THE BLOG
01/29/2016 11:52 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Habits of People Who Lose Weight and Keep It Off

By: Kelly Coffey

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Credit: Flickr/Allan Foster

In 2003, I weighed an uncomfortable 307lb. By 2004, I weighed 150. Unlike most people who lose weight, I've kept it off for over a decade.

"What sorcery is this?" you may ask. But there's no magic in my weight-loss maintenance formula. Like most folks who lose weight and keep it off, I developed habits that keep me from regaining the half of myself I left behind.

If you've lost weight, are in the process of losing weight, or are just in the planning stages, the sooner you start building the habits you'll need to keep it off, the more confident you can be that any weight lost won't be re-found. What are those habits? I'm so glad you asked...

More: Myths About Metabolism You Really Shouldn't Believe

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Credit: Flickr/Robert Couse-Baker

They drive the damn car
Like driving, staying on course with food means always looking slightly ahead, regardless of what you're driving. Even if you're on the Tesla of nutrition plans, it's as good as a crash diet if you stop paying attention. Look at what's coming -- day-long meetings, holidays with pie-pushing aunts -- and plan your choices accordingly.

Those with weight-loss success stories keep both hands on the wheel and both eyes on the road when it comes to what, how, and why they eat.

Sure, you'll hit bumps and wind up in a ditch sometimes. When that happens, take a breath, check the mirrors, and keep going.

They make the strong choice (almost) every time
Folks who keep the weight off know that built-in "cheats" can easily become full-blown orgies, so they try to eat clean most of the time. Eating well is a lifestyle, and they take it seriously. They stay away from heavily processed, hyper-palatable, and calorie-dense foods.

Like "Get Out of Debt FAST" and "Learn Spanish in 10 Minutes a Day!" they know sales hype when they see it. Of course, I and others like me still slip plenty of times. But it's important to self-correct so that it doesn't turn into a total collapse.

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Credit: Flickr/Adam Bautz

They know that exercise alone won't keep the weight off
In order to maintain weight loss, longtime losers do a good job of balancing the energy they take in with the energy they can reasonably put out in a day. If you're looking to lose weight, exercise may give you a little wiggle room, but unless you're training for the Tour de France or plan to cross the Pacific in a rowboat, you can't and won't burn off the calories ingested if you eat mindlessly.

Sure, exercise is a non-negotiable if you want to feel your best, but it has next to no bearing on weight compared to the impact of what you stuff in your face. Remember this the next time some peppy, sexy 20-something co-ed promises weight loss to try to sell you a year-long gym membership.

To find out what other healthy habits you can emulate to lose weight, get the full story at Thrillist.com!

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