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Once you have started losing weight, it is crucial to think of how to maintain that weight loss in the days ahead.

It may seem hard to believe, but taking the weight off is the easy part. Maintaining weight loss for good is where the real challenge lies. If you are like me, you have tried countless diets, only to gain the weight back. People lose lots of weight on diets every day, but 95% of them gain it back because they have focused only on weight loss. They follow the diet until they get to a particular number on the scale and then, shortly after, they go back to the old lifestyle that made them overweight in the first place. Over time, of course, the weight comes right back.

The truth is, almost everyone can lose weight but only 5% keep it off. These are the Weight Loss Registry’s figures, not mine. The WLR followed highly successful dieters and came up with seven reasons why people were able to keep the weight off.

Here are the seven reasons the dieters were successful.

1. The dieters accepted failure and kept on trying.

2. The dieters did not deny themselves–they indulged from time to time.

3. They weighed themselves often.

4. They exercise one hour a day.

5. They added little bits of activity into their daily life.

6. They followed a high-carb and low-fat diet.

7. They ate 5 meals a day.

When I compare my own weight loss success to the list above, I would say I learned how to maintain weight loss due to the following: I do the best I can with what I have available. Sometimes I am not always in a perfect situation with the healthiest choices, but I make do with what is there, and I stick to the plan. If I make a not-so-healthy choice, I don’t beat myself up for it.

I eat YUMMY and whole foods. Using the finest ingredients makes the most delicious meals and has helped me stick to Living Well. If I wanted to indulge, I would make it from scratch using the healthiest ingredients possible. To me, indulging does not mean eating junk.

I use a tape measure to keep tabs on my weight and occasionally weigh myself.

I really struggle with exercising regularly and I have NEVER exercised for one hour a day consistently. I will do heavy housework and other activities around the house to get my heart rate up and I try different forms of exercise all the time because I get bored easily.

I think it is vital to get moving every day, somehow, and it doesn’t always mean you have to be in an aerobics class or on some sort of machine to get your heart rate up.

I eat organic whole foods and healthy oils. I am not sold on the idea that low fat and high carb is the way to go. High fat is not the answer either, but healthy oils are not the enemy. The right oils will actually speed up the metabolism.

I eat only 3 meals a day and rarely snack. I do better when I don’t snack or graze on food all day. But you may be different. You have to do what works best for you and your unique body.

This is the MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL: I think of the health I have now and my future health every day. I really want to enjoy my older years and I want to be healthy. I don’t want to sit in a rocking chair, talking about all my symptoms and the things that ail me when I am in my golden years.

The Weight Loss Registry tips and my maintenance tips are not the only path for everyone, but instead are some ideas you can use to come up with your own way to keep the weight off once you have lost it.

Ultimately, I think it is crucial to focus on your health when changing over to a healthy lifestyle. So many people are in a hurry to lose weight. They spend their entire lives putting on the weight, losing the weight temporarily on diets and just wanting to get rid of it as fast as possible, not taking into consideration their state of health. I know you have heard this many times before, but if you don’t have your health, you don’t have much. Being thin will mean nothing to you if you compromise your health along the way.

Even if you are losing weight slowly, good for you! The idea here is to take off the weight and keep it off for good. Even just a couple of pounds a month adds up over the course of a year. And for those that were doing everything they could and continuing to gain weight, just stopping that weight gain is a measure of success.

With these tips, you now know how to maintain weight loss. Give yourself time to adjust to a new and healthy lifestyle and enjoy yourself along the way. A year from now your body will be thanking you for it!