A common goal among people who work out regularly on commercial fitness equipment is weight loss. Whether you’re looking to drop 10 pounds or 100, it can be a challenge to shed that extra weight, and keeping up with a regular diet and exercise routine is an important part of that. In addition to eating a healthy, well-balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables and lean meats, as well as minimal amounts of fats and sugar, it’s important to schedule regular cardio and strength training sessions throughout the week to burn calories and replace fat with muscle. Anyone who has logged many miles on commercial treadmills knows how challenging – but rewarding -achieving a weight loss goal can be, and it’s also great for your health as being overweight increases your risk for many illnesses including heart disease, diabetes and arthritis. Diet and exercise help people keep weight off However, it can sometimes be as hard to keep the weight off as it was to lose it, but programs that focus on both diet and exercise may assist people who’ve lost weight to keep it off, according to a new study published in the British Medical Journal. “Long term weight loss through changes in eating and physical activity is possible, even in adults who have already acquired obesity related illness, and effective weight loss programs are now available,” researchers led by Stephan Dombrowski noted. Researchers collected data from 45 previous trials that involved 7,788 participants who had lost at least 5 percent of their body weight. The studies examined the adult’s ability to keep the weight off for at least one year. Each looked at lifestyle changes, including physical activity, diet, and meal replacements and medication on their own or in addition to weight loss maintenance. The results showed that participants who took part in programs combining diet and exercise gained back 3.4 fewer pounds after 365 days in comparison to individuals who had extra weight management help or were only given standard treatment. “Weight management is hard,” Lori Rosenthal, a dietician at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, told Reuters. “People have to realize that it’s not just the losing it – it’s for life, and if you don’t like what you’re doing, if it doesn’t work for you, you’re not going to stick with it.” She added that support during weight management is important, and groups and dieticians can give people going through this phase tips, tricks and tools to make it less challenging.