15 Habits of People Who Have Effectively Lost Over 20 – 30lbs and Kept it Off

15 Habits of People Who Have Lost 20 -30lbs and Kept it Off weight loss motivation weight loss advice

A few weeks ago I rediscovered the book 7 habits of highly effective people. I am sure you heard of this book considering it has been around forever. Anyway, I didn’t read the book again but the title did get me thinking.

What are the habits of people who have effectively lost over 20 – 30lbs and sustained that weight loss?

The key part of that sentence is sustained that weight loss. As someone who has lost over 30 pounds I can tell you that losing weight in my opinion is easy compared to sustaining it.  But I have sustained my weight loss for over 3 years now. I know the habits that work for me and even created an online course filled with everything I know. But I was curious what other people do or have done to sustain their weight loss. So I decided to ask this question on the Organize Yourself Skinny Facebook Page.  125 of you responded and gave some great responses.


Before I share a summary of the responses I want to talk about an observation I made as I was reading all of them. I found it very interesting – though not surprising – that not one person mention a fad diet or strict diet program when talking about losing weight and/or sustaining their weight loss. A couple people did mention Weight Watchers but I think that program does work for a lot of people because it focuses on lifestyle and habits. I personally don’t think paying for a program like Weight Watchers is necessary but out of all the programs out there I think it is the most realistic.  Anyways, my point is that almost every single habit that was talked about was free and did not require a specific “plan” or “program”.

Now of course this is not a scientific study by any means but only what I found by asking people who follow the Organize Yourself Skinny Facebook page. You can view all their responses in full here.

Please note these habits are not in any kind of order. All of them are equally important. I summed up all their responses into 15 habits, added my thoughts, experiences, and resources if available.

I think you will feel relieved and pleasantly surprised –or not – to find that all 15 of these habits are real everyday habits that anyone can implement into their lifestyle. All without sacrificing yourself or any of the food you love. These habits don’t require a monthly fee, for you to buy special diet foods, or the need to follow a list of complicated rules.

15 Habits of People Who Have Effectively Lost Over 20 – 30lbs and Kept it Off

1. Do not eliminate foods or deem certain foods as bad or “off limits”

With all the restrictive diets flooding our tv’s and computer screens you would think the only way to lose weight would be to completely eliminate food groups and only live off kale and water. Well that is not the case. Most people who lose weight and sustain their weight loss do not do so by removing certain foods completely from their diet but finding a way to fit them into a healthier lifestyle. For weight loss to be sustainable your lifestyle needs to be sustainable.

Here are some additional resources:

Accept Diets Don’t Work

Have a “no diet” New Year

2. Develop routines and make it your lifestyle

Losing weight has everything to do with creating healthier habits. To do this you need to switch up your routines. Basically, if you do what you always do then you are going to get what you always get. Once you have created new routines and stick with them those routines will eventually turn into habits and become your new lifestyle. Keep in mind that it takes 21 days to form a new habit so don’t give up on those new routines so quick. Also, don’t try to overhaul your life in one week. Slow and steady friends. Too much to soon will cause you to burn out and get discouraged.

Here are some additional resources:

Make weight loss your new hobby

How to turn weight loss information into weight loss action

5 Things You Can Do in the Next 24hrs to Start Your Weight Loss Journey

3. Eat clean (er) foods

Basically clean eating means eating foods that are minimally processed, if processed at all, and closest to their natural state. When you eat clean foods your body receives more nutritious foods, which means it will be nourished and statisfied longer.

Here are some additional resources:

What is clean eating: simple guidelines for busy people 

Simple steps to get started with clean eating

4. Have an accountability system

Accountability systems are so important with losing weight. They help you measure success, identify issues, and motivate as you move forward. I personally use my scale to hold me accountable. That is what works for me. I also pay attention to the way my clothes fit and how I look in pictures. I know the picture thing might sound weird but for many years I hid behind my kids in pitcures because I hated the way I looked. One reader suggested always looking at yourself in a mirror, front and back. I think the picture and mirror tip comes down to not hiding from yourself. Hold yourself accountable. Now I am not suggesting that you become obsessive with the scale or mirror. Not at all. But having an accoutabitly system is very effective in helping to lose weight and sustain that weight loss.

Here are some additional resources:

4 ways blogging has helped me lose weight and sustain my weight loss

How to start a weight loss accountability group

How to get back on track with your weight loss

3 more tips to get back on track

How to start your weight loss journey: assessment and acceptance 

5. Practice portion control

Once you embrace and learn the concept of portion control is when you realize no food is truly off limits. The saying “everything in moderation” absolutely rings true in the world of sustainable weight loss.

Here are some additional resources:

How to control your portions at home

How to control your portions in a restaurant 

6. Tracking food

Next to portion control, tracking food is one of the most powerful tools with losing weight. In order to make any changes with food you need to know what you are eating and more importantly how much. Some people will say that counting calories or tracking food is tedious and too time consuming. Yes it does take a little time up front however the rewards in my opinion far out weigh any inconvenience. Plus, once you become more aware of the food you are eating you may not need to track as much. However, I have ALWAYS found it helpful to fall back on tracking whenever I have gotten off track.

