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You've Lost All That Weight--Now What?

March 26, 1997|KATHLEEN DOHENY

It's the billion-dollar question: Once you lose that weight, how do you eat to keep it off?

Dietitian Anne M. Fletcher, author of "Eating Thin for Life: Food Secrets & Recipes From People Who Have Lost Weight & Kept It Off" (Chapters Publishing Ltd., 1996), asked 208 folks who have maintained at least a 20-pound loss for a minimum of three years. (On average, they have lost 64 pounds.)

Among their food secrets:

* Eat "large." Focus on foods that fill you up but aren't fattening, such as boiled potatoes. (According to one study, the higher the fat content of foods, the lower the sense of fullness.)

* Forget the "deprivation syndrome" and have a treat once in a while--but also know when to stop.

* Learn to manage challenges such as vacation, PMS, people who push food on you. Faced with a food pusher, one woman declines by saying, "I'm allergic to that--it makes me break out in fat."

* A desire to be thin more than you want to eat the "wrong" foods. To stay motivated, many people told Fletcher that they look at "before" pictures or recall the psychological pain of being fat.

* Realize that your "full button" may be broken, causing you to overeat. To compensate, decide before a meal exactly how much and what to eat. Or, create a ritual to signal the end of a meal such as drinking coffee or brushing your teeth.

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