Phildelphia chef sheds 160 pounds; learn how to keep weight off

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Action News spoke with a psychologist about what works and a local chef who is seeing results on the scale. (WPVI)

If your motivation to lose weight in 2016 is starting to wane, you're not alone.

And even if you've shed some pounds, the chances of gaining it back are against you.

Action News spoke with a psychologist about what works and a local chef who is seeing results.

But there are some tricks to help you lose weight and keep it off.

It's not easy. If you lose weight, your body may actually be fighting to put it back on. But you can work against that.

Inside 26 North BYOB, Chef Mike Stollenwerk cooks himself healthy and tasty meals.

"It doesn't have to be plain to be healthy," Stollenwerk says as he stirs broccoli in a saute pan.

He uses spices and healthy oils to liven up dishes. Then he puts small portions in containers so he has them ready to eat throughout the day.

As a chef, he's always around food, and works long and late hours which led to weight gain.

A year ago he was 390 pounds. He has since lost 160.

"I feel good. I feel happy. I feel comfortable. It's easy to buy clothes now," he says with a laugh.

So how did he do it?

He started with exercise. He began taking Muay Thai, Thai boxing, although he admittedly struggled at first. He finally started seeing results.

"He just fell in love with it. He was completely tenacious about training," says Amy West, his trainer.

Soon he was working out five days a week and he changed his diet.

"I cut out fried food, a lot of dairy except nonfat yogurt," he says.

He also cut out white carbohydrates like bread and pasta, focusing on lean proteins, vegetables, healthy fats and carbs like quinoa. Now the goal is keeping the weight off.

Psychologist Stacey Cahn, Ph.D., of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine says maintaining weight loss is not just a matter of will power.

"As a survival mechanism, when people have lost a dramatic amount of weight, your body acts as if it's going through a famine and needs to hang onto every calorie it has," says Cahn.

Staying vigilant is key. Studies show people who keep weight off long term are more likely to track their food everyday.

"They are monitoring what they eat, not in their heads but they're logging it either on a computer or in a journal," she notes.

Stollenwerk plans out all his meals. He also stays motivated by remembering the past.

"Just think back to how uncomfortable I was," he recalls.

And he also went back to school to Drexel's Food Science program so that now he has a better understanding of how different foods affect the body.

Other things people who have maintained weight loss do are:

* Eat breakfast every day

* Exercise five days a week

* Step on a scale regularly

* Have support, whether from a group, a trainer, a dietitian, or a friend

Related Topics:
healthhealthcheckweight losshealthexercise
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