Here are some additional resources:

How to start a food journal

Combine your food journal and menu plan

Complete a food overhaul

How to start counting calories

3 tips to help control calories

Getting the most out of My Fitness Pal

How to use My Fitness Pal to figure out nutritional information in recipes

7. Prioritize exercise

In order to reach your goal weight and sustain that weight loss you have to prioritize exercise. When you combine a healthy diet with exercise you will see results. Not only will your body change and look better but your mood will change and you will have much more energy.  Now don’t get scared cause I am not saying you need to run marathons or spend hours in the gym. But you do need to get sweaty a few times a week. Find what works for your lifestyle and make a commitment to exercise 3-4 times a week.

Here are some additional resources:

Tips to help prioritize exercise

How I finally made exercise a habit

Exercise routines and my first 5k

The importance of strength training

8. Eat every few hours

I hate being hungry. When I am hungry I tend to get headaches, crabby, and become totally fixated on food. It really is not a pretty sight. So I have learned that instead of eating 3 bigger meals with long periods of time in-between I do much better with eating 5 smaller meals a day. This helps keep me satisfied all day and prevents me (most of the time) from making bad food choices.

Here are some additional resources:

10 healthy snack ideas

snack attack

9. Find healthy substitutions for favorite foods

I think the biggest myth with losing weight is you must give up your favorite foods. This is not true at all. In fact, I have found it to be the exact opposite. If you want to lose weight and sustain that weight lost you need to find a way to continue enjoying the foods you love. Once you start to feel deprived is when your efforts to create healthier habits will crumble. You want to create eating habits you can live with forever.

Here are some additional resources:

How to still enjoy the foods you love on your weight loss journey

Learn to cook healthy: my favorite healthy cooking cookbooks

10. Stay hydrated

I never really concerned myself with hydration. I always thought I drank enough water. However, once I started drinking smoothies in the morning I realized that maybe I was not properly hydrated before. Because when I drink smoothies I feel alert all day, never get headaches, and have a ton of energy that lasts me all the way till night. When I don’t drink them I feel the opposite. Drinking my smoothies not only give me a good dose of fruits and veggies but it also gives me a lot of water and liquid to hydrate my body. For me it is difficult to fully hydrate my body with just drinking water all day. If that works for you great but I have found smoothies to really help with hydration.  If you find yourself tired all the time and not having energy try doing more to hydrate yourself because that could be the issue.

Here are some additional resources:

Smoothie freezer kits

Blueberry Kale Smoothie

Tropical Green Smoothie

11. Meal plan along with preparing meals and snacks ahead of time.

Creating a menu plan and preparing your foods ahead of time helps you become more intentional with the food you are eating. When you are intentional you think before you eat and most likely will make better food choices. Both of these tools – used together – serve as the roadmap and vehicle for a healthy lifestyle. Without either of them I would never know what I am eating and certainly would not have the food available when I am ready to eat. And you know what happens next? Yep, take out or quick unhealthy snacks. Taking the time to menu plan and then preparing the foods that you can ahead of time will make such a big difference with your weight loss efforts.

Here are some additional resources:

Beginners guide to menu planning

Simplify Menu Planning with Rotating Menus

4 simple ways to keep your menu plan on track

Which freezer cooking method is right for you

Beginners guide to freezer cooking

Freezer cooking series

A Beginner’s Guide to Once a Week Food Prep

How to Prep Food for the Week in One Afternoon

Meal Prep like a Boss!

12. Have a cut off time everyday with eating.

This has been one of my go to weight loss habits. Late night eating has always been an issue for me as I am sure it is for other people too. By giving myself a cut off time I am able to control my night time calories. This habit, as with others I have mentioned, keeps my intentional with my eating. My personal cut off time is 7:00pm so I know if the clock says past 7pm and I am eating more than likely I am eating unnecessary calories. Now your cut off time can be whatever works for you. I know some people work crazy schedules and 7pm does not work for them. The point is to stop eating by a certain time to prevent overeating. It has work wonders for me and I believe it can really help you in meeting your weight loss goals.

8 Habits to Do Before Bed to Lose Weight

My #1 Habit to Prevent Late Night Snacking

13. Have a max weight for the scale

This is not something I have practice but I think I will start. I know some people do not like using the scale but for me it works. I weigh myself every week to keep me in check. I try to post my weekly weigh in on my FB page and blog every week or so. Sometimes I am a slacker and go a few weeks without posting. But I will tell you when I start to see the number go up and up that is enough incentive for me to refocus and get back on track. I love the idea of having a max weight because then it gives you a little flexibility but always you are giving yourself a limit.

14. Cook at home

One OYS reader wrote “weight loss begins and ends in the kitchen”. I absolutely loved this and couldn’t agree more. Early on in my weight loss journey I learned that if I wanted my weight loss to be sustainable I needed to learn to cook real food at home. Trying to lose weight and survive off boxed diets meals was not sustainable. When you cook at home you control the ingredients, portions, and are able to prepare food that you enjoy.

