4 Ways to achieve a healthy body weight, & keep it permanently

Sponsored by Pennington Biomedical Research Center


Many people have had success losing weight, but few can keep it off longterm. Overall, the best way to maintain is to make achievable changes to your diet and physical activity habits. Maintaining weight may be a lifelong commitment to a healthy lifestyle, but fortunately, there is help here in Baton Rouge.

LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center is at the forefront of medical discovery as it relates to understanding the causes of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and dementia. Registered Dietitian and Human Nutrition Researcher Dr. Jake Mey has dedicated himself to dietetics and exercise physiology with a focus on skeletal muscle metabolism in health and disease. Dr. Mey shares a few ways to maintain a healthy body weight for the long haul.

Jacob Mey, PhD, RD

Why it matters:

“If your body weight is too high or too low,” Dr. Mey says, “it increases your risk for developing other diseases. These diseases may make your life more difficult (harder to do normal daily tasks), more expensive (medications), or may even increase your risk of death.” Your lifestyle, your history and your current medical priorities all impact your health and your body’s responsiveness. Dr. Mey recommends working with a registered dietitian on this matter specifically.

Pennington Biomedical Research Center has a Bariatric & Metabolic Institute that offers a variety of treatment approaches, including lifestyle interventions, drug and combination therapies, and surgical procedures performed in its state-of-the-art facilities at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center. Visit pbrcbmi.org to learn more.


1. Adjust your mindset.

Learn to think of nutrition and body weight with a realistic timeline and in the right context. Don’t focus only on the weight you are losing. Dr. Mey suggests modifying your mindset towards long-term health and wellness goals versus short-term body weight goals—a core component to breaking the yo-yo dieting cycle, developing a sustainable lifestyle, and feeling and looking the way you want. “Look for month-to-month patterns,” Dr. Mey says. “If your weight is going up month by month, then it’s a good indicator you need to revisit your current lifestyle and see how it has changed from when your weight was lower.”

2. Be calorie conscious.

You don’t have to count your calories precisely, but you should have a general understanding of your intake. Build habits that allow you to have a good estimate of the total calories you are consuming. Dr. Mey calls this process “constructing calorie consciousness.” By doing so, you are better able to make simple decisions at any point in your day. As an example, a single meal should average 500–750 calories. Keep this in mind, especially as you are browsing restaurant or fast-food menus.

3. Avoid impulse foods.

Checkout lanes aren’t stocked for your health. Their only function is to increase sales. A safe motto is “no calories from the checkout lane.” If you find yourself reaching for a checkout lane snack, stop and think about why you are reaching for it. If you truly wanted to enjoy a candy bar, you would have bought it when you were shopping through the store. Don’t let the targeted marketing of the checkout lane dictate what you eat. For quick video examples of the impact of food advertisements, watch what’s happening to Ezra & Charlie at visitobecity.org.

4. Partner with an expert.

Having an actionable plan to address and monitor these factors is far easier with some support. Find a registered dietitian to work with or reach out to Dr. Mey at Pennington Biomedical Research Center.

Stay informed on the latest nutrition findings from Dr. Mey and other world-renowned researchers from LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center at pbrc.edu.