My clients have been buzzing (and discouraged) by the Sunday New York Times article: The Fat Trap. (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/01/magazine/tara-parker-pope-fat-trap.html?_r=1&ref=magazine). The author cites several researchers in reaching her conclusion that one needs to be superhuman (and pretty obsessive) to keep weight off.
I will not deny that it is even more difficult to keep weight off than to lose it in the first place. However, the author does not discuss two significant factors that can help in weight maintenance.
The first is the fact that increasing your muscle mass will increase your metabolic rate. This means you will burn more calories, even while at rest. “The Fat Trap” only discusses aerobic exercise. Lifting weights is a key component to weight maintenance, and it is hard to understand why the article does not discuss it at length.
The second fitness strategy ignored is interval training. (See post from Sept. 30, 2010). Working at alternating periods of hard and easy exercise is another great way to increase your metabolic rate when you are NOT exercising.
Those who want to lose weight and keep it off need to incorporate weight training and intervals into their workouts. That does not mean it is easy to keep the weight off, but focusing on steady state aerobics only will mean longer, less effective workouts. For those who are frustrated by the weight struggle, keep in mind that you will still get the health benefits of exercise, even if you do not lose weight. Only ten minutes a day will decrease your risk of diabetes, cancer and heart disease.