Millions of people lose weight each year. The question is how to keep it off forever?

MINDSET is the biggest key to success!! Believe in yourself! Learn from past attempts at weight loss.

Map your path. How do you know where you are going if you don't know where you've been? Write down habits you want to change. (1)

Keep a food record. Record all foods that you eat or you will be cheating yourself! Write it ALL down to identify patterns in mood, snacking, trouble times, trigger foods, etc1.

Pay attention to portions. Try portion-controlled snacks or single-serve healthy frozen dinners to reacquaint you with portions. Avoid buffets and "budget" takeout, which encourages overeating. Measure all foods to see how much you actually eat. Many of us underestimate amounts.

Make small changes. Sometimes prior weight loss attempts fail because you were not ready to change or you took on too many changes at once. Permanent weight loss is a marathon, not a sprint! Small successes build confidence in helping with long-term success.

The 3 Fs: FLUID, FIBER, and FITNESS. Include fruits and vegetables in your diet DAILY. This may seem difficult at first, but it gets easier as time goes on. Do not drink your calories; you will be less hungry if you lose those liquid calories.

Find an activity you enjoy. Even small doses add uptake the stairs instead of the elevator and park further away. If your budget permits, hire a personal trainer to design a plan to fit your needs. Physical activity is important to weight loss.

Attitude is everything! Get your head in the game! Permanent weight loss is ongoing, not a "diet" to go on and off, requiring a change in mindset. If you can't accept your role in your success, no pill, tool or exercise will help you achieve your goals. YOU must be willing to take an honest look at your present lifestyle and MAKE the necessary changes.

Stay POSITIVE! Don't fear food, enjoy it! Don't beat yourself up over your current weight situation-guilt is self-destructive. Treat each day as a new day-keep your eyes on the long term goal. TAKE those small steps and celebrate each mini-success. You are reading this, so, you have already taken the first step.

Seek support. Enlist the help of a friend, family member, online support group, dietitian, or personal trainer. Checking in daily helps keep you on track!

  1. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, Sept. 2012. Self-Monitoring and Eating Related Behaviors Are Associated with 12-Month Weight Loss in Postmenopausal Overweight-to-Obese Women.