Some research has focused on hormones in the body that influence appetite, some on environmental cues to eat or to refrain from overeating, some on drugs to help with weight loss and still some on the self-reported habits of people who have lost weight and keep it off.
Metabolic hurdles: One of the ironies of weight loss is that the more you lose, the harder you have to work to lose more. This is, in part, because the body's metabolism slows down – meaning it burns less energy or fewer calories – both at rest and during exercise following weight loss.
Hormonal influences: Various hormones help regulate hunger and fullness. One tells the brain when a person is full. Another released in the stomach, stimulates appetite. Its level rises between meals and falls sharply after eating.
Environmental challenges: A person who is actively losing weight is often the recipient of praise and compliments from family, friends, etc. Many also enjoy the excitement of fitting into smaller clothes sizes as they lose weight. Once a person's weight has stabilized, however, the compliments become less frequent and the person may start to take the improvement in health for granted. Some other factors in a person's environment that may pose a challenge are food packaging and restaurant serving sizes. Serving sizes started rising in the l970's and have paralleled the obesity epidemic over the past 30 years. People who eat out frequently need to learn to keep their calories in check, such as eating just half of the food served (bringing the other half home for a second meal) and limiting higher-calorie menu selections such as deep-fried, creamy or cheesy items.
TOP FIVE TIPS FOR MAINTAINING WEIGHT LOSS
1. Be as physically active as possible. Strive for 60 minutes a day and this can be accumulated over the course of the day in 10-15 minute intervals.
2. Monitor your weight regularly. Weighing yourself regularly alerts you early to small increases in weight so you can take steps to prevent larger ones.
3. Choose a diet that is adequate in whole grains, fresh fruits, vegetables and lean protein. People who moderate their fat intake are better able to control their appetite and prevent weight gain.
4. Seek ongoing support. If you lost weight with an organized program, stick with the program once you have reached goal.If you lost weight on your own or with support from family and friends seek ongoing support from them.
5. Get adequate sleep. Being well rested can help control appetite, prevent weight gain and give you more energy for exercise and meal planning.
Just as blood glucose control requires an individualized approach, so does losing weight and maintaining that weight loss. However, there are some tools that appear to help such as daily weighing; maintaining a low-calorie, low-fat diet; getting at least 60 minutes of physical activity in a day; getting enough sleep; learning to reward yourself when goals are achieved; and getting support from others facing the same challenges. The key, then, is finding ways to tailor these tools to your unique situation.
Submitted by Diane Lancaster: I am a long-standing member of Take Off Pounds Sensibly. Nutrition has been a way of life. I successfully lost 30 lbs over 35 years ago and manage to keep that weight in control ever since by eating sensible. Nutrition is all a matter of balance.