The more healthy behaviour changes you make and entrench into your lifestyle the more likely you are to be successful after your weight loss diet. One study found that those who had kept weight off after 3 years had made between 5-8 behaviour changes such as mindful eating and meal regularity.
Watching lower amounts of television or decreasing television screen time seems to improve your chances of successfully keeping weight off. The national average for television watching is 28 hours per week, whereas one study found that those who successfully kept weight loss off were far more likely to be watching less than 10 hours of television per week (4).
Get Professional Help
Frequent contact with professional support is a large predictor of success of a weight loss diet. This is shown in one successful diet intervention that included small groups of 10-20 people that met 3 x per month for 6 months, 2 x a month for the following 6 months, and then once a month for next 7 years after that. Additionally they had options to contact their professionals for extra help. The people who kept weight off for the long run were those that took the initiative to utilise all these sessions and the professional help available.
Sustainable Exit Strategy
People who remain successful a year after dieting are more likely to be successful long term and this likelihood increases exponentially after 2 years. This means that your post weight loss diet strategy is more important than your actual weight loss diet strategy for your long term success. You need a plan for when your diet finishes and you need it to be sustainable for the next 2 years! This means eat enough food to make sure you can stick with your new healthy plan for the long haul. An ill planned nutrition strategy, despite being based on healthy foods, can still lead to unsustainability.
Weight loss is significantly more likely to be maintained if you have a regular exercise programme, especially if you exercise more than the recommended guidelines of 150 minutes per week. Staying motivated and focusing on health and fitness seems to keep you on track with healthy eating too.
Good Mental Wellbeing
Not surprisingly those with lower levels of depressions and emotional disorders are more likely to maintain weight loss. It is so important to prioritise wellbeing over weight changes. Weight fluctuations, eating and our emotions are all highly linked. I would suggest working on mental health and wellbeing and ensuring you are in a stable place before attempting any weight loss plans. Even the healthy ones.
Research has shown that you are more likely to keep weight off after a diet if you have made long term behaviour changes, you watch less television, you seek professional help, you have a sustainable exit strategy, you are a regular exerciser or you have good mental wellbeing.