Successful weight loss isn’t just a matter of dropping the pounds. That is certainly an important goal along the way. Still, true success doesn’t stop at losing weight – it’s a matter of keeping it off. The pounds need to remain off permanently for you to consider that weight loss goal to be achieved.
At the same time, among those who do achieve their goal weight, many revert to their old ways only to watch the pounds climb back on again. So, what’s the secret to permanent success? How do we make sure we’re not just losing the weight now as one of several times that we’ll need to do it all over again in the future? When do we stop playing with the yo-yo?
Dedicate Yourself to Maintain Weight Loss
Thinking Long Term
Achieving permanent weight loss success means that you need to think long term. If your mindset and goals are based exclusively on dropping the pounds, that’s likely as far as you’ll get. If your change your target to include healthy long-term weight management in which losing the weight in the first place is only the beginning, you’ll significantly improve your chances.
After all, if you only diet to lose weight and make it possible to return to your old habits, then those old habits will lead you to the same outcome: gaining weight all over again. It’s inevitable.
Permanent weight loss requires you to adopt a healthy lifestyle that you plan to maintain for many years to come, if not for the rest of your life. It focuses on eating for nutrition and balance, while you remain active on a regular basis. While you may not need to be quite as restrictive in your lifestyle once you’ve achieved your goal weight, you can’t give up those efforts altogether. You just have a bit of wiggle room.
Enjoying Weight Management
If you just read that and said “ya, right,” then you haven’t discovered the right long-term weight management strategy for yourself. Believe it or not, you can love it. You can find it energizing, relaxing and it can even boost your confidence. The key is to find the right version of it for you.
If you’re thinking of weight management as a program that requires you to count every calorie for the rest of your life and force yourself into workouts you hate every day, you’re correct. You’ll hate it. In fact, chances are that you’ll give up on it before long, too.
However, if you think of weight management as a positive challenge that requires you to recognize your weaknesses, know your strengths, be prepared for temptation and continually tweak your lifestyle for ongoing improvement, you’ll like things a lot more.
Remember that long term weight management isn’t about a regimented program for millions of people to stick to without fail. Instead, it’s a lifestyle that is uniquely your own, based on what you’ve learned throughout your weight loss and on what you’ll continue to learn throughout the rest of your life. You’ll find healthy recipes, tricks, strategies, and activities that make you feel happy. You’ll find rewards that are fulfilling without being unhealthy. You’ll also learn that the occasional treat – even if it’s empty of nutrients and requires you to be sedentary for three straight hours – is perfectly acceptable on occasion.
Your Unique Weight Maintenance Success Strategy
To take control of your weight management and set yourself up for permanent success, it’s up to you to choose the right components for your weight loss program to create a healthy foundation. From there, you can add more components to your lifestyle that work for you and help you out along the way.
Here are some of the most common habits among people who lose the weight without regaining it. Give them a try to find out which ones will make a difference to you and how you can adapt them for your own healthy lifestyle:
Keeping a food journal or diary can be a very powerful tool not only during weight loss but also as you maintain the lost pounds. It keeps you accountable for what you’re eating and when you’re exercising, it can allow you to monitor your mood and sleep. It can help you to spot problem trends as they occur and before they can cause any real harm.
• Understand how to weigh yourself
Weighing yourself can help you to understand how you’re doing. The bathroom scale can tell you whether the pounds are going up, down or staying the same. Know that your bathroom scale can’t tell the difference between lean muscle, body fat and retained water. Still, if the number keeps rising, it can be an indicator that you need to make some adjustments. See your weight on a scale as one of several indicators of your progress.
• Eat breakfast
Don’t eat just anything for breakfast. Make it the most important meal of your day. Research shows that people who eat breakfast are more likely to eat right throughout the rest of the day and lose weight more efficiently. Moreover, those who make breakfast the largest meal of their day (having a lighter dinner instead) are even more likely to eat right and maintain a healthy body weight. Start the day off well and you’ll be better prepared to keep it up throughout the day.
• Snack smart
Those who are most successful in keeping weight under control are those who respect snack time. They neither skip snacks in the hopes of keeping calories low – while leaving themselves hungry and at risk of binging later – nor do they let their cravings guide their snack choices. Kale chips, cucumber slices, carrot sticks, celery sticks, raw mushrooms, broccoli pieces, cauliflower pieces, cherry or grape tomatoes, melon balls and berries are all high in nutrients, high in fiber and low in calories. They fill you up and give you a nutrient boost without spiking your calorie intake for the day.
• Daily exercise
Go for a walk every single day. Consider it to be a requirement in your day. In fact, don’t even think of it as a workout. Think of it as something you do each day and complete a workout on top of your daily walk. That way, you can do extra cardio, strength training and yoga throughout the week but always enjoy your walk for both physical and mental health.
Keeping Up the Good Work
There will be times when you’re doing great and there will be times when you slide a little. Remind yourself that while it’s important to do your best, the occasional day when you fall off the wagon can be easily repaired by getting up, brushing yourself off and getting back on track again.
Remember that you’re looking for permanent success which means a long-term lifestyle, not just one that you’ll keep up until the first time you slip. When you do manage to keep up the good work without slipping, celebrate with a reward. This way, it will only continue to get easier and more pleasant.