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You’ve tried different diets — and have even been exercising regularly — but those extra pounds won’t budge. Don’t give up. It may be that you haven’t yet found the weight-loss strategies that work for you.
Why do most diets not deliver as advertised? In a word: boredom. We start well, but after too many meals that are too restrictive, we lose interest. We're justifiably bored. And we quit.
So, how do you find a weight-loss program you can stay with to the end — and beyond? How do you lose weight and keep it off?
The first is finding a diet and exercise program that suits you, your lifestyle, your likes, and your goals. The second is "skill power," a powerful set of specific habits that can make all the difference between setbacks and lasting success.
From setting the right goals to finding a support network, these habits will move you to your weight-loss goals with greater confidence and certainty.
“Everything works for some people, but no treatment is equally effective for everyone,” says Dr. Lee Kaplan, director of the Obesity, Metabolism and Nutrition Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital. “No method is fundamentally better than any other. The key is finding out which therapy is best for you, and that takes trial and error.”
Successful weight loss depends largely on becoming more aware of your behaviors and starting to change them. Instead of relying on willpower, this process demands skill power.
There are many ways to approach weight loss. Of course, diet and exercise should be first. There is no shortage of diets to try: low-calorie, low-carb, fill-up-first-with-bulky-foods, and weight-loss plans with prepackaged foods.
Beyond diet, exercise helps burn calories. Getting more sleep and lowering your stress level with biofeedback or meditation may be helpful. If you are easily discouraged, studies suggest that a support program may increase your chance of success. Options include phone, Internet, or group support, and in-person coaching. For some people, hunger-suppressing medications or weight-loss surgery can help them lose a significant amount of weight and keep it off.
Even if you don’t reach your ideal weight-loss goal, you want to succeed in living a heart-healthy lifestyle. And that means being physically active, even if you don’t shed a pound or lose an inch.
“Everyone should exercise regularly, not necessarily to lose weight, but because it’s good for the heart, regardless of your weight,” says Dr. Kaplan. “A diet low in saturated fat and high in omega-3 fatty acids and with limited salt intake can substantially reduce cardiovascular risk. However, no single facet of this diet will reliably cause weight loss,” he adds.
When you are trying to lose weight, Dr. Kaplan advises you to take it one step at a time.
“Try what feels good, don’t despair, and don’t give up. Until we get better at understanding who has what kind of obesity, it’s just a matter of finding what works best for you,” he says.
Don't risk another dieting dead-end. Set yourself on the road to success with a weight-loss program you can stick with — and enjoy!