19 July 11 On Weight Maintenance & Tooth Brushing

I sometimes hear people say that they are going to get rid of their excess pounds and then be done with it all. That is a little like saying, "I'll brush my teeth and floss this month and then I won't have to do it anymore." You can do that, but pretty soon you might not have any teeth or gums left. And if you stop performing basic activities that allowed you to lose weight in the first place, you will find that the weight creeps back on.

So healthy teeth/gums and weight maintenance have a lot in common – they both require preventative behaviors that need to be performed regularly. That is, one needs to develop a HABIT of performing those behaviors.

National Weight Control Registry

This is a registry of folks who have lost weight and kept it off for at least a year or more. Self-reported behaviors of these successful weight losers are:

  • 78% eat breakfast every day.
  • 75% weigh themselves at least once a week.
  • 62% watch less than 10 hours of TV per week.
  • 90% exercise, on average, about 1 hour per day.

Interesting list of behaviors, isn't it? Here's a link to the registry's publications page.

Research also shows that journaling or tracking is a key behavior in successful weight maintenance. MyNetDiary will help you stay on track - please take advantage of our Community Forum for support during weight maintenance as well as during weight loss.

Fear of Failure

Weight maintenance can be a mind game. Many people have told me that they consider weight maintenance harder than weight loss. They express fear of weight regain and say that the odds are stacked against them. In my experience, what leads to failure is the "all or nothing" approach. When people get into this mindset, they stop at a setback and spiral downwards until they hit rock bottom.

What is more helpful is the problem-solver approach. Are you no longer maintaining and instead, gaining weight? Troubleshoot. For most of us, it is some combination of less activity and/or higher calories intake. For instance, a classic problem is a change in work so that you have to travel more away from home – meaning less time for exercise and more dining out. Once you identify the problem, you can work on solutions.

You don't need to be perfect but you do need to persist in the habits that helped you lose weight in the first place. Continue tracking calories and monitoring your weight (or waist size). Move your body and exercise portion control. After all, weight maintenance is still a numbers game – your average calories intake over time needs to match your total calories expended.

Katherine Isacks, MPS, RD
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Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.


Weight Maintenance/Behavior Weight Maintenance/National Weight Control Registry

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