Losing weight is really a quarter of the battle won. Maintaining the weight lost is what takes a lot out of most people.
Some time last year, I shared a Facebook update to my network about weight maintenance.
If you’ve ever attempted to lose weight in the past, you would probably already know that diets do not work. You would probably even know that maintaining the weight loss is a completely different dogma, and often times it’s hard to maintain the weight lost. But what most of us don’t know is how to avoid falling into this failed maintenance phase and this is what we will be discussing about today — how to maintain lost weight.
Welcome to the fourth, and final part of the Pretty Awesome Beginners Guide To Losing Weight.
If this is the first time you’re here, here’s a big virtual fist bump. Why? Because you’re awesome and if you’re serious about losing weight and changing your life for good, this series can help you get there. I have written close to 11,000 words in this four parts altogether (phew!) and if you haven’t read the first three, you’re missing out.
But fret not! Because I’m here to help and I do it because I love helping.
Before we move on, make sure you’ve read all three parts to this. I’ve inserted the links here so run along and read it NOW.
If you’ve stuck around from Part 1, here’s a big virtual hug! You’re awesome. Now before we start making changes to your life, let’s talk about the most important part of the equation — maintenance and then we’re set to go!
BEWARE: THE TRAP
You might not see it yet but here’s the trap that most of us face when losing weight: Losing weight successfully only to gain all the weight back again, in the same, or shorter period of time it took for you to lose weight. Yikes.
If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, I’m sure you know how it feels to lose those weight and put them back on. It’s a trap. It’s tricky. But it can be avoided. How? By applying these six strategies, which for most of it, you probably already doing if you’re following the plan in this series.
STRATEGY #1: AVOID DIETING
If there was one thing I’ve been preaching in this series is this — we’re not going on a diet. We’re simply making tweaks to our lifestyle one habit at a time, with a lifelong goal of adopting healthier habits. We’re doing it at your pace. We’re doing it at a rate where you’re most confident, and comfortable with. And we’re doing it because it can help you lose weight, fat and most importantly keep it off.
One major reason why people gain weight after losing is because they see it as a diet. In fact, dieting can increase your risk of gaining more weight and it has been proven in scientific studies.
A study in Finland has shown that the more you diet, the more weight you will end up gaining. A person who embarks on one weight loss diet is two to three times more likely to gain the weight again. A research team in UCLA has reviewed the long-term effects of dieting of 31 studies and has concluded that up to two-thirds of dieters has regained more weight than they initially lost.
Research aside, I had troubles adjusting back to a non-diet lifestyle, resulting in binge eating episodes. One time I was on a shake diet, I gained more weight than I lost, putting me at the heaviest I’ve ever been.
If there is one message I want you to take home today is you have to stop dieting. Stop replacing meals. Stop going on some thermogenic pills. Stop drinking those teas.
How do you know if what you’re doing is classified as a diet? Ask yourself this question — “Can you sustain this lifestyle for the rest of your life?”
“Can you drink shakes for lunch for the rest of your life?”
“Can you replace dinner with tea for the rest of your life?”
“Can you have four thermogenic pills for the rest of your life?”
If the answer to any of those question is no, then stop doing that, you’re on a diet.
Personally, when it comes to my health, I focus on the long term. I focus on doing what I like to make me feel good for the rest of my life. And I focus on making tweaks to my current lifestyle to find a balance between healthy and enjoying life to the fullest. That is something you have to focus on too and if you can do that, you can avoid the trap once and for all.
The good thing here? If you’re following what has been said in Part 1, 2 and 3 of this series, then I assure you that you are not going on a diet and you will be okay. More on that later.
Here’s strategy number two.
STRATEGY #2: SET NEW GOALS
Now that you’ve changed your lifestyle for the better, making new goals that challenges you can go a long way. We’ve lost weight, what about working on a new goal such as completing 5 pull-ups, start power-lifting or pick up a sport such as CrossFit, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or Mixed Martial Arts?
Having a goal can help you pick up new habits. It’s easy to fall out of a habit because of boredom so challenge yourself and set new goals and you’ll be safe.
STRATEGY #3: RECRUIT YOUR SUPPORT TEAM
That’s right. If you haven’t already, find some people around you with similar interests, preferably those who have lost weight just like you did and is working on maintaining the weight. Having a support team is gold. You can challenge each other, pick each other up and even kick each other on the butt when you need it the most. Consider joining a fitness group or a weekly social run.
It’s much easier to not fall into the trap.
STRATEGY #4: MAINTAINING YOUR WEIGHT SHOULD COME FIRST, BEFORE ANYTHING ELSE
Maintaining your weight is really not very hard, if you do it correctly.
For most of us, we focus too much on instant gratification. In life, in our careers and in our health. For the most of it, instant gratification do not work. You can’t get rich fast in hopes to stay as a millionaire forever as much as you can’t lose weight fast in hopes to maintain the weight for the long-term.
It’s like building a business.
It’s like gaining someone’s trust.
It’s like putting in effort into your relationship to make it work.
Let’s put it this way.
Imagine you want to buy a house because you want to have a sense of achievement that you can successfully save money (your goal). You know it well and truly that it takes time to save money and you can’t do it overnight. That said, you have worked out that in order for you to save enough for a deposit, you have to save $2000 a month for three years.
It takes consistency, sheer diligence and possibly some discipline to put that money aside but you do it anyway because you know it’ll give you what you want.
The house on the other hand can bring you happiness. It will give you a sense of achievement that you’ve worked hard all these years to get it out of your own blood, sweat and tears. It will give you a sense of belonging, that you actually have something to maintain and look forward to for the rest of your life.
