Weight loss can feel like a triumphant victory, but maintaining that hard-won success often proves to be the real battle. Most of us fall victim to the vicious cycle of yo-yo dieting, where we lose weight just to pile it all back on soon after. It's a frustrating and demoralising process. So how do we break free from this relentless cycle?
In this article, we will explore the mindset required for successful weight maintenance. We will also delve into the common reasons for weight regain. And finally, practical strategies to lose weight and keep it off for good.
The Mindset for Weight Maintenance: Marathon or Sprint or something else altogether?
Embarking on the journey of weight loss AND maintenance is not for the faint of heart. It requires a complete shift in mindset from viewing it as a temporary task to embracing it as a lifelong commitment. It's not about reaching the finish line; it's about maintaining the pace after the race is over.
The race is the losing weight bit. But why weight loss is not permanent is because we switch off after the race wraps up. Here's where the analogy stops and life begins - you got to do work. Daily.
Also, remember - it is actually fat loss and not weight loss.
Understanding the Weight Loss and Weight Maintenance Mindset
The initial stages of weight loss can be exhilarating as you see the numbers on the scale go down. Yet, the real challenge lies in sustaining this progress. The weight maintenance mindset is about accepting that this journey is not a temporary phase. Instead, it is a permanent lifestyle change.
It's about finding a sustainable balance between healthy eating and physical activity. And incorporating it into your daily routine for the long haul. If you cannot put it in your context, it won't work.
The Importance of Consistency and Resilience
Weight maintenance is a game of consistency and resilience. It's about making health-conscious decisions consistently and bouncing back even when you slip up. It is important to acknowledge that you will slip up. Otherwise, you will be sidelined when you do. That spirals into a game of blame and guilt that serves nobody.
Remember, it's okay to have a treat meal or miss a workout. What's important is not to let these minor setbacks derail your overall progress. Be consistent, be resilient, and remember that every step, no matter how small, is a step in the right direction.
In fact, it is important to have treat meals. It is important to NOT aim for 100%. There are periods when you want to be switched on. These are not the majority. Likewise, there will be periods when you want to switch off. The third bit - hovering at 85% - is the magic.
Decoding the Cycle: Why Do We Regain Weight?
Understanding why we regain weight is the first step towards breaking the cycle of yo-yo dieting. Here are some common reasons why those lost pounds creep back up on us.
The Physiology of Weight Regain
Our bodies are programmed for survival. Fat storage is a crucial evolutionary trait that is prized. Was. Weight loss, especially rapid weight loss, can trigger a survival response.
As you lose weight, your body's metabolism slows down to conserve energy, leading to fewer calories burned at rest.
At the same time, your body's appetite-regulating hormones shift, causing an increase in hunger and a decrease in satiety. This combination of a slower metabolism and increased appetite can set the stage for weight regain.
The Impact of Diet and Exercise Habits
Many of us approach weight loss with a short-term mindset. We adopt strict diets and intense workout regimens that are difficult to maintain in the long run. Once we achieve our weight loss goals, we often revert to our old eating and exercise habits, leading to weight regain. This is understandable because we went above and beyond. Which is frickin' amazing. But it comes back to the long-term.
Sustainable weight maintenance requires long-term changes to diet and exercise habits.
The Role of the Environment
Our environment plays a significant role in our weight management journey. Easy access to high-calorie, processed foods and a sedentary lifestyle can make it challenging to maintain weight loss. It's crucial to create an environment that supports healthy eating and regular physical activity.
Strategies for Success: How to Lose Weight and Keep It Off
Armed with an understanding of why weight regain happens, we can now explore practical strategies for successful weight maintenance. Remember, there's no one-size-fits-all approach to weight loss and maintenance. What works for one person may not work for another, and the key is to find a balance that works for you.
The Importance of a Balanced Diet
A balanced diet is the cornerstone of weight maintenance.
No fad diets.
No super-restrictive diets.
Instead, start with and stick to the fundamentals. Aim for a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. Dairy, if you can tolerate it. Lentils and legumes, of course. And to round it off, whole grains.
This not only provides your body with the nutrients it needs but also keeps you feeling full and satisfied, making it easier to resist cravings.
Making Activity a Habit
Physical activity is a crucial component of weight maintenance. Find activities you enjoy, such as walking, dancing, cycling, or yoga, and make them a part of your daily routine. Remember, every bit of movement counts. Even small changes like taking the stairs instead of the elevator or going for a short walk during your lunch break can make a difference. Remember, we discussed TDEE and NEAT and acronyms like that.
The Role of Regular Self-Monitoring
Regular self-monitoring is an effective tool for weight maintenance. This could include weighing yourself, tracking your food intake, or keeping a record of your physical activity.
Self-monitoring will help you stay accountable. It will help you identify any patterns or habits that may be contributing to weight regain.
I understand that these are potential triggers for a bunch of you. I am not asking you to "just do it." But not monitoring it is also not an option. You need to find an approach that works for you.
Let's say you take 10 steps forward. And then stop monitoring. What happens is you find yourself 11 steps back in a year. But if we can set alarms and alerts so that when we are 2 steps behind to do a mini-push, to keep making micro-corrections - wouldn't that be amazing?
Weight maintenance can be a challenging journey, and having a support system can make all the difference. This could be a weight loss support group, a dietitian, a personal trainer, or even a friend or family member. Or all of the above!
Having someone to share your struggles and successes with can provide motivation and encouragement. At The Quad, the magical community does most of the work which leads to our incredible results. Yes yes, the coaches and all that are top-notch. But it all comes down to intent and the individual. And that's where the community shines!
Resources for Weight Management
- Weight loss apps. There are countless weight loss programs and apps available that offer meal plans, workout routines, and tracking tools to help you stay on track. I am biased here and I'll point you towards the Daily9.
Why? Two reasons. One, you do not need a meal plan. You need a framework. You need to contextualise it. Which our coaches will help you with.
Two, we've developed a system for the 100%, for the 85% and for the pass mark too. Our programme, while wildly successful for fat loss, is actually built for weight maintenance.
- Get coaching. Talk to a nutritionist. Or a wellness coach.
We built the Daily9 to be a "cheap and best" alternative to expensive nutritionists.
- Do it yourself. With a group of friends, you can do this yourself. Absolutely.
Embrace the Journey, Not Just the Destination
Weight maintenance is not about achieving a perfect number on the scale. It is about embracing a healthier and more active lifestyle. It's about making sustainable changes that you can stick with in the long run.
Remember, weight maintenance is a journey, not a destination, and every step you take towards a healthier lifestyle is a step in the right direction.
And the journey involves ups and downs.
The journey involves rapid progress, stalling, creeping forward, slipping up, inching forward and everything you can think of.
In the end, the secret to successful weight maintenance is not about finding the perfect diet or workout regimen. It's about developing a mindset of resilience, consistency, and self-compassion.
That last bit is something I personally needed to understand. For myself and for my students. It is easy to brush past it. But from what I've seen, that is THE thing to focus on - self-compassion.
It's about understanding that weight maintenance is a lifelong journey and that setbacks are part of the process. It's about finding joy in the journey and celebrating every small victory along the way. So, embrace the journey!
Not just the destination. Instead, every milestone should be celebrated.
You got this!