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Sustainable Fat Loss: How to Keep the Weight Off for Good

Updated: Aug 20

Two women are giving each other high-fives after working out. They're wearing dark leggings and white bra tops and holding cartons of water. They're standing against a bright red background.

Looking to lose fat but frustrated by weight loss plateaus and stalled progress? You're not alone. In fact, most diets fail in the long term, as confirmed by numerous studies. But don't despair. There are sustainable strategies for fat loss that can help you lose weight and keep it off.

Firstly, let's talk about how fat loss works. It occurs when you maintain a caloric deficit, consuming fewer calories than you burn. But as you lose weight, your body adapts and burns fewer calories. To account for this, you may need to lower calories further or be patient with slower weight loss.

To maximize fat loss success, there are three crucial things to focus on a sustained caloric deficit, weight training to support muscle mass, and sufficient protein intake. However, short-term strategies like fad diets tend to result in muscle loss and eventual weight regain.

Instead, focus on sustainable lifestyle changes that you can maintain long-term. This means making small, gradual changes to your diet and exercise routine rather than cutting out entire food groups or drastically reducing calories.

To lose weight and keep it off, employ these four long-term strategies:

Diet Slowly: Aim to lose around 0.5% to 1% of body weight per week in a fat-loss phase. Losing weight slowly will help you maintain your eventual weight loss much more easily. Create a caloric deficit of around 20% below your current maintenance.

Leverage Habits: Use habits to make the diet feel as easy as possible. One technique is "temptation bundling" - pairing an activity you enjoy with one that supports your weight loss goal. Another technique is implementation intentions, where you create "if-then" plans in advance to deal with potential obstacles.

Prioritize Strength Training: Strength training supports muscle mass and can help prevent metabolic adaptation.

Focus on Sustainability: Instead of cutting out entire food groups or drastically reducing calories, focus on making small, gradual changes to your diet and exercise routine that you can sustain over time.

By following these strategies, you can lose fat, break through weight loss plateaus and achieve sustainable fat loss. So, say goodbye to stalled progress and hello to a toned physique!



Persistent metabolic adaptation 6 years after "The Biggest Loser" competition.

Medicare's search for effective obesity treatments: diets are not the answer.

Can a weight loss of one pound a week be achieved with a 3500-kcal deficit? Commentary on a commonly accepted rule.

A systematic review of dietary protein during caloric restriction in resistance trained lean athletes: a case for higher intakes.

Effective behaviour change techniques for physical activity and healthy eating in overweight and obese adults; systematic review and meta-regression analyses.

Making health habitual: the psychology of 'habit-formation' and general practice.

Implementation intentions and goal achievement: a meta‐analysis of effects and processes.

Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition. (2018). U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. (2020). U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S.

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