Here are some additional resources: 

Become a better cook with these 7 tips

5 things I learned in cooking school

The Ultimate List of Gifts for Someone Trying to Lose Weight

15. Never stop

Even though I did not put the other habits in any kind of order I did want to put this one last. I want you to leave with this. Losing weight and sustaining that healthy lifestyle is a process and journey. It is never over. I have said this many times before but I will say it again – there will be times where you think you got this whole weight loss thing down then there will be other times where you eat a box of thin mints and feel like you lost all control. But no matter how bad you think you “slipped up” never stop trying. Always keep moving forward.

Those are the 15 habits I came across from people who have effectively lost 20 – 30lb or more. I hope you find these encouraging and helpful as you move through your weight loss journey.

Are there any other habits you think should be added to this list that have worked for you?


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  1. I have been reading your blog for a few months now and I enjoy it a lot. There are some great thoughts on here and by reading this I know I’m not alone in weigh loss struggles. One thing that I have learned over the last few years on my journey is that EVERYONE is different. What I do may not work for so and so. All the habits listed above can be customized. Thank you for your blog. I stay motivated to keep on my life style change.

  2. Emmy DeLight says:

    There are some great tips here! I would also add, do not let the numbers on the scale fool you. In fact, I wouldn’t even bother to look at a scale – too often have I had friends begin a new diet and exercise program and begin to shed pounds then watched that number go back up as they lost excess fat and gained muscle mass. That was disheartening to them, despite myself reminding them that muscle weighs more than fat. It wasn’t until I pulled out a measuring tape and said, “Hey, let’s measure you this week and then again in ten days, and compare the difference.” Not everyone notices loose clothing based on what they may or may not have in their wardrobe, but you will notice inches begin to decrease if you measure yourself every few weeks when trying to lose weight. Too many people, women in particular, get so focused on that number on the scale they lose sight of the bigger picture and let themselves get discouraged by that same number.

    • Emmy, I couldn’t agree more. I have just yesterday decided I am no longer going to look at the scales & concentrate only on the measurements. I get so disheartened by being “good” only to see more on the scales. I know that it is only fluid retention etc… BUT I still kinda give up then. So hopefully this will help me get the better of my weight issue once & for all.

      • ruth Vandevander says:

        I couldn’t agree more, i have been trying to lose the weight i gained after my pregnancy but since i suffer from hypothyroidism it is hard. In 2 years trying really hard i have lost just almost 20 lbs. I weight 181 lbs but i am a size 12! I am a perfect example of how the scale can full you..i am more muscle than fat, i have been lifting weights all my life and i have never be enabled to track my progress through the scale.

    • Muscle does not weigh more than fat. A pound is a pound is a pound. A pound of muscle is more dense than fat and takes up less room, however. When you workout you muscles retain water to help them repair and that is the gain you see on the scale.

  3. charlynn says:

    I really liked you 15 healthy habits. I started to change my habits 8 weeks ago and I am starting to see results. I have lost 15 pounds by walking every day and paying more attention to the food I eat. What also really helps me is staying positive. If I do not have a positive attitude about the changes I am making then this will not work. Being negative never really accomplishes anything.

  4. Love this! My most obvious problem is the snacking in the evening after all three kids go to bed. It’s my way to unwind, it’s a drug! And chocolate is my drug of choice! I need to put a cut off time. I think 7pm might be a bit drastic for me to start… I might do 8 (or 8:30pm!) and see how that goes for a week, and then maybe the next 8:15pm, etc. 🙂

    • I had a satsuma last night I was desperate for chocolate but on eating the satsuma I realized it was just as sweet if not sweeter than chocolate and the chocolate craving left me! Have you ever thought of slicing a banana and freezing it and eating it instead of chocolate! You can also do this with grapes bluberry’s and satsuma’s Hope this helps.

  5. Catina Pollard says:

    Thank you…This is so valuable♡

  6. Kate Woodham says:

    Very VERY true!! I wish more people understood these things. I lost 60 lbs doing the exact things you wrote about. I started tracking my weight/eating and began running. As my running evolved and I became an athlete, I began training for a marathon. I decided that I didn’t need to track my eating/weight during this time since I was burning so many calories all the time. It wasn’t until recently (5 months after my marathon) that I started noticing my clothes fitting tighter. Forcing myself to step on the scale, I noticed that I had gained back 15 lbs. Now that is small compared to the 60 I lost before, but it taught me the valuable lesson that it really is never over! Even though I’m still exercising 5-7 days/week and training for my first triathlon, my metabolism has adjusted to this new level of fitness. So I’m back to the grind of weight loss and doing all those things you wrote above. 🙂

  7. Maria Gurunlian says:

    Very interesting, I lost about 15kg during the last 4 months still have some kg to loose, and like to thank you for the tips you offered felt like persosonal message, some of the points I apply in my routine, as for relapsing I as on the verge of doing that yesterday until I held my horses back, this blog just appeared to reinforce my will, and concerning the last point I do believe that following a balanced eating should be a lifestyle, if a person is convienced by this then he/she has no problem. Thanks again and good luck in allyour encounters

  8. Love & use the 15 habits. I lost 40 pounds & have kept it off for 4 years. I also wear a new balance pedometer daily. I try to log. 10000 steps daily. An addition to the steps, it lets me know how many calories I’ve burned so if I want to splurge, I make sure I’ve burned enough calories to offset it.

