“Life is really simple,” reads the quote famously attributed to the philosopher Confucius, “but we insist on making it complicated.” If you trust the health experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the same can be said for managing your weight. The public health organization lists a very simple set of guidelines you should follow if you want to keep your weight in check. “The following tips are some of the common characteristics among people who have successfully lost weight and maintained that loss over time,” the CDC says, referencing data from the National Weight Control Registry. Curious to know what they are? Read on for the surest ways to keep your weight down, according to the experts at the CDC. And for more amazing weight loss advice you can use immediately, don’t miss our complete list of the 12 Foods That Drive the Most Weight Loss of All, According to Experts.
Be realistic, but reduce your calorie intake.
“You have embarked on a healthier lifestyle, now the challenge is maintaining the positive eating habits you’ve developed along the way,” the CDC says. “In studies of people who have lost weight and kept it off for at least a year, most continued to eat a diet lower in calories as compared to their pre-weight loss diet.” The organization references a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which tracked long-term weight management of people who have managed to keep weight off for one to five years.
RELATED: Sign up for our newsletter for the latest healthy eating advice.
Don’t skip breakfast.
“Eating breakfast is a common trait among people who have lost weight and kept it off,” says the CDC. “Eating a healthful breakfast may help you avoid getting ‘over-hungry’ and then overeating later in the day.” And if you’re a morning person, make sure you’re aware of The Most Dangerous Way to Drink Your Morning Coffee, According to Science.
“Follow a healthy eating pattern regardless of changes in your routine,” says the CDC. “Plan ahead for weekends, vacations, and special occasions. By making a plan, it is more likely you’ll have healthy foods on hand for when your routine changes.”
Exercise for 60-90 minutes.
“People who have lost weight and kept it off typically engage in 60—90 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity most days of the week while not exceeding calorie needs,” says the CDC. “This doesn’t necessarily mean 60—90 minutes at one time. It might mean 20—30 minutes of physical activity three times a day. For example, a brisk walk in the morning, at lunch time, and in the evening. Some people may need to talk to their healthcare provider before participating in this level of physical activity.”
RELATED: 15 Underrated Weight Loss Tricks That Actually Work
Track your progress.
“Keeping a food and physical activity journal can help you track your progress and spot trends,” says the CDC. “For example, you might notice that your weight creeps up during periods when you have a lot of business travel or when you have to work overtime. Recognizing this tendency can be a signal to try different behaviors, such as packing your own healthful food for the plane and making time to use your hotel’s exercise facility when you are traveling. Or if working overtime, maybe you can use your breaks for quick walks around the building.”
“Check your weight regularly,” advises the CDC. “When managing your weight loss, it’s a good idea to keep track of your weight so you can plan accordingly and adjust your diet and exercise plan as necessary. If you have gained a few pounds, get back on track quickly.”
Seek out support for help and encouragement.
“People who have successfully lost weight and kept it off often rely on support from others to help them stay on course and get over any ‘bumps,'” says the CDC. “Sometimes having a friend or partner who is also losing weight or maintaining a weight loss can help you stay motivated.” For more great weight loss advice, be sure to check out our list of the 200 Greatest Ever Ways to Lose Weight!