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You should always consult with your healthcare provider before
introducing any changes to your diet or level of physical activity.

Living Well : Physical Activity

Secrets of Successful Weight Maintenance

Research suggests there are 4 strategies that are most successful in helping people who lose weight keep it off

The 4 strategies of people who keep weight off

Proven Strategies. Your healthcare provider can outline a long-term weight-loss strategy well suited to your needs and goals. Not all people lose weight the same way; many clinical studies have suggested different approaches. Still, we can simplify things down to four main strategies that have delivered the best results and helped more people keep the weight off:

  1. Eat smart
    Low-calorie, low-fat meals work. A clinical study showed that most patients who lost weight and kept it off were in the habit of eating fewer calories and foods low in fat. Eating fewer calories, less fat, and less fast food were strongly linked to success in keeping weight off. For most people, the key to healthy eating for successful weight loss was to eat foods that are low in calories and low in fat. More than 3 out of 4 people in this study ate the recommended fat intake or less.
  2. Stay active
    The next key to success was physical activity. Remember that any level of activity is better than none. The US Department of Health and Human Services, or HHS, recommends 2½ hours of moderate exercise per week for most adults; more is recommended for those who want additional benefits. Another study showed that people who kept weight off averaged an hour or more of moderate physical activity per day most days of the week, which is in line with the HHS guidelines. Most people can manage this level of activity safely, even if they are overweight or not used to exercise. Still, it is important to talk with your healthcare provider before you increase your physical activity. 

    Physical activity has other benefits as well. An hour of physical activity per day most days of the week may improve your quality of life. Raising your physical activity level may also help you control your eating, which can further support your efforts to lose weight and keep it off.
  3. Eat regularly
    Try not to skip meals! You may be tempted to skip breakfast or other meals in the hope that it will help you lose weight faster. Try not to. Eating regular meals is an effective strategy for long-term weight loss. While skipping breakfast may be tempting, it tends to backfire. In yet another study of people who lost weight and kept it off, those who skipped breakfast not only ate the same total calories per day as those who didn’t, but were also less active in the morning. So, skipping a meal doesn’t save you calories; however, it can reduce your physical activity. This can make it hard to use up the calories you eat.

    Your body has a large capacity to store fat and use it as an energy reserve. Skipping a lot of meals can trick your body into keeping these fat stores longer. This can slow your metabolism and work against your long-term goals. On the other hand, this does not mean you should try to eat more often than you already do, but you should eat planned meals at the times suggested by your healthcare provider. In one study of successful long-term weight loss, the average person ate almost 5 times a day; very few ate less than twice a day.

    Meal replacements products can be an acceptable stopgap when you don’t have time to prepare a fresh meal. It is probably best not to rely on them all the time, but a meal replacement now and then can help you avoid the ill effects of a skipped meal. If you use a meal replacement, be sure to choose one that gives you balanced nutrition, with the same nutrients and about the same calories you would get from the meal you missed.
  4. Weigh yourself regularly
    The scale is your friend. Regular weighing is linked to success; it helps you keep on track and lets you respond quickly if your weight goes up. In one study, people who kept weighing themselves were most likely to keep the weight off one year later. Moreover, 3 out of 4 people in this study weighed themselves at least once a week; many weighed themselves every day. 

    Other studies overwhelmingly support this finding. Tracking your weight can be a highly effective weight-loss tool. More frequent weighing is linked to greater success in weight loss, with the best results seen in people who weigh themselves daily. 

    Some people may worry that weighing themselves more often might lead to emotional distress. But a survey of people in a weight-loss program found that the opposite may be true: more frequent weighing may not just help you lose weight, it actually may improve the way you feel about your body. Still, if frequent weighing concerns you, please speak with your healthcare provider.

Motivation and support

Your calorie target: Your calorie goals are specific to your body’s needs. These needs may not be the same as another person’s. Your own needs are based on factors like your age, your sex, and your height, as well as your weight.

While most of these factors don’t change, others do. If you haven’t done so yet, please consult your healthcare provider to decide on your new goals, proper nutrition, and physical activity plans. Ideally, your new goal would be to maintain your new weight. If you’d like to lose more weight, please keep in mind that it may not be as easy as in the beginning of the program. Whichever your new goal may be, remember: this isn’t just a change in your routine; this is a milestone you’ve earned.

Progress in other areas: It’s also important to remember that your progress on your journey is measured by more than just your weight. While the weight you lose is important, there are a number of other benefits you’ve probably picked up along the way. Gradual weight loss can boost your confidence and your ability to build on your success.

Take some time now to think about the ways your life may have changed for the better. You may find that you are more confident and that you have more energy. Also, your sleep may have improved or your aches and pains may have decreased and gone away. You probably feel better now when you look in the mirror or step on the scale. And perhaps you’ve gained the respect of friends and family because of the changes you’ve managed to make in your life.

These could be the things you’ve earned because you made a choice to change your life, and you followed through.

