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12 Diet Secrets of People Who’ve Maintained Their Weight Loss

Shedding extra pounds is hard, but keeping them off can be harder. Steal the secrets of these big "losers" to help preserve your healthier, slimmer body for good.

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They keep using those measuring cups


Stress can play a big role in weight gain, which is why it’s critical to be aware of why you’re eating at any given time. Alexis Eggleton, 34, went through this struggle until she joined Weight Watchers. “Weight Watchers gave me the tools to practice portion control and moderation, and really helped me work on my work-life balance and emotional wellness,” Eggleton says. She’s maintained her 100-pound weight loss by staying committed to a workout regimen that includes walking, running, biking, or working out at home with fitness DVDs, and eating sensible portions, always using her measuring cups and spoons. Memorize these portion control sizes for easy weight loss.

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They accept how they feel about food


Most people hide or just ignore the fact that their relationship with food is not the healthiest, which can easily lead to an expanded waistline. Gabriel Reyes, 59, discovered that in order to lose 75 pounds and keep it off, he had to face his demons, consciously avoiding processed foods and red meat, and mainly sticking to whole foods. “Now I eat only when I’m hungry—not to fill an emotional void; I eat only enough to feel pleasantly full; and I exercise for at least an hour five to six times a week,” he says. “I also meditate and focus on my body and health, and use a calorie counter app.” These tricks can help you shut down shut down emotional eating.

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They consciously stay in control


Pounds have a way of creeping up without your noticing, and the day you become aware of it may be your breaking point. That was the case for Marisa Hochburg, 27, who was tired of being overweight and decided to take control of her life. After losing 75 pounds, knew she needed to keep up her “take control” approach. “The key is to make your diet and exercise routine into a lifestyle,” Hochburg says. She mainly eats lots of protein (no meat, just fish), tofu, seitan, veggies, egg whites, and salads. “I try to stay away from anything processed or anything that comes out of a can,” she says. To keep herself in shape, Hochburg is devoted to her SoulCycle classes, and makes sure to walk everywhere possible. “I walk to my office, appointments, and meetings. I leave extra time to walk. Every extra step counts!” Learn the one habit that helped these six people lose 10 pounds.

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They keep themselves accountable


To lose 27 pounds after having a baby, Stacie Krajchir, 48, found that sticking to the same menu day after day helped take the guesswork out of the process. But when it came to maintaining her weight loss, it’s regular check-ins that have made all the difference. “I think my success in maintaining has been checking in and getting weighed every few months as a ‘refresher,’ Krajchir says. “And I set up a reminder to drink lots of water, and eat fruits and veggies packed with water like celery, cucumbers, and watermelon.”

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They commit to a new lifestyle


It’s easy to start a diet. The hard part is making those healthy changes into a permanent part of your lifestyle. For Donna Grant-Paige, 45, going low-carb and focusing on “real food” has been key to maintaining her weight loss from the beginning. She starts her days with a breakfast of eggs with spinach or mushrooms and always has an Atkins bar in her purse for when she’s out and gets hungry. “I drink lots of water and snack on nuts and cheese,” Grant-Paige says. “I try not to go long periods without eating so my blood sugar doesn’t crash.” She also works out with a personal trainer twice a week, which helps keep her accountable to exercise. Check out these morning habits of people who stay slim.

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They find a workout they love


Exercise that feels miserable is not sustainable. You have to find a workout you enjoy in order to make physical fitness a lifelong habit. Teena-Marie DiBartolo, 27, fell in love with an exercise class called Vixen Workout, and it’s helped her lose over 50 pounds. “Before attending Vixen Workout, I was a yo-yo dieter for as long as I can remember,” DiBartolo says. “I tried gym memberships, group fitness classes, and even personal trainers. I also had tried Weight Watchers twice. Nothing felt enjoyable and none of my results lasted until I discovered the Vixen Workout.” Between attending one to two classes a week and eating healthier, she dropped 27 pounds in four months. DiBartolo continues to make small tweaks to her diet to enhance the weight loss, such as adding three cups of green tea, drinking more water, and kicking the sugar out of her coffee. Use these hacks to keep your workout from becoming a chore.

