For many, the really tricky part isn't losing the weight but keeping it off, It can be done as long as you believe in your ability to do it. Here are some tried and tested strategies used by successful slimmers.
There's no going back
If, once you've reached your realistic target weight, you go back to your old eating habits and activity levels, the weight will come back on. It's as simple as that.
This is usually the problem with quick-fix diets, they don't help you to make changes that you can maintain in the long term.
Now you've got there, beware of the 'how to be even skinnier' media messages that might lure you into feeling dissatisfied with your great achievement.
You still have a life to live and enjoy, so hang on the satisfaction of being at a comfortable, healthy weight you can sustain. The successful do. They also tend to lose weight more gradually in the first place compared with those who rebound back to square one.
Keep up a positive attitude and don't be dissatisfied with your body.
Show flexible restraint
Successful slimmers and many slim people who stay that way by 'watching their weight', show flexible restraint rather than following rigid all-or-nothing rules. They make healthy choices most of the time, but see no foods as forbidden.
This means enjoying small amounts of favourite foods without feeling guilty. Or, if you do over-indulge or have a big night out, cutting back a bit or doing more exercise the next day to balance things out.
Learn how to choose, prepare and enjoy a balanced diet. Low-fat cooking skills, understanding food labels and having the ability to judge portion sizes all help here.
So does eating regular meals, taking time to really taste them, planning ahead for difficult times - and indulging yourself now and then!
How to eat like a successful slimmer
- Continue to eat a balanced, lower fat diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables.
- Don't avoid any foods, just watch portion sizes and limit the amount of certain foods.
- Have three regular meals a day at regular times (starting with breakfast), and fewer snacks.
- Eat out occasionally, but limit fast food.
- Sit down to eat your meals, take time over them and pay attention to what you're eating.
Getting regular exercise is one of the strongest indicators of long-term success. Not only does it burn calories and increase metabolism-boosting muscle, it also boosts self-esteem and beats stress.
Studies show that simply walking for 30 minutes or so each day, plus some other activities during the week, may be enough.
Have ongoing support
Changing the habits of a lifetime isn't easy, and keeping them up is no doddle either. Having the right kind of support, not only when losing weight but afterwards too, is vital.
Keep 'self-monitoring' to stay conscious of your new eating and activity habits - whether this is with a regular or occasional food diary, keeping a mental note or ongoing calorie awareness.
Learn to deal with stress
For many people, food is a quick and effective way to deal with stress. If this is the case with you, take some time to think about the stresses in your life and how you respond to them. A food and thoughts diary can be helpful.
Think about how you could manage stress differently. Things that help include regular exercise, breathing techniques and challenging negative self-talk that spirals into anxiety.
How to act like a successful slimmer
- Check your weight regularly (once or twice a week) or use another guide, such as how your clothes fit or body composition.
- Don't tell yourself off if you overeat and don't feel guilty about eating certain foods.
- Manage stress and confront problems, rather than eating, drinking, sleeping or just wishing they would go away.
- Gain help and support from your family, friends, a club, website or health professionals.