Conclusion

Successful weight loss maintenance can be challenging. However, information obtained from the NWCR, a registry of long-term successful weight loss maintainers, and from experimental studies that have examined different approaches to improve weight loss maintenance indicates that there are several strategies that may assist with long-term weight loss maintenance. These strategies are described in Table 2. Most notably, it is vital to recognize that for successful weight loss maintenance, individuals must continue to consume less calories and to engage in a greater level of physical activity than they did prior to weight loss; otherwise, they will return to a state of positive energy balance, in which weight (re)gain occurs.

Information from the NWCR suggests that to sustain weight loss, a low-calorie, low-fat diet is needed. Experimental studies show that at least during the weight loss phase, a structured low-calorie diet improves long-term weight loss. The structure of the diet can be increased by using food provisions, structured meal plans, and/or meal replacements. In addition, maintaining structure in the diet may help sustain a lower calorie diet, thus helping with weight maintenance.

Being physically active, for at least 200 minutes per week, also seems to aid in successful weight loss maintenance. Both experimental studies and self-reported activity information from registry participants support this recommendation. Ways to assist with achieving this level of activity include having

Table 2 Helpful strategies for successful weight loss maintenance

Area

Strategy

Diet

Consume a low-calorie (~1500 calories per day) diet

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