Weight Loss Success: Habits to Keep the Weight Off (cont.)

Habit No. 12: Keep a food journal
Finally, recording what you eat and drink in a food journal will help you learn about your eating habits and identify bad eating patterns.

Of course, weight-loss success depends on whom you ask. A report in the International Journal of Obesity found that successful maintainers also had these characteristics in common:

  • They dieted for longer periods.
  • They were originally motivated to lose weight for psychological reasons (improving self-esteem or overcoming depression).
  • They reported eating healthy food more often than the less successful dieters.

Final words of advice: Hang in there, baby, it really does get easier. The longer you maintain weight loss, the easier that maintenance becomes. How long are we talking about? Keep the weight off for 2 years, says Frank, and you'll be fairly stable thereafter.

It's not easy, but you can lose weight permanently. Make a commitment to gradually adopt healthier eating habits for the rest of your life. It may sound impossible, but if this new way of living entails eating great tasting food (many of which are healthier versions of your favorite foods) and getting an hour a day of exercise you actually enjoy, it can be -- dare I say it -- pleasurable.

Originally published July 2, 2003
Medically updated Feb. 11, 2005.

SOURCES: The Wall Street Journal (online), "Dieters Find Support In Online Communities," June 10, 2003. WebMD Medical News: "Secrets of Successful Weight Loss," May 10, 2002. WebMD Medical News Archive: "Have You Heard About the Successful Losers?" July 12, 2001. WebMD Medical News Archive: "Experts Find Recipe for Weight Loss Success," Aug. 23, 2000. WebMD Medical News Archive: "The Key to Keeping the Pounds Off," Dec 12, 2000. Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology (1999) 67, 177-185.

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