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Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Keeping it Off

My husband Jack and I are different in many ways. He’s a thrill seeker who wants to come face to jaws with a Great White (through the bars of a shark cage of course). I on the other hand only recently started riding rollercoasters (thanks to him). He loves hot food and can eat raw habeneros, whereas medium salsa’s too spicy for me. But, we have a lot in common too, including a similar sense of humor, a love for animals, and a parallel approach to weight management (for the most part).

If you read the Diet Dish, you know that Jack was over 50 pounds heavier when we met and my weight has remained steady (this year’s our 10th anniversary). But the tactics he uses to keep pounds off are the same ones I use to prevent putting them on. And those strategies are solidly backed by research. A just released study looked at the key reasons why so many successful “losers” typically re-gain all or more of the weight they’ve lost. And yup, Jack and I are both careful to prevent each one of these 3 common hurdles:

PITFALL ONE - failing to plan in advance before social situations
Jack will admit, I’m a little better at this than he is, but he’s pretty good at it too. If I’m going out to dinner at a new restaurant, I always check out the menu online ahead of time, decide what to order in advance, and stick to it. I also bring my own snacks when “hanging out” with friends or family. When my goddaughter Anna was visiting, I tossed a bag of light microwave popcorn in my purse before we left the house (which I snacked on while everyone else ate the extra buttery kind).

PITFALL TWO - feelings of deprivation
This is exactly why Jack and I believe in a no-diet philosophy. No foods (especially not our favorites) are off limits. We just enjoy our “splurge” foods less often and/or in smaller amounts. I also find ways to set up a more successful environment. For example, buying one warm, soft cookie from the bakery when a craving strikes, instead of bringing an entire bag into the house.

PITFALL THREE - underestimating the number of calories in foods and overestimating the number of burned through exercise
If you read my previous post Checkin’ the Digits you know that I always do just that, and Jack now does the same. Yesterday at the grocery store, he was looking at a package of frozen potatoes and turned to me to say, “Wow, there are 120 calories in just 8 wedges!” (I find this to be extremely adorable by the way!). And, we keep an accurate eye on our calorie outputs by checking sites like this.

So, Jack and I are living proof that regardless of your weight history (i.e. previously overweight or not), maintaining a healthy weight requires the same approach. That’s why when people look at me and say, “Why are you looking at calories, you don’t need to lose weight?” my response is always, “Exactly!”

photo courtesy of National Cancer Institute
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About the Author


Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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