Diet, exercise and maintaining a healthy weight are essential elements of a healthy lifestyle. Adapting to a new diet and embracing a new exercise regimen requires a strong commitment, but so, too, does maintaining a healthy weight once those pounds have been shed.

Losing weight can be difficult, and many people who set out to shed a few extra pounds encounter a handful of common obstacles along the way. These roadblocks do not disappear once weight has been lost, which only highlights the long-term approach men and women must take as they look to lose weight and keep pounds off for the long haul. The following are a handful of obstacles men and women may face as they look to lose weight and keep weight off for years to come.



Snacks

Snacking is perhaps the biggest obstacle to weight loss many men and women will face. Choosing the wrong snacks can compromise your efforts to lose weight, but the right snacks can provide energy boosts without negatively impacting your waistline. Rather than high-calorie snacks that offer little nutritional value, choose low-calorie alternatives. For example, instead of fried tortilla chips, opt for reduced-sodium baked chips instead. In lieu of ice cream on a warm afternoon, choose low-fat yogurt, which can be just as refreshing without all those empty calories.



Restaurants

Dining out is another potential obstacle for men and women trying to lose weight. Avoid buffet-style restaurants or those establishments you know serve especially large portions. When dining out, ask to swap high-calorie side dishes with vegetables when possible, and choose nutritional, low-calorie entrées that won’t compromise the hard work you put in all week eating at home.



Busy schedules

One common obstacle that compromises even the most dedicated weight loss efforts is a hectic schedule. Commitments to career and family can make it easy to veer off course with regard to diet. Planning is often an effective way to overcome a hectic schedule. Plan meals in advance so you are not tempted to order takeout or delivery after a long day at the office. Use weekends to schedule and plan your weeknight meals, preparing meals in advance when possible and using a slow cooker so your meals are cooking while you’re at the office and ready to eat the moment you arrive home at night.



Setbacks

Setbacks are another common obstacle that can threaten weight loss goals. Everyone experiences a setback or two as they attempt to lose weight and keep that weight off. Don’t allow such setbacks to derail your weight loss efforts, and don’t beat yourself up when a setback occurs. Respond by rededicating yourself to your weight loss efforts, and before you know it, you will be back on track.

Men and women can expect to face some common obstacles as they attempt to lose weight. Anticipating those obstacles is a great way to ensure they don’t derail your weight loss efforts.