Keeping extra weight off can be as challenging as losing it. You may be tempted to go back to your old habits. It takes commitment to stick to your new, healthy lifestyle. Yet when you do, you may notice that you have greater self control with food, feel stronger, have better eating habits and are in better overall shape!A couple days of tracking your calories with our food diary can help figure out how to dodge the food traps.
Decide ahead of time how you will deal with your habits and temptations to veer off course. If there are mental or emotional barriers that have previously kept you from losing weight, find ways to deal with them so that you don’t sabotage your weight loss efforts.
Here are some common roadblocks and solutions.
|I get hungry between meals and end up buying snacks out of the machine at work or the convenience store.||Always keep low-calorie heart-healthy foods around. Use a shopping list, and don’t shop when you’re hungry. Learn healthy substitutions for high-calorie foods.|
|If I go to a buffet, I just can’t control how much I eat.||Take one minute at a time while you are in front of the buffet table and remind yourself how hard you are working to lose weight. Fill your plate with fresh fruits and vegetables and put a small portion on your plate and don’t go back for seconds. Believe that you can do it and you will!|
|I usually grab something on the way home from work because I am so tired, I don’t feel like cooking.||Plan your meals a week at a time over the weekends and cook partial meals then so that you have most of your meal prepared and only need to heat it up and add finishing touches. Check out some of our recipes. For those with cardiovascular conditions, try some of our low-cholesterol, low-sodium and diabetes-friendly recipes.|
|I can’t seem to resist my cravings for sweets and salty foods.||When you start having a craving, drink a tall glass of water. Fooling your stomach into thinking it's full can guide you past the craving.|
|I love dessert. I can’t give it up!||When you crave a high-calorie food, eat a small amount and forget about it, instead of resisting until you give in and gorge on it. Trust yourself to eat just a little or don’t eat any at all. You can also find some smart substitutions and trade-offs with our list of ways you can save calories.|
|I don’t like working out. It’s boring.||Stay active! Don’t give up on your physical activity plan. Find an exercise partner, exercise class or try these tip to help you stay motivated. Visit our Physical Activity section to learn how to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine. Get tips for long-term success.|
Lapsing and Relapsing
A lapse is a small mistake or return to old habits. This can happen when you have a bad day and overeat or skip exercise.
A relapse is when you go back to old habits for several days or weeks.
Remember that having a lapse or relapse is not failing. You can get back on track. Think about whether you feel hunger (gnawing in your stomach) or urges (mental cravings for food). When you feel an urge, set a timer for 15 minutes and wait, or do something else before eating. This will teach you to be in control of your desire for food. Try to use other ways to respond to life’s stresses besides eating. Take a brisk walk, start a new hobby or calm yourself with advice from our Stress Management website.
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Last reviewed on 08/2014.