If you're wondering how to maintain weight loss, you're certainly not alone. About 94 percent of women who have lost weight have had trouble maintaining it. But the good news is that it doesn't have to be this way. Research reveals that the key to nixing rebound weight gain is boosting your body’s ability to produce and use leptin, a hormone that curbs appetite and revs your fat-burning engine. These four solutions will help to turn on your "stay slim" hormone:
How to Maintain Weight Loss With Leptin
Eat omega-3 foods. Taking 2,000 mg of omega-3 fatty acids daily can help prevent 10 pounds of rebound weight gain and speed your slimming by 25 percent if you’re dieting now, research in the American Journal of Physiology suggests. Omega-3s prod your fat cells to produce — and release — more appetite-taming leptin, says study coauthor Andrea Rossi, PhD. One option available for purchase online is Now Foods’ Omega-3 ($10.50 for 200 softgels, Amazon). Important: Always talk to your doctor before starting a new supplement.
Eat more nuts. Eating 1/2 cup of nuts daily will help you dodge 11 pounds of rebound weight gain yearly. Almonds, pecans, and other nuts are rich in satisfying healthy fats; they're also loaded with zinc and magnesium, which shuttle leptin into brain cells, cutting cravings for up to six hours per serving, British research reveals.
Sleep more. Just staying well rested (fitting in seven to eight hours of sleep nightly) will slash your risk of rebound weight gain in half and help you shed an additional 14 pounds if you’re dieting right now, according to University of Chicago scientists. Turns out, your muscles and digestive tract produce leptin — and their production peaks while you sleep.
Have pink grapefruit every day. Eating one pink grapefruit daily could help you shed a pound a week and prevent rebound weight gain if you’re already at your goal weight, reports the International Journal of Molecular Medicine. The fruit contains compounds that help your tissues absorb leptin, researchers say.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.