  9. I have to say that preparing food ahead of time is vital. I haven’t been so good at that the last few weeks and I have found myself eating a lot of fast food and junk food… definitely not helping! I need to make a few things this weekend and prep myself for eating only at home for a while. I also need to be eating a lot less junk food. It’s bad habit. But, I am getting back into the habit of working out! So it is coming together. I just need to it. Great advice!

  10. After almost 20 years of trying to lose weight I simply started to cut down on my portions. I have lost 25 lbs easily. I ate a reasonable amount and before I finish what is on my plate I ask to myself… “am I satisfied?”
    I seldom go for seconds and if I do… I go for veggies first. The “bliss factor” is most important. I might want a brownie … but really only need a bite or two… you do not have to finish what is on your plate for fear it will go to waste. Putting unneeded calories in your body is the same as throwing food out. It still goes to waste and your waist. I can now buy a sandwich and eat half… or take off the top slice… I still feel satisfied and sustained and not worry about tossing the rest or saving the other half. Also what was difficult in the past is if I were in a hurry to buy groceries for a meal

    • Love the statement about eating unneeded calories is putting food to waist. I’ve been following a personalized version of the Paleo diet cutting sugars, I’ve lost 25 lbs over the summer eaten really well. I’m eating natural foods. I still have cheese … I’m exercising and enjoying it… Gave up soda .. But when we went to New Orleans .. I had French bread with my escargots and a bit of Creme brûlée … I exercised .. Drank a lot of water .. And still lost weight. Losing and keeping the weight off is critical. My beloved dad died from diabetes and heart disease at 71 this year.. I may still die in my early 70’s but I will look fabulous and won’t be on a pile of pills because I couldn’t stop eating. My mom is headed down the same path trapped in her body. Not me … Thank you for the blog this will be part of my success …

  11. Victoria Pannell says:

    The cut off time for eating is a habit I developed while I was losing weight also. (30 pounds, kept off now for two years) But, that said, maintaining that habit was hard for me since I love to snack in the evening. My remedy: brush my teeth at the cut off time. If I brushed my teeth at that time, I would know that if I ate again I would have to redo my teeth brushing before bed. It may sound crazy, but it worked for me. Maybe this idea will help someone else. It’s so worth it to lose that extra weight. Feels Great!

    • Barb Irwin says:

      I like the cut-off and brush your teeth idea. I also like another free website that agrees with much of this, called sparkpeople.com. I have combined them with weight watchers, and am going to add your site to my repertoire. I know I’ll learn some more helpful ideas. Thanks!

  12. Great stuff, especially the last point: Never stop!.
    Many people do not realise that it’s an addiction that can be compared with other addictions such as the addiction to drugs.
    Note that some kind of foods are exactly like drugs. Basically since the food industry found out that it generates more revenues (hence, point 3 above is to be take very serious). In a sense we might need the equivalent of the AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) for people that are addicted to certain food & eating habits.
    My additions to the list of 15 habits is less instrumental and more on a mental level: accept yourself and take care in giving your own health the highest priority. Do not interrupt your disciplines to stay healthy because you feel obliged to fulfill other people’s needs. It’s good to be needed (or feel needed) and it’s easier and better to be that way in a healthy state.
    By the way, I am still struggling to find a way to lose weight (again for the fourth time) and stay healthy. Although the disadvantages of my current lifestyle are very obvious, it’s still extremely difficult to give up the advantages.
    So my final addition to the habits is: be ready to give up the advantages of your current lifestyle!

  13. Loved really this blog. I have started my weight lost journey again. I’m suck at 20 pounds off can’t get past that. Any advice….

  14. Been struggling for 30 years..More ups than downs.Joined WW 20+ times.
    Started with a Nutritionalist.Reading Intuitive Eating .i
    I’m working to understand myself..On day at a time?
    This is a new Journey for me.I found 5hese 15 ideas helpful tools I will use.
    Many Thanks,

  15. Such great tips. Hydrating is a hard one for md as well, so great suggestion on the smoothies 🙂 a tip I would offer would be to not snack while doing something distracting- like watching tv. It feels like you never ate because you were never truly focused on what you were eating, it is also easier to ignore when your body is trying to tell you it is full. Take find to simply sit and eat your food. Thanks for this post

  16. LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS! Great post. Have to say, all of the points covered are exactly what Weight Watchers teaches. I see your point about not spending the money on it if you feel you can do it on your own, but there is great value in attending the meetings and get the motivation and support from the leader and the others in the class. For me, it’s worth the $13 a week. But you’re correct, if you follow these tips….success will be with you in sustaining your loss.

    • Thank you so much. I was sitting here in tears and some how I found this blog out of nowhere. I have been struggling with losing 30 lbs. I keep gaining weight every six to eight months I gain 5 to 10 pounds. I can not exercise like I could, not even walking. I have pain issues and I am so depressed. I hate my body! I never would have ever said that out loud but I am at the end of my rope. I am going to try all you have said. If I can get 10 off it would be a miracle. Maybe it would be an incentive to keep going! Just blowing off my steam right now. Thank you for being here. Maybe you saved my life. I am so depressed. Thank you for doing this for people you will be truly blessed.

