accept that I still do not have a handle over my eating issues (and I may never will), so I will continue to journal my food intake on a daily basis, at least for the next couple of years. It's not what I want to do, it's worth it after putting in all the hard work in getting the weight off. Also with SP's iPhone app, it makes it a lot easier than writing on napkins all the time and guessing nutritional value while at restaurants.

    Thanks for the excellent article. I will be using all 10 points! :):):) - 12/2/2011 11:52:40 AM
  • Oh no! I can't stand the idea of journalling my food forever ... but hopefully with the other 9 tips I will still be in good shape! - 7/5/2011 9:41:59 AM
  • I really enjoyed this article. I do want to say I keep a photo of my thin self in my new skinny ballgown (made possible only through my hard work) as a motivator; for me, tracking the positive works better for me. Somehow keeping the fat me around as a reminder also reminds me of my fat me habits - and I do not want that possible trigger. ThanKs again! - 7/5/2011 6:09:06 AM

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