Monday, November 7, 2011

Keys to Keeping the Weight Off

Is it really that hard to lose weight? Many of my clients and students have lost 20, 30, even 50 pounds, and many of them have lost that much weight more than once. When we sit down and add up all the pounds they've lost over the decades, it often totals well over 100 pounds. When people are in their teens, 20s, and 30s, in particular, weight loss is reasonably easy.

The challenge, it seems, isn't so much losing weight as it is keeping the weight off. That's why I was so excited when I ran across this article at last week, which summarizes a study that examined hormone changes for a year after people lost weight by dieting. The study found that hormones that increase appetite can remain elevated in the blood for over a year.

If you've taken my online class "Lose Weight," you know I'm crazy about what I call the maintenance mindset, or being aware and honest. This study reinforces the importance of the maintenance mindset. Without awareness and honesty, it's all-too-easy to slip back into bad eating habits when you're hungry!

This study also emphasizes the importance of staying on track with all of the elements we cover in "Lose Weight." Weight managment is about far more than healthy eating and regular exercise. Sleep, hydration, and stress management play substantial roles in managing appetite. If you're tired, dehyrated, or stressed, hunger becomes less manageable.

Finally, this study truly emphasizes the importance of making weight management part of a healthy lifestyle. In the end, the focus should be on health, not weight or youth or attractiveness. While healthy eating and regular exercise are a part of good health, the benefits of sleep, hydration, and stress management cannot be overlooked. Be aware of what you're doing (or not doing!), and be honest. Your body--and your weight--will thank you!