  17. Amethyst says:

    Curious? What are your thoughts on the book ‘Trim Healthy Mama’ – it is listed in the top 10 on Barnes and Noble. My mom needs to lose approximately 70-80#. She is 61 and it seems that with every year the climb gets steeper and the mental fortitude lacks more. There are things that she cannot enjoy and the emotional and mental “strongholds” seems worse than the physical struggles with her weight.

    • Amethyst says:


    • I never read the book so I am not sure. I agree the mental is so hard – much harder than the physical for many people. I always suggest to start slow and work on 1 habit at a time. Don’t focus so much on the weight loss. have her focus on habits then the weight loss will just come naturally. Good luck!

  18. Elizabeth Forbes says:

    These could be distilled into three principles
    1) Monitor yourself
    2) Monitor your food
    3) Maintain your good habits

    Useful post, thanks.

  19. I’ve lost 41 pounds in over a little more than 4 years. I did weight watchers for the thousandndth time but I really stayed under the max points every day-took it very seriously. What do I do? Eat fruit when hungry. I get luscious fruit from a fruit cart-saved me many hungry times. I don’t let myself get hysterically hungry. I count points every day. I weigh myself every day. for the last 10 pounds or so, I became a vegetarian. I cook a lot, less grains, more greens. Don’t eat much potatoes, pasta, rice. Walk 15 miles a week. I love the veg diet and all the cooking, I’m lucky there. Praying this time it stays off. (ps, my bmi is about 22-23, have gotten a few negative comments, to my great surprise)

    • weight lose problem child says:

      Great inspiration, I too have done the weight watchers and stopped. I am on the lose weight thing again. I want to lose 35 pounds in 2 months. So any foods that can be recommended I would appreciated it.

  20. old aggie says:

    Those looking for a sweet no-calorie snack might try Licorice Spice Herbal Tea, by Stash. It’s sold in grocery stores here in the midwest, or you can find it online. It tastes more like anise cookies than actual licorice, so you might like it even if you always gave away your black jelly beans like I did. 🙂
    Turns out licorice is naturally sweet and historically may even have been used as a sweetener.
    This is the only tea I can drink without adding sugar or splends…it’s really good.
    Someone told me that licorice spice tea is popular in Europe – anyone know if that’s true?
    I have tried other brands of licorice spice tea, but did need to add sweetener to them, so now I’m sticking with Stash. Hope you like it too!

    • Stash is my fav. brand of tea. I love the Salted Toffee. I add low fat milk, but no sweetener (it has a subtle sweetness in the tea). This tea has now replaced my morning coffee (never thought I could give up coffee!)

  21. Thank you for the 15 habits. I teach at a 7 Habits Leadership school. I hadn’t thought about putting them to use in my health/nutrition. I love the 15 different ways to become healthier. Just like the 7 Habits of Highly Effective people, the health habits will become a way of life.
    One thing that I would add to the list is prayer and meditation. I believe that prayer is a vital part of any life-change. Thank you again. I look forward to following your blog.

  22. I really enjoyed reading this, especially how you talked about being hydrated and establishing a cutoff time. I was wondering though if anyone had any advice on a post-gym cool off drink or snack? I work till 1130, get to the gym about 1145 and a half hour drive home. Thank you friends and keep up with your goals and hard work!

  23. I would add “live the Secret”. Once I learned to believe in the new me was it possible to achieve it! We can become who we dream about!

  24. uno ritchie says:

    First you must start loving yourself. Love your body and all it does for you daily. Compare to others who are severely disabled to know how blessed you are and don’t take it for granted. Love your body and treat it as your most valuable temple to cherish and nourish in the best way possible as if your whole life depends on your choices. It does. Nothing is more precious than health and once that is lost or not a priority, your entire life will be impacted. Love everything about what your body has done for you over the years and treat it the very best you can. Friends stricken with diseases have taught me to appreciate health and treat yourself with care. You will never regret treating yourself better, appreciating your health and caring for your body, so it can care for you. You are so worth it! Make good choices to create the best life for yourself. It’s your choice what you eat and how you spend minutes each day. Just keep improving every day, little by little. Be proud of even your sample achievements. You can do what you set your mind on, so focus on your health.

  25. Brittany Burges says:

    Definitely can relate! Being someone who has lost 30+ pounds, the struggle, for me, really comes down to the food – that is where I see all the noticeable changes. Going to the gym is great and I thoroughly enjoy my time there, however, it doesn’t do you any good if you spoil your workout with food. It was very hard for me to re-adjust! Being a stay-at-home mom of 2 toddlers, it was so easy to just want to buy hot pockets or eat a bowl of cereal,if I even made time to eat at all. Making a routine and sticking with it, truly made a difference!

  26. Crystal Miller says:

    Struggling with some inner demons here! Can’t seem to find my strength and convince myself that i dont need to give up and i can loose weight but something inside me keeps bringing me down. I feel at a lose here feel like im drowning and nobody will save me! im an emotional and a bored eater. I pray that something gives!

