Weight loss and maintenance is a goal for many Americans today. However, many people who fail will approach it like a one-time event rather than a staged process. This is also why the most successful weight loss programs are staged rather than static. Staging supports body, mind and emotions to adjust at each step along the way. This helpful guide will teach you about four stages of successful weight loss that are now thought to be essential to long term weight maintenance.

Four Essential Stages of Successful Weight Loss

Stage One: Get Your Body Started

Stage one is often the most difficult stage for new dieters. This is because here is where some of the old bad dietary habits must be cut off so that weight loss can begin. This is also why the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) says that individual motivation is so important when initiating the process of losing weight. It will not be easy to cut off some sources of food-related comfort. But if you can get your body through this first phase, you will see weight loss begin and your process will get easier.

Stage Two: Make it More Natural

In stage two, you will start to see some results, but you will also begin to face up to the fact that the jumpstart phase can’t last forever. This is especially applicable if you are a parent in charge of feeding a family. So in stage two, you will want to start adding back some of the foods that stage one required you to cut out. Foods with higher sugar or carbohydrate levels, such as fruits and grains, are likely candidates to rejoin your regular diet at this stage.

Stage Three: Think Long Term

In stage three, you are starting to enjoy the results of your weight loss and also to think long term about maintaining your progress. Television personality Dr. Phil says that “in order to keep weight off, you need to change your patterns” and this is absolutely the truth. You must begin to think long term about what is realistic in terms of your lifestyle habits and patterns – including diet, exercise, rest and how the remainder of your life (including holiday parties and food-related fun times) will fit in with your weight maintenance in the future.

Stage Four: Keep it Off

When you reach stage four you have every right to be prouder than proud of yourself. You have done it – you have reached your goal weight! Now it is time to maintain, maintain, maintain. If you have done your homework in stage three, you already have some idea of how to ensure your diet success isn’t a temporary moment but an enduring lifestyle change. Here, the more you can make maintaining your weight loss success fun, the better chance you have. For instance, you can walk with friends or enter charity runs to help others.

These four essential stages can support you and your whole family to make healthy lifestyle changes now and throughout your lives.

About the Author: Karie Slint has personally experienced the benefits of a staged diet plan. The SlimXpress weight loss program has four phases, which is why she credits the plan with her diet success.