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Keep Your Summer Body All Winter Long

Learn the secrets of weight maintenance and avoid winter weight gain.

Celebrate the Benefits

Another secret to keeping weight off, experts say, is never to forget why you lost it in the first place.

"A great way to stay motivated is to keep a journal of the pros and cons of how you felt in mind, body, and spirit before the weight loss, and how you feel now at a healthier weight," says Fletcher.

This technique keeps the focus on the benefits of weight loss -- from improved health to more energy, from better sleep to a smaller clothing size.

"The 'masters' find ... vivid pictures in their minds of the pain or struggles they experienced when they were heavier -- such as the intimidation of not fitting into an airline seat -- and contrast that to how great their life is now," Fletcher says.

Baird has her clients reward themselves with tangible items that serve as constant reminders of their success.

"Buy yourself a paperweight or key chain or something that every time you see it, you feel a sense of accomplishment," she suggests.

3 Weight Control Strategies

When it comes to weight control, one size does not fit all. The experts who spoke to WebMD suggested three different diet strategies:

1. Make it personal.

"Over the years, I have become much more flexible about weight control guidelines," says Baird.

The best predictor of success is to do whatever works for you and let it become a part of your lifestyle -- as long as it is sensible, she says.

"A sensible plan allows you to enjoy your favorite foods and is not a starvation or crazy fad diet," Baird says. "Years ago, I would have never thought some dietary patterns could be successful, but my personal experience and failures, along with my clients', have taught me that sensible, personalized plans work best."

2. Balance protein, fats, and carbs.

Another school of thought from the research camp suggests a more defined pattern of nutrients. Having a little more protein and less fat can keep you feeling satisfied and thus help with weight control, some experts say.

"Our research has shown that the folks that control their weights best follow a pattern of 24% fat, 56% carbohydrates, and 20% protein," says Foreyt.

3. Focus on fitness and portion control.

A third recommendation focuses on exercise and portion control.

"Diet alone does not work, and if you make physical activity your primary focus, you can be more flexible with your food choices and portions," says Hill. "Members of the Registry who have successfully lost and maintained sizeable amounts of weight average 60 minutes of exercise a day, and that gives them more freedom and diet leeway."

It may be more important to evaluate how much you're eating than what you're eating, he says.

"When you start gaining weight, go back and look at your portion sizes," says Hill. "Just reducing portion sizes alone is usually all you need to do to get back on track."

He also recommends eating breakfast every day, to help manage calories and hunger throughout the day.

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