    • Hey, I know how you feel. I’ve been 10 lbs away from my goal weight and on the right track only to give up, I don’t know, something scares me about succeeding.

  27. Thank you for your helpful tips. First, I want to say keep it up everyone-never quit is so important. I committed myself to eating healthy for one year and start exercising. I was 100 lbs overweight. So far I have lost 62 lbs by eating a clean diet of 1300 calories per day and walking a mile 3 or 4 days a week. I educated myself on nutritional eating and exercise. My life has been transformed. I cannot imagine going back to my old habits even though I know it is possible. Good luck to you all-keep up the good work!

  28. Cynthia sassy says:

    I lost 25lbs ans didn’t keep it off because I stopped following many of the 15 guidelines…one of the things that is an issue for me is snacking late like 930at night….I have become vey selective on what I snack on…cold sliced apples, one string cheese diveided on 6 small crackers. I mentioned to my doctor about 3 months ago that I was eating out of control at night and she said if snacking at night is getting later and later, to go to bed,based on being tired is impeding my food judgement… It never occurred to me! So now with my better snack choices I am also getting ready for bed by 1030 lights out by 1045 instead of 1230…I am feeling better…I have diabetes so the changes I make MUST be made…I am getting more on track with the 15 guidelines…thanks for putting tha. Out there

  29. I lost 40lbs in 2010, and another 20 in 2013. I use a lot of the techniques you do!

    1. I track to lose weight and keep it up at least 6 months into maintenance. When the scale starts to get close to my max weight (which is 5lbs more than my ideal attainable weight) I go back to it for a few months.

    2. I post pictures of myself on my blog and Facebook a lot…knowing people are seeing me and will notice if I start gaining motivates me to keep it up.

    3. I have a repertoire of healthy foods/recipes I love the taste of, and am always adding to it.

    4. I rarely keep junky stuff, sweets, etc, in the house. I will indulge with a serving out of the house for special occasions, but not at home.

    5. I prioritize exercise.

    6. I do not eat after dinner (including a light dessert if I choose to have one) or after 7pm except for the very rare evening out.

    7. I prepare a big bag of fruit to take to work the next day for snacks every night.

    8. I am realistic. I am a 41 year old full time working mother. I am not going to be “skinny”. I don’t have to be “skinny” and if I ever did get there I am sure I would not be able to maintain it for long. So I focus on being slim enough to wear the clothing I like, within the healthy BMI range and fit enough to do the activities I like and mean my fitness goals. I have taken “smokin hot body” out of my goals…it is too much pressure.

  30. I’m on a journey as most of us find ourselves at one stage or another. So far I’m down 24kgs and 87.5cms and I’m still going. But there is one thing that I didn’t see you mention which has been a big one for me……your mind set.
    It is incredibly easy to allow an injury, a binge of food or just a flat energy level due to illness or something else to get in the way and stop you from achieving but I’ve learnt this year that it doesn’t have too.
    When a head cold takes over and my energy is low I focus on my nutrition. When I injured my shoulder I still went to the gym and worked my legs and abs until I was right again.
    These little hurdles appear in all our journeys but what I’ve come to realise is it’s how you face them that makes the difference.

  31. Thanks!!! I am sharing this with my accountability group today! We are wrapping things up this week and I think these are great lessons to post on our last week! I myself have lost 30lbs since June and have changed every. single. one. of these habits! Thanks for putting it into words!

  32. I would definitely agree with these habits. I lost 40 pounds doing all of those items and have hovered between the 40 and 50 lb weight loss mark for the last 3 years. Doing these habits was not something I consciously started. Day 1 was talking to a nutritionist and buying a semester long cardio class pass. As my fitness evolved, I started incorporating those habits from above (I didn’t know that then) based on how I was feeling and what was working. Now, I have completed a half marathon and am training for another. For a college girl at 5’1″, going from 180 lbs and uncomfortable in my own skin to 130-140 and considering myself an athlete is the most amazing feeling in the world. I refuse to give that feeling back.

  33. One thing I do is not eat after 7PM and during the day if I am hungry (usually I just want junk food or something that tastes great!) I take out my whitening trays and put them in my mouth instead. Then I can’t eat or drink anything and the feeling passes. I have also found that finding something else to do with my hands – cleaning up household clutter & closets – is also a good way to trick the mind.

  34. Great list! I have done Weight Watchers since 2004 and have lost (and kept off) 150 lbs. It took me a rather long time to get to where I am today (I had lost 67 lbs between 8/04-10/05 then got pregnant, then struggled to get back on track after my son was born, etc), but it’s been worth it. I read another commenter use the line, “I’m not giving this feeling…back.” Amen! I love the way I feel today. I’m going to steal that other lady’s phrase and keep it with me: not giving back what I’ve gained. No way.

    I would like to make just a few comments:

    1. Yes, WW is very practical and very realistic. They focus on eating healthful, living healthful, and while a lot of what they teach would seem to be common sense, and even though I knew before joining what I should and shouldn’t be doing, having a plan in my hands just clicked for me and made what should have been common sense, real. I’ll say, too, my portions back then were double what I should have but I truly, truly, didn’t really grasp that. Whether I was in some kind of denial, or that we just live in a culture of excess and huge portions and don’t realize just how much is *too* much, I’m not sure. WW really educated me and opened my eyes to specifics. I can’t recommend WW enough [but this isn’t a paid endorsement, lol!].

