7 Secrets For Weight-Loss Success

At any given time, one out of every three Americans is on a diet. Unfortunately, most of them fail, and those who do shed pounds usually gain them back within five years. The good news: It doesn't have to be that way. According to the National Weight Control Registry, people who manage to lose weight and keep it off share these common strategies.

1. Be realistic

Keep in mind that you gained the extra weight over many months—or possibly years—so you'll need sufficient time to take it off. Start small, and keep reminding yourself that the road to healthy weight management is a long-term commitment.

2. Step it up

The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) found that 94 percent of people who successfully shed pounds increased their exercise, and the most frequently reported form of activity was walking. So be sure to make physical activity an important part of your weight-loss regimen.

3. Don't skip meals

You may think you're doing yourself a favor by skipping meals, but chances are, it will prompt you to overeat later. So remember to eat every meal, especially breakfast (according to the NWCR, 78 percent of people who successfully lost weight ate breakfast every day).

4. Keep track

Many dieters find that keeping a food journal helps them regulate and analyze their eating habits. That said, you should allow for some flexibility charting every little calorie may end up frustrating you to the point where you quit your diet altogether.

5. Do a weekly weigh-in

According to the NWCR, 75 percent of successful dieters weighed themselves at least once a week. However, experts discourage weighing yourself multiple times a day. Your weight is bound to fluctuate during a 24-hour time period, so the scale may be misleading.

6. Watch your emotions

Dieting can be an emotional roller-coaster, but then again, so can life. Along these lines, you don't want your emotions to drive your eating habits. Watch out for boredom, depression, or anxiety, and when you experience those emotions, seek out healthy activities other than eating.

7. Find a buddy

Dieting and working out with a buddy is a great way to hold each other accountable and share the ups and downs. According to a study at Brown Medical School, people who had an exercise buddy were more successful at losing weight than those who didn't.