Long-term weight loss may seem like an unattainable goal for many dieters, especially those who have tried several different diets. If you are trying another diet, then you know this feeling. So, is long term weight loss something they only achieve in a land far, far away in a happily ever after?
The answer is no. Long term weight loss can, and should, be a realistic goal. The key is to select a diet that not only gives you a plan for dropping the unwanted pounds, but also has a plan or at least tips for maintaining that weight loss. Diet plans based on unrealistic meal plans or expensive food items will be hard to sustain, and even harder to maintain for the long run. Although they may help you achieve rapid weight loss, they will do nothing for maintaining the fat loss later on.
A diet program based on real food, in realistic quantities, will be a much more successful diet in the end. The weight loss may be a little slower but it will be healthier and easier to keep up after the diet is over. If the diet requires you to take a supplement or eat a particular "super food" to boost your metabolism while you are dieting, but doesn't account for this metabolic change after the diet is over, the weight will slowly (or not so slowly) creep back on.
Another good indicator that a diet may not be designed for long term success is the degree of willpower required to stay on the diet. If it requires complete sacrifice and menu changes that seem extreme you may not be able to sustain the diet, let alone a maintenance plan. If the diet has no flexibility built in then the diet is destined for failure. Day to day plans will change and the meal plan for the day may change. If there are no suitable substitutes offered for these times then it will be impossible to stick to the diet. This leads to frustration. A diet like this will quickly be dropped.
A good diet for long term fat loss will have three main components. A sound nutritional plan for the dieting period. This will ensure that the weight loss is healthy and sustainable. It should be based on real food, not some diet "super foods." The second component is an educational piece. The diet should teach you what and how to eat. It should be a plan that you can buy into. The "science" behind it should make sense to you. After the diet portion is over you should have a new understanding of what you should be eating to stay at your new weight. Third, it should have a maintenance plan, or at least tips for how to eat after the diet is over so you don't sabotage the hard work you put into achieving your weight loss success.
If all three of those components are present then the plan should help lead you to long term weight loss. The next step is yours, you have to follow the plan. The plan is only a bunch of words until it is put into action.