    2. Stick with it–oh my, yes. I know that I will never, ever be able to give up, or go back to how I ate before. Do I miss just eating whatever? Uh, yeah! I love food. Love, love, love…so every single day of my life it’s a battle to choose what’s best. Is it hard and sometimes frustrating, making the right choices? Yes. It’s a battle. It’s a struggle. I have actually cried because I wanted something to eat–not to fill a physical hunger, but just a *want*), cried because I just get tired of having to sometimes walk away from that food I want so badly (anyone who denies food can be a drug has no clue). But worth it. So, so worth it.

    3. When you’re tempted to put something into your mouth that you do not need or isn’t going to help you reach your goal and/or maintain, ***think past the moment***. I *literally* visualize how I will feel five, ten, fifteen, etc minutes after I either choose or choose not to make an unwise choice. Something might taste good for the few seconds it takes to go down my gullet…but then what? Then I’m just frustrated and disgusted and angry. *OR*, I can wait out that temptation (I have noticed that if I just wait, just ride it out, the desire goes away, usually within fifteen minutes) and every single time–EVERY SINGLE TIME–I am so relieved I didn’t give in.

    I had so much support and so many people who helped me on my journey that I take every opportunity I can to support others. I hope my comments are a blessing to someone today. And I know it’s so cliche to say, “If I did this, you can, too,” but really, you can. *YOU* can.

    • This is what I needed to hear tonight. I’m trying to make my next plan. I’ve spent a year losing 35 pounds, and I still have 25 to go, and some days I just want to go back to how I used to eat. Thank you, truly.

    • Love the idea of imagining how I’ll feel after I give into a craving. I’ve done that with exercise…actually make myself go to the gym because I’ll feel so bad if I don’t. I will apply the same thing to letting a craving send me off track. Thanks.

  35. Getting appropriate help for any and all mental health issues is also critical for weight loss in many people. Read a book on emotional health and healing, see a counsellor, have an accountability friend, and use medication as appropriate. This may be the first step for some in truly successful weight loss and overall health.

  36. Very nice post. You touch on a lot of key things, small and simple, but yield big results. I particularly like “cook at home”, “stay hydrated” and most important to me, “eat clean/er” The “er” is near and dear to my heart. The idea of having to eliminate foods we love at the onset of getting into better shape can be a turn off for those just starting out. Again, really enjoyed the post. Thanks!

  37. Abbie Coulson says:

    This is the blog that helped me get started on the weight loss journey 2 yrs ago. I have been struggling since the holidays to get back to the good”habits”. The big thing for me was Myfitnesspal, it helps so much to see just what your food day looks like. The other thing that I feel like was key for me, my husband got on board, we both use the Myfitnesspal pall app. We both have fitbits, that support I think has been key. Collectively we have lost 120 lbs. Glad you are still here, it’s time to get back on track!

  38. This article was practical and encouraging, thank you very much. Love hearing people speak in calm and realistic ways about weight loss and maintenance.

  39. Great list! I started doing many of these for GERD(acid reflux), under doctor’s orders. I am tall, and wasn’t really interested in loosing weight, because my height hid my extra weight. Also, I am very physically active, so I felt great. I knew I had some weight to loose, but I didn’t really care. Then I started to change my eating habits because my doctor told me if I didn’t I could get severe damage to my esophagus, and a small chance of getting esophageal cancer. Suddenly I was very motivated.

    I started doing many of those things listed, like tracking what I eat, eating small meals, not eating after 6pm, making my own meals, planning ahead what I can eat, etc. My acid reflux decreased significantly, but a great side effect is that I lost weight. About 35 lbs. Right now I am about as skinny as I want to be, I think I want to weigh a little more, because I want a little more muscle. I feel great, and I think I look better than I have in years. I am so glad that I followed my doctors orders. Loosing that weight was something I never thought I could do, it didn’t bother me too much, and so I never tried.

    I know I will keep it off because these steps are not fads, or crazy diets, but lifestyle changes. Sometimes they are not easy, but they are worth it!

    One other thing I do is if I mess up, I don’t beat myself up, or give up completely. I just tell myself that I will do better from this moment on. I also look at the week as a whole when it comes to eating. Because I prepare 90% of my food, I substitute a lot. Turkey for beef, fat free dairy for whole, add more veggies than recipe calls for, etc. I also make my own individually wrapped single portion meals and freeze them, so I don’t have to figure out what to eat every time. I also use those frozen meals when I cook a meal for my family that I can’t eat because I do have certain foods I am not to eat because of GERD (like citrus, tomatoes, Chocolate, mint, vinegar, spicy foods). I also try really hard to savor and enjoy each bite of food. I feel satisfied, and I don’t just shove food down any more!

    This experience has been challenging, but great. It taught me that I do have self control when it comes to food, and I can accomplish something extremely difficult! There is a way, and it can be done!

