Losing weight isn’t the hard part. Losing weight and keeping it off is.
Maybe you or someone you know lost a ton of weight once, and now they have since gained it back, and then some, and seem to struggle mightily to lose it again.
If you know more about this person, think about how they did it. Maybe they went on some crazy hardcore diet for a couple of months, spent 3 hours a day at the gym, or took questionable supplements that cost over $2000/month…
The person who loses and regains all usually lost via some extreme fashion.
So how do we avoid this? How do we make progress that lasts, and seems as effortless as possible? These are not in order of importance.
1) Regular Exercise
You may be wondering, “I thought diet was most important for fat loss!” and you would be right. BUT, maintaining fat loss is a different story. Regular exercise that challenges the body is key to maintaining results long-term. Yes, walking is great and getting 10k steps per day is awesome – but our bodies are meant to be physical, strong and challenged once in a while.
You don’t need to spend hours per day, but even 4-5 days per week of 30 minutes of vigorous activity will be enough.
While I don’t advise people to count their calories burned from exercise into their food intake (earning food is a bad mindset) – you cannot deny that regular exercise does increase your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE).
2) Willingness to Change
This should seem like a no brainer, but you need to be willing to change some things in your life for good. You cannot expect to make a ton of changes for 12 weeks, get results, then revert back to all your old habits and maintain your progress.
Obviously, we want to change as little as possible to make this as easy as possible.
However, the number of people who say they want to change, yet continue to live 3-4 days a week like they are in college still cracks me up.
You need to be okay with changing your ways if you want to see a change in your waist…….that was awful 🙁
3) Consistent Monitoring of Something
Whether it be your food, your weight, or your lifts in the gym – you have to monitor something to maintain your own sort of self-accountability.
If you weigh yourself daily, you shouldn’t worry about your day-to-day weights, but rather your general trends over the course of time. Try the Happy Scale App for this.
Tracking food is one of the best tools when it comes to improving your nutrition knowledge. I don’t know how many times I have heard people say, “once I started tracking, I was SHOCKED at how many calories were in XYZ”
Tracking your progress at the gym is a great idea for everyone, even if you don’t necessarily care about being super strong. It will help you track overall progress, because if you are slowly getting stronger, you are slowly building more muscle, and thus likely improving your body comp (muscle to fat ratio).
Going at things alone is never a good idea. I don’t care what people say, nobody is truly self-made successful.
If you are trying to improve your health by eating healthier and being more active, it doesn’t help if your partner keeps bringing home fast food, and sweets and encouraging you to skip the gym and watch late night TV instead.
Get a new partner. Ok, maybe not.
BUT – have that discussion with them, explain why this is important to you, and what they could do to show love and support.
Join a weight lifting group, a running club, or any group of like-minded people who maybe have the same goals and hobbies as you. In a world where we are so overly connected via the internet, we are less socially connected more than ever. Having your “tribe” or coach to guide and keep you accountable is key.
5) Appreciation of the Long Game
My clients probably get sick of me saying this.
But you have to be willing to go with the ebbs and flows of life and play the long game.
Think about the person who puts all their eggs in one basket, pushes all their chips into the pot, and goes hog-wild for 12 weeks of exercise and extreme dieting. Let’s say they lose 20 pounds. Then they regain. They then repeat next year, because it worked for the last year… maybe this time they lose 18 pounds in 12 weeks. Then regain…this pattern continues for 3-4 years.
Then the other person comes in. They focus on sustainable results, and work at it, but also live life, and enjoy the process. They “only” lose 6 pounds in a year. That’s .5 pounds per month…or roughly 0.125 pounds per week… “nothing” to most people…
3 years later, they are 18 pounds lighter, leaner, and healthier and hardly noticed the struggle.
3 YEARS! <—- Read this again.
Think back 3 years ago. If I came to you and said – “hey, you will be 18-25 pounds leaner 3 years from now, and the process will be almost effortless compared to crash diets and crazy workouts, you in?”
3 years isn’t really that long of a time, especially if you are 100% more likely to KEEP that 18-25 pounds off for the rest of your life because you learned so many positive habits and skills along the way.