4 Ways My Clients Successfully Maintain Weight Loss

Nutrition Specialist & New York Times best seller By JJ Virgin, CNS, BCHN
Nutrition Specialist & New York Times best seller
JJ Virgin is a certified nutrition specialist, board certified holistic nutritionist, certified exercise physiologist, and New York Times best-selling author.

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In the past 30 years, I've helped more than a million people lose weight and maintain their weight loss.

It's easier said than done. Losing weight can be sexy, exciting, and even fun — but maintaining that weight loss can be tricky, and the stats are grim.

One meta-analysis of popular weight-loss programs found that people were likely to regain 50 percent or more of lost weight within two years. Another study was even more discouraging, finding an 80 percent relapse rate.

But there is good news: people who maintain their weight observe a few rules to keep things fresh and stimulating. Over my nearly three decades helping clients achieve their optimal weight, I’ve found that those who succeed often employ these four strategies:

1. They make a protein shake every morning.

Protein shakes become my number one needle mover to maintain fat loss because they’re fast, easy, delicious, and effective. Studies confirm what my successful clients know: One meta-analysis found one or two nutrient-fortified meal replacements could "safely and effectively produce significant sustainable weight loss and improve weight-related risk factors of disease."

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2. They observe meal timing.

Clients who maintain fat loss know hunger often becomes the gateway for cravings and nose-diving into a high-sugar-impact catastrophe. That’s why they have a protein shake within an hour of waking, eat a low-sugar-impact meal every four to six hours, and close up the kitchen about three hours before bed.

3. They think ahead.

Successful losers build in time to get food together so they’re never tempted to skip a meal or eat some high-sugar-impact debacle when they’re running late. They make grocery lists, keep their kitchen well stocked, and keep emergency foods nearby. Whether that means getting everything together Sunday night or combining watching a favorite TV program with putting together the next day’s food, they think about it and build it into their schedule.

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4. They factor in pitfalls.

Successful weight-loss clients target pitfalls that potentially get rough, including Sunday family dinners, holiday parties, or a day at the amusement park with the kids. They’re prepared when potentially throw-you-off-your-game situations happen.

One of my clients keeps a stash of turkey jerky, raw nuts, almond butter, and apples on hand. If she finds out that she’s going to be away from home all day, she throws some of her high-protein snacks into some zipper plastic bags and grabs an apple.

If you’ve been successful at weight loss and kept that weight off for six months or more, what strategy would you add here?

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