< Back to Physical Activity


Qsymia® should be used together with a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity for chronic weight management in adults with an initial body mass index (BMI) of:

  • 30 kg/m2 or greater (obese) or
  • 27 kg/m2 or greater (overweight) in the presence of at least one weight-related medical condition such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol

Limitations of Use:

  • It is not known if Qsymia changes your risk of heart problems or stroke or of death due to heart problems or stroke
  • It is not known if Qsymia is safe and effective when taken with other prescription, over-the-counter, or herbal weight loss products

It is not known if Qsymia is safe and effective in children under 18 years old


Do not take Qsymia if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or become pregnant during Qsymia treatment; have glaucoma; have thyroid problems (hyperthyroidism); are taking certain medicines called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) or have taken MAOIs in the past 14 days; are allergic to topiramate, sympathomimetic amines such as phentermine, or any of the ingredients in Qsymia. See the end of the Medication Guide for a complete list of ingredients in Qsymia.

Qsymia can cause serious side effects, including:

Birth defects (cleft lip/cleft palate). If you take Qsymia during pregnancy, your baby has a higher risk for birth defects called cleft lip and cleft palate. These defects can begin early in pregnancy, even before you know you are pregnant. Patients who are pregnant must not take Qsymia. Patients who can become pregnant should have a pregnancy test before taking Qsymia and every month while taking Qsymia and use effective birth control (contraception) consistently while taking Qsymia. Talk to your healthcare provider about how to prevent pregnancy. If you become pregnant while taking Qsymia, stop taking Qsymia immediately, and tell your healthcare provider right away. Healthcare providers and patients should report all cases of pregnancy to FDA MedWatch at 1-800-FDA-1088, and the Qsymia Pregnancy Surveillance Program at 1-888-998-4887.

Increases in heart rate. Qsymia can increase your heart rate at rest. Your healthcare provider should check your heart rate while you take Qsymia. Tell your healthcare provider if you experience, while at rest, a racing or pounding feeling in your chest lasting several minutes when taking Qsymia.

Suicidal thoughts or actions. Topiramate, an ingredient in Qsymia, may cause you to have suicidal thoughts or actions. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these symptoms, especially if they are new, worse, or worry you: thoughts about suicide or dying; attempts to commit suicide; new or worse depression; new or worse anxiety; feeling agitated or restless; panic attacks; trouble sleeping (insomnia); new or worse irritability; acting aggressive, being angry, or violent; acting on dangerous impulses; an extreme increase in activity or talking (mania); other unusual changes in behavior or mood.

Serious eye problems, which include any sudden decrease in vision, with or without eye pain and redness or a blockage of fluid in the eye causing increased pressure in the eye (secondary angle closure glaucoma). These problems can lead to permanent vision loss if not treated. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any new eye symptoms.

Common side effects of Qsymia include:

Numbness or tingling in the hands, arms, feet, or face (paraesthesia); dizziness; changes in the way foods taste or loss of taste (dysgeusia); trouble sleeping (insomnia); constipation; and dry mouth.

Possible side effects of Qsymia include:

Mood changes and trouble sleeping. Qsymia may cause depression or mood problems, and trouble sleeping. Tell your healthcare provider if symptoms occur..

Concentration, memory, and speech difficulties. Qsymia may affect how you think and cause confusion, problems with concentration, attention, memory or speech. Tell your healthcare provider if symptoms occur.

Increases of acid in bloodstream (metabolic acidosis). If left untreated, metabolic acidosis can cause brittle or soft bones (osteoporosis, osteomalacia, osteopenia), kidney stones, can slow the rate of growth in children, and may possibly harm your baby if you are pregnant. Metabolic acidosis can happen with or without symptoms. Sometimes people with metabolic acidosis will: feel tired, not feel hungry (loss of appetite), feel changes in heartbeat, or have trouble thinking clearly. Your healthcare provider should do a blood test to measure the level of acid in your blood before and during your treatment with Qsymia.

Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus who also take medicines used to treat type 2 diabetes mellitus. Weight loss can cause low blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus who also take medicines used to treat type 2 diabetes mellitus (such as insulin or sulfonylureas). You should check your blood sugar before you start taking Qsymia and while you take Qsymia.

High blood pressure medicines. If you are taking medicines for your blood pressure, your doctor may need to adjust these medicines while taking Qsymia.

Central Nervous System (CNS) side effects. The use of prescription sleep aids, anxiety medicines, or drinking alcohol with Qsymia may cause an increase in CNS symptoms such as dizziness and light-headedness. Do not drink alcohol with Qsymia.

Possible seizures if you stop taking Qsymia too fast. Seizures may happen in people who may or may not have had seizures in the past if you stop Qsymia too fast. Your healthcare provider will tell you how to stop taking Qsymia slowly.

Kidney stones. Drink plenty of fluids when taking Qsymia to help decrease your chances of getting kidney stones. If you get severe side or back pain, and/or blood in your urine, call your healthcare provider.

Decreased sweating and increased body temperature (fever). People should be watched for signs of decreased sweating and fever, especially in hot temperatures. Some people may need to be hospitalized for this condition.

Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or does not go away. These are not all of the possible side effects of Qsymia. For more information, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to VIVUS LLC at 1-888-998-4887 or FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch.

Please read the Qsymia Medication Guide and Full Prescribing Information.

The Q and Me Patient Resources and Education site is based on the LEARN® Program provided under copyright license (September 15, 2010). All rights reserved.


Do not take Qsymia if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or become pregnant during Qsymia treatment; have glaucoma; have thyroid problems (hyperthyroidism); are taking certain medicines called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) or have taken MAOIs in the past 14 days; are allergic to topiramate, sympathomimetic amines such as phentermine, or any of the ingredients in Qsymia. See the end of the Medication Guide for a complete list of ingredients in Qsymia.