It’s so great when you go on a successful diet and actually lose the weight!  You start feeling great and fitting back in all those clothes you love.  However, most women yo yo the pounds right back on.  How to you lose weight and keep it off?  What is the key to long term weight loss?

Maybe instead of celebrating weight loss, you need to  commitment to implementing good habits in terms of nutrition and movement. Healthy eating and exercise can’t be something you do for a month or a year – it has to be something you adopt long-term.

You need to learn more about moderation and let go of your guilty conscience when it comes to calling certain foods ‘bad”.  Let’s look at 5 tips of women who keep of weight for the long term.

They set realistic weight loss goals

Most women who lose weight and keep it off for good don’t set goals they know they wonít be able to achieve. Saying you need to lose 70 pounds by next month isn’t just unrealistic.

Your body wasn’t meant to burn fat that fast. The harder you push it, such as limiting yourself to too small of a calorie count, the more stubborn your body will be in hanging onto the fat stores you have because your body goes into starvation mode.

Your metabolism could also be sluggish at first, especially if you’ve been sedentary for a long period of time. You need to give it time to get revved up so that it’s burning fat for fuel at a faster pace, and that doesn’t happen overnight.

You have to learn to be okay with slower weight loss because those the pounds that will stay gone for good.

They pay attention to hunger cues

Women who are able to lose weigh permanently are those who learn to be aware of their hunger cues.  They learn how to adopt the great habit of not eating when they’re not hungry. So maybe women who struggle with their weight eat out of boredom or for emotional reasons.

If you want to be aware of your hunger cues, create a scale that you can identify with like this:

0 = so miserably stuffed you almost feel sick
1 = full
2 = not hungry
3 = you could eat something
4 = stomach is growling
5 = starving and have gone way too long without food

You want to eat whenever you’re between a 3 and a 4. You want to stop eating when youíre at a 2 and no longer hungry.

Most women don’t even know what hunger feels like anymore because they never truly let their bodies get to that point. They simply eat when it’s time. They also eat portions that are too large.

Part of being aware of your hunger cues is about knowing when to stop eating what’s on your plate. Youíve probably heard that it takes 20 minutes for your brain to become aware of how full you are, so eat slowly or you can easily eat more than needed.

They practice moderation

When many women go on a diet, they have an all or nothing mindset. Once you’re on that diet wagon, it means any ‘cheating’ is a diet failure.

That’s not a way to live long term! There are many foods in the world and none of them should be banned if it’s what you enjoy.

The key to losing weight long term is to take the moderation approach. Have cake and ice cream when you want it  but stick to your hunger cues. And with guilt out of the picture, you won’t tend to binge.

Listening to your hunger cues and making all foods okay gives you the freedom to lose weight over time without feeling deprived, without panicking and being upset when you ‘cheat’.

They use Non Food Rewards

Women who lose weight and keep it off know how to reward themselves for all their hard work. They don’t lose 5 pounds and then plan a trip to their favorite restaurant to celebrate!

Instead of meal rewards, find ways to appreciate your efforts that don’t involve food. Sometimes it can cost money, but it doesn’t always have to. Here are a few ideas for you to consider:

  • Manicure/pedicure (or even a new polish at the store if funds are tight)
  • New outfit
  • New technology gadget (can be small or big)
  • Day of rest and no work (no cleaning, cooking, etc.)
  • New book
  • Go see a movie
  • New fitness toy
  • Something for a hobby (knitting, pottery, or maybe even a class for something)

Ignore people who try to take you off your goals

Sometimes, the ones we love most can be some of our biggest obstacles when it comes to losing weight. Friends and family mean well (you hope) but not everybody goes about it the right way or has the best intentions at heart.

Reasons for the sabotage of your diet plans can be varied. Here are some of the most common ones:

  • The loved one doesn’t want to be left behind. They don’t want to be overweight while you’re losing
  • They feel they know better than you do.

Most of the time, they donít know they’re sabotaging you. They offer you candy and snacks in a joking manner, not realizing it’s hurtful to you that someone you care about would try to make you fail.

Just as you don’t want others pressuring you to diet their way, don’t do the reverse and turn into someone who does nothing but talk about how much weight you’re losing. Don;t lose the rest of your identity to become ‘the dieter’.

There is  more to you than what the scale says and if you notice you’ve become obsessed with losing weight and can’t find anything else to talk about, it’s time to step back and find yourself again.

Don’t force your diet on other people – if they ask, feel free to share your success tips with them! But forcing it on someone is just as bad as those who sabotage you and try to get you to quit your diet.

They move

The key to long term weight loss success includes adding movement throughout your day. It should’t be something you dread and want to find excuses for.

Here are a few ideas to get you off the couch and into the world, burning calories while having fun:

  • Ice or Roller Skating or Roller Blading
  • Dancing
  • Biking
  • Sports (basketball, softball, boxing, running)
  • Swimming

You want to prevent boredom whenever you add an exercise regimen to your weight loss efforts. Not many people enjoy the thought of hopping on a treadmill day after day, watching the same scenery.

It’s much more fun (and better for your body) if you switch things up and change your routine.

Swim when it’s warm and sunny, stay inside and dance when it’s raining.

Losing weight for the long haul means it can’t be something you don’t enjoy. It’s important that you be allowed to eat foods you love, that you’re not chained to an exercise bike week after week, and that you celebrate your efforts and have fun so that you never even consider going back to your old ways.