Now while keeping those feelings and emotions in mind, picture this. Someone just offered to give you an extra $2,000 a month just because they know you want a house. When you ask them to give you a reason, they simply tell you that they want to help speed up the saving process.
For the unsuspected victim, you will probably take the money anyway — you could do with an extra income to speed things up a little bit. But for the smart ones, you would probably evaluate your options, hire a lawyer and make sure you get things in order before even accepting the money.
Now say you are the unsuspected victim, whatever the odds of being one are. After one and a half years, you finally bought a house. On one hand you’re overjoyed. People start congratulating you and ask you how you can save up that much money that fast. But on the other hand, the person who initially gave you the extra $2,000 a month came around and started to seek ownership over the house. They want to have a share because technically, that house is theirs too — or at least half of it.
I know it might seem absurd, but think about it. If you would go through all the hassle to hire lawyers for a matter such as buying a property, starting a business and for every other aspect of your life, shouldn’t your health be the same too?
Why would you bother going for a fast weight loss technique when you know it’ll give you happiness for the short-term, when your health is something you have to live with for the rest of your life?
Maintaining your weight loss should begin even before you lose weight, even before you start writing down your three-day nutrition diary, and even before you start doing the 2-minute workout. It does not matter if you have a concrete goal or not. While that might not affect your weight loss success, thinking about what you’re going to do to maintain the weight loss will come a long way.
If that’s not a good enough reason, ask yourself this other question before you proceed — “How can you maintain all the weight you’ll be losing for the rest of your life?” Answer that, brutally and truthfully and write it down in your diary (that you should already have).
If you can’t find a solid answer to that, then perhaps you might want to review your game plan.
But if you’re doing what I’ve been telling you to in the last three parts in the series, then you’re safe.
STRATEGY #5: MAKE IT A LIFESTYLE
Remember when I said if you’re following what I’ve planned out in Parts 1, 2 and 3, it simply means you’re not going on a diet and you will be okay?
The reason why you’ll be okay is because we are making tweaks to your lifestyle. My favourite habit guru Leo Babauta does it. My favourite nutrition people Precision Nutrition does it. I do it, and my clients do it.
If you’ve gotten that far in the weeks in Parts 2 and 3, you’ve probably have adopted some excellent changes to your life, which includes eating properly, devoid of processed carbs and sugars, exercising, picking up an activity that you like.
Now how do you really maintain it? Simple. By keeping up with doing it. It’s a lifestyle so exercising and eating the right types of food that nourishes your body should already be like brushing your teeth every single day.
If you’re following the plan, you should already be gradually increasing your exercise intensity. Keep going.
If you’re following the plan, you should already be trying to avoid processed sugar and carbs. Keep going.
If you’re following the plan, you should already be close to your goal weight or even achieved your target. Keep going.
Keep it up. I wish I had more to say in this part but I’m pretty sure the whole series has spoken for itself.
STRATEGY #6: CONSIDER PROFESSIONAL SUPPORT
Hiring a coach, personal trainer or someone whom you trust who knows what they’re talking about when you’re losing weight is important. But hiring one after you’ve lost weight is in my opinion, more important. Someone who can act as a mentor. Someone who you can look up to. And someone who can give you professional support whenever you need one.
Why is it more important? Because maintaining the weight is much harder than losing it. Having professional support can help you stay in track, provide you with a new program that challenges you and tweak your nutrition to your needs, lifestyle and goals. In other words, it’s fail-proof.
I had a mentor all through my weight loss journey up till this very day and I am lucky to have him to look after my progress and maintenance. Having someone there who knows what they’re doing will increase your chances of maintaining the weight so looking for one you can depend on is worth it.
I offer free nutritional and fitness consultations and a free one-month trial of a customised program for ANY goals. You can consider that by emailing me at email@example.com.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
Maintaining the weight does take more effort and commitment but if you make it a priority, you can do it well all right. Losing weight as a whole will require a good strategy and if there is one thing I have to tell you over again in this series is to not diet. Change your lifestyle and follow what has been said in this four parts. I’ve poured my whole heart and soul to get it out to you so you can get lasting results and most importantly not repeat the same mistake as I did, so use it well.
If you haven’t done them already, start with Part 1: Getting Started, followed by Part 2: Feeding Yourself and Part 3: Exercising for Weight Loss. In Parts 1 and 2, there are some DIY templates you can download and print and follow through for a successful weight loss. Do it now.
For those of you who require a step-by-step walk through, and someone to guide you, tweak your program and plans, listen to your complaints, problems and everything else that you need, I offer a FREE fitness and nutrition consultation, followed by a FREE one-month trial of my coaching program. Since it’s inception two months ago, I’m mentoring 5 clients already, and I only have space for 5 more. It is goal oriented and needs specific and I cater to any fitness goals and levels. The backbone of the program is the nutrition aspect, which is the most important part of any fitness goals, and we supplement that with exercise, strength training and sports coaching.
It’s revolutionary and it’s going to change your life.
All you have to do is send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will get back to you within 12 hours.
Take a chance. Start applying everything I’ve outlined in this series into your life right now or send me an email. Whichever way you choose, I will be here for you even though we are miles away. I’m here to help because I’ve been in your shoes.
It’s all about you now, so let’s get some results in! Procrastination has no room in the lives of the successful. You are one of them.
Have an excellent week ahead. :)
This is the last part of the four-part series on The Beginners Guide To Losing Weight — a step-by-step guide to losing weight for good and keeping it off.
1. The Beginners Guide To Losing Weight (Part 1): Getting Started
2. The Beginners Guide To Losing Weight (Part 2): Feeding Yourself
3. The Beginners Guide To Losing Weight (Part 3): Exercise
4. The Beginners Guide To Losing Weight (Part 4): How To Maintain Weight Loss