  40. Tammy, I have to say, I love your blog already and only just found it today. You mention having a “Max Weight.” This has been something that I’ve always practiced. However, it was always a number that was way to high to be a max weight. Basically, any time I got close to 200lbs. I would start dieting. I think once I reach my goal weight (135lbs.), I’ll have a more realistic weight in mind to keep my weight in check. Thank you for the tips and encouragement. Truly a pleasure.

  41. My issue is that when I was in my 20’s, I was anorexic, weighing about 100 pounds. I was able to get through that with help and for my 30’s, 40’s and early 50’s, I remained on the slim side, but not skeletal thin (about 120). When my Mom passed away almost 2 years ago, I suddenly starting gaining alot of weight and ended up at 148 pounds!!! I went on a diet and now have lost 22 pounds, and pretty much am at my ideal weight. But, my fear is that in order to maintain my ideal weight, I will keep losing weight if I keep to the diet I have been on, or gain weight if I eat more calories. I have trouble with balancing the two and not go from one extreme to the other. Any ideas?

  42. I am borderline type 2 diabetic. I have been fighting the dual battle of weight and high A1C. I have a lot of back and joint problems which keep me from effective exercise. I am a 67 year old man, 6’5″ with my “usual, unhealthy weight” being 275. Today I dropped under 250 lbs for the first time since I was in my 40s. I have found I can still lose weight fairly quickly by utilizing 2 key things: 1. I do the normal diet of watching what I eat, how much I eat and when I eat. 2. I have found my second component to be VERY important. I eat huge amounts of raw celery. Celery is mostly fiber and water, and I can eat as much as I want between meals which keeps me from getting hungry or those dangerous “Munchies” mid-afternoon. My biggest problem is maintaining the weight loss. Soooo, guess I’ll be hoarding raw celery for the foreseeable future. Be Blessed.

  43. Joanne Daley says:

    Found much of this information helpful. Like many, I know what I am suppose to do but committing to it is another side of the coin. A couple of things that I do:
    1. I tell everyone that cares about me that about my weight loss and they are so supportive. Comments such as, “we knew you could do it” are very encouraging.
    2. I weigh in daily…..I do not get discouraged if I pop up a pound and have found that I will plateau for a couple of days, suddenly I will drop a half pound. Those half pounds all add up big time.
    3. Got very bored doing the recumbent bike so I took up and joined a couple of pickle ball groups and what fun that has turned out to be. Have met so many nice people and many there for the same reason I am….exercise. One man said he has lost 23 lbs playing pickle ball.
    4. I eat three meals a day….snack is a hard boiled egg and drink water….not my favorite thing to do but a great replacement for diet soda. Have lost 16 lbs in 10 weeks and more to go.

  44. This is an excellent list of habits. I already follow some of them, and you have given me inspiration with the others. I lost 40 lbs. and have kept it off for nearly 2 years.

    One idea (habit) I would suggest to add to your list, is to read books on health and nutrition. I changed my diet because of a book I read. (Grain Brain, by Dr. David Perlmutter). My greatest motivation to be healthier stems from that knowledge. The weight loss happened as a side benefit; I had followed the author’s food recommendations as an experiment (telling myself that I was free to go back to my old food choices at any time). The best part was that I began FEELING so much better, that I WANT to stick to my new way of eating. I’m a 68 year old woman, 5′ 7″, now 138 pounds. I’m back to what I weighed in my 20’s!

    Reading helps me understand my body better. Another book I found helpful is Goddesses Never Age by Christiane Northrup M.D.; she also recommends the Grain Brain diet, but she goes beyond food, and deals with subjects like overall health, self-esteem, and exercises to keep us strong. When the reasons behind the ideas are explained, it makes it much easier to motivate myself to continue with the new habits.

    Other people may find different books that appeal to them; there is a wealth of information out there, if we are interested.

    Thanks for the great article.

  45. eleanor says:

    Just keep trying but it has been so hard since I have moved to Danmark 27 years ago.
    After my knee operation at 54 and said now is now.
    My biggest challenge is meal plans and preps. Just can not seem to do it in this jungle of news that is on the net.
    But have made a copy if the 15 Habits of People Who Have Effectively Lost 20-30 lbs and Kept it Off and hope that I can at least follow that.
    Thanks for your wonderful blog.
    Now to find a fitbit that works for me.

  46. On cutting foods.

    While I do agree that it’s absolutely not necessary to cut out certain food groups, or jumping on a certain bandwagon (like soy-free-gluten-free-raw-till4-vegan-nonsense), I still firmly believe that cutting out your trigger foods is mandatory. Addicted to soda? Never have it in your house. Addicted to candy? Get rid of it as well. That sort of thing.

    On meal frequency.

    I actually eat 3 meals per day and never feel hungry. Wait, it’s a lie, sometimes I do get hungry between meals, but I will just buy a banana, or a large apple and that usually gets me through.

    While there are people who eat 5-8 meals per day and claim that it boosts metabolism and it’s totally fine. But in reality the boost is so insignificant that you should not bother with it at all. The bottom line – figure out what works for you, observe yourself, adapt and implement. You’ll be burning all kinds of fat in no time.

    Take care!


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