Oprah recently featured some former contestants from “The Biggest Loser.” Unfortunately, some of them had regained up to 100 pounds since they left the show.

While losing weight is hard, not enough attention is given to the equally difficult process of maintaining weight loss. And what most people don’t realize is that the method you use to lose weight helps determine how difficult weight maintenance will be.

Researchers from the City University of New York studied folks who were successful at losing at least 10 percent of their bodyweight in the past year. They were separated into three groups. Group one had lost the weight with a very-low calorie diet (VLCD). Group two had lost the weight with a commercial weight-loss program. And the third group had lost the weight using a self-directed approach.

Initially, the VLCD group had a greater average weight loss (24 percent of bodyweight) compared to the two other groups (17 percent). But the researchers found that they quickly regained the most weight. On the other hand, the folks who had lost the weight on their own – as a result of making lifestyle changes – were able to maintain their weight loss.

What can you learn here? Well, it’s like many weight-loss experts keep saying: You must make simple, easy-to-stick-to lifestyle changes if you want to lose weight and keep it off. Crash diets and excessive exercise programs might work for a while, but they won’t help you in the long run.

Start your long-term weight-loss program today by finding a form of exercise you enjoy and a diet that suits your personality, and by surrounding yourself with social support – people who are genuinely interested in seeing you succeed.

[Ed. Note: Extending your life and living out your years in tip-top health is really a matter of making simple lifestyle choices. Looking for exercise that is enjoyable and can help you lose weight? Try fitness expert Craig Ballantyne’s Turbulence Training exercise program.]

Craig Ballantyne

Craig Ballantyne is the author of The Perfect Day Formula: How to Own the Day and Control Your Life. Craig has been a contributor to Men’s Health magazine for over 17 years. Today he teaches his gift high-performing entrepreneurs how to squeeze more out of their days, increase their income, and make more quality time for their families in his Perfect Life Workshop and Work-Life Mastery programs. Craig used his own advice to overcome crippling anxiety attacks in 2006, and he’ll teach you his 5 Pillars of Success so you can increase your income, decrease your work time, and live the life of your dreams. Learn more about Craig at craigballantyne.com