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They use apps


Technology can be our greatest weight loss ally. Apps such as MyFitnessPal can help track your meals and activity levels throughout the day, increasing motivation and accountability. Marge Hobley, 71, lost 15 pounds after she discovered the Yaye app, which lets you connect with a group of friends or family members and take a picture of your activity or goal each day. “Posting pictures daily and connecting with my daughters made me more mindful about what I was eating,” Hobley says. Aside from using the Yaye app, which is free, Hobley also takes spin classes and tries to eat more healthfully.

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They heed the health scares


A life-threatening health diagnosis can be an incredible catalyst for change. For Erika Kerekes, 50, it took a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes to decide she needed to change her lifestyle. Between running a gourmet condiment business and juggling other responsibilities, she realized she’d stopped taking care of herself. “After a lot of research, I decided to cut out the foods that raise your blood sugar most,” Kerekes, says. “I started building my meals around protein, fat, and vegetables instead of bread and pasta.” She also purchased an elliptical that she now uses every morning. Within three months, her fasting blood sugar and A1C were out of diabetic range, and she had lost close to 20 pounds. A year later she’s 40 pounds lighter, all of her numbers are normal, and she is practically off all of her medications. Learn the secrets of real people who lost (and kept off) 50 or more pounds.

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They seek support


Maintaining your weight after loss requires a good support network. Erika Shannon Hathaway, 40, who lost 30 pounds in time for a high school reunion, says her husband’s help has been instrumental in keeping the pounds from coming back. “I believe in support and safety in numbers,” Shannon Hathaway says. “Last time I felt I was starting to gain weight, I enlisted my husband in a quest to fine-tune our eating habits. I started cooking more, adding more fish and cutting back on red meat, and he has since lost 13 pounds, a definite plus that makes him feel great too.” Shannon Hathaway also writes down what she eats daily, exercises five times a week and makes sure to mix up her workouts. Here are some quick weight-loss tips that nutritionists approve of.

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They don’t eat their feelings


Emotional eating, or turning to food to cope with stress or difficult emotions, is not an uncommon tendency. For Shanique Garvin, 36, taking care of her ill husband in 2015 had been driving her to eat. When she decided to face down her problem, she was featured in O magazine and given a gym membership. She now takes her frustrations out at the gym, with four personal training sessions weekly. She’s also eating fewer carbs and has added protein powder. “Eating clean allows me to stay at my size if I’m not exercising because of a crazy week or to lose weight when I am exercising,” Garvin says.

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They turn heartbreak into empowerment


A breakup can bring you down—or be just the kick in the pants you needed to start fresh. Lolita Cipriano, 40, came out on top after leaving an unhealthy relationship, going on to lose nearly 50 pounds. “I used swimming and free boot camps as an outlet to deal with the heartbreak and frustration,” Cipriano says. “I also resumed spin classes and running. I began eating better, cutting out processed food and cooking more.” During training for her first triathlon, she noticed that by weaning off artificial sugar and simple carbs, her performance in swimming, cycling, and running improved, which inspired her to kick out those foods for good. Learn how one mom lost 150 pounds by cutting out only four foods.

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They allow for slipups


Even after you’ve transitioned to a healthier lifestyle, there will be times when you drop the ball. Tanisha Shanee, 32, who lost 140 pounds in 17 months, is aware that nothing is ever perfect, so she forgives herself. “Even when I gain weight, I don’t get depressed like before,” says Shanee, who once tipped the scales at 350 pounds. “I just try to understand what’s happening in my life and focus on fixing it that so my lifestyle is not impacted.” Here are some more weight-loss motivation mantras from people who successfully lost weight (and kept it off).