5 Steps to Keep Weight Off

By: Red Hot Mamas

Published: August 14, 2015

Contributed byDr.Mache Seibel, MD- Red Hot Mamas Medical Expert

I recently interviewed Sherry Pagodo, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine for My Menopause Magazine on how to keep weight off.  It’s not easy. But according to Dr. Pagodo, It’s doable if you follow these 5 steps;

Develop a long-term mind set

Being on a diet is great for losing 5 or 10 pounds but it’s not-effective for long term weight loss.  It’s a short-term fix.  To really keep weight off, think of your weight loss as a destination- a new you.  When you decide how much weight you are going to lose, think how much younger, happier, sexier and healthier the new you is going to look and feel.

Avoid Food Cues

You know what it’s like to have someone come to your meeting with a box of donuts or put a bowl of nacho chips on your table- it can be hard to say no even if you are not hungry.  Send the cues away.  Maybe you go into a fast food restaurant and head for the salad bar but along the way you smell the french fries.  Hard to resist them.  So don’t go in there.  Drive past, don’t drive through.  Stay away from the buffet tables and all you can eat restaurants.  That will also reduce your intake of sugar, fats and salt- the most addictive components of food that make the reward center of your brain light up like an alcoholic’s or drug addict’s reward center when they get their fix.  And while you’re at it, clear out our food cabinets of all the processed foods and junk food.

Track What You Eat

It’s easier than you think.  Try using a food app to help you change your eating habits.  it takes about 3 weeks to 3 months to change a habit so don’t be surprised if nothing seems to be different in a week or two.  But if you are persistent, you will be creating new habits that help you plan a long-term weight loss and avoid food cues.

Exercise

Exercise is an essential part of maintaining weight loss.  And the approach that works best is to view your exercise with the same eye as a trainer.  Focus on three areas over time:

Endurance- Exercise longer

Distance- Exercise further

Intensity- Exercise harder/faster

By continuing to up the bar, you increase the value of your exercise.  That doesn’t mean that the goal is to run in a marathon. But if you walk for half an hour, try to walk either a little longer or a little faster each week. That will help you to continue to both burn calories and increase muscle mass.

Stress Control

As John Lennon wrote, “Life is what happens to you while you’re making other plans.”  So we all get more than our share of stress and it wreaks havoc on our body, mind, and spirit.  Stress increases the adrenal hormone cortisol, which elevates blood sugar, increases heart rate, breathing and blood pressure and lowers immunity. When the blood sugar drops after a stressful experience, we get hungry again.  Chronic stress also leads to depression.  Over time, stress becomes a cue for eating.

One common stress is being over committed.  And being that stressed and overbooked makes it very hard to lie down and feel relxed and drift off to sleep.

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