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scale Weight Management for The Long Run

You've lost weight. You look and feel great, and you're ready to face the world as the new slim you. But wait! The hardest part is yet to come--maintaining your ideal weight. How do you do it when about 90% of people who lose weight regain it?

The key to success is changing your eating habits for the long term and eating the right foods. The governments's food pyramid is a good place to start. It recommends three to five servings of vegetables and two to four servings of fruit a day. Exercise also helps, but it is up to you to supply the discipline and desire to maintain your new svelte shape.

Here, then, are the ABC's of successful weight management, with advise from experts about how to succeed.

A Balanced Diet

It's important to have a balanced diet and control food portions. Unfortunately, most people don't know what a portion is. You've probably seen the government food pyramid, but it doesn't give you portion size, or tell you how small a portion really is. Portion size is really important if you are serious about maintaining your weight.

Proper Portions

You need to know what a portion is and stick with it. For example, half a banana is a portion. Three ounces of beef or chicken, about the size of a deck of cards, is an appropriate serving of protein for low-fat chicken, meat, or fish. A half- cup of rice is a portion. Most bagels are actually three to four servings of starch. If you eat half a bagel in the morning you should not have that much starch again later in the day.

Liquid Candy

When it comes to drinking soda, nutritionists put a label on it. They call it "liquid candy" because soda is so saturated with sugar. It is important to balance sugar in terms of maintaining weight. So don't overdo the sugar. People lose weight and think they are home free. Common mistakes? Ordering sensible food like plain chicken but then indulging in calorie-laden appetizers and desserts.

Control Cravings

Discipline is an important element in weight control. If you can't control it, cut it out. If you have a craving for a particular kind of food, and you know when you eat that food your brain clicks off, and you can't control yourself, cut it out. It's like being an alcoholic.

Studies also show that increased physical activity gives one a sense of well- being, and an improved mood makes it more likely you will succeed. Reason: You feel better about yourself. That goes hand in hand with physical activity.

Women's Dilemma

When it comes to maintaining weight, women have different problems than men. Society sets the standards for women. Look at the ultra thin actresses and models whom women aspire to be like. Often they are under their prescribed body eight or body mass index. Women's magazines feature sleek women on their covers as the ideal, the right way to be, and that puts pressure on women. Generally women have more fat mass than men. That's why it's easier for men to lose weight. They have more muscle mass, which burns calories.

Consistent exercise 6 days a week is a major factor in weight maintenance for men and women.

Lifestyle Change

Dietary behavioral changes are part of a journey to lifestyle change. Maintaining your weight means incorporating menus and rules. Be realistic. You sacrificed to lose weight. Now sacrifice to maintain it.

Expect to regain some weight, but set a limit of 5 pounds, and don't exceed it. Weigh yourself two or three times a week to be certain to maintain your ideal weight.

Lapsing & Relapsing

Think about situations when you start to eat incorrectly. At a party or social event, plan ahead not to overeat. There is a difference between lapsing and relapsing.

Food is the only way to relieve stress for some people. Think about situations that are high stress, especially when you are emotionally upset. It's easy to return to previous habits. It is much easier to lose weight than to keep it off. If you reduced your weight to 150 pounds from 250, you can't eat as much food as before, or you will gain weight again.

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