I spent eight years counseling clients in weight management and it always seemed much easier for them to lose weight than to maintain what they lost. You know that feeling. High on life, on top of the world. You finally found what works for you to get the weight off once and for all. No going back. Until you do. And then there’s no going back. The scale has a mind of its own and so does your body. And worse, the pounds you lost bring some friends along this time. How did this happen?! Again.
Aside from your body’s normal physiology saying “no way, no how, this isn’t natural and this isn’t supposed to happen so I’m gonna fight you tooth and nail until the end,” there are common downfalls that dieters find themselves in once they’ve hit their goal weight, first milestone, or just let down their guard. Here they are, in four easy steps:
- Falling into the skinny jeans trap. They fit. Finally. So now you can have that one cookie because you got into them. And what’s one lonely cookie gonna hurt? Cue tight zipper. Hope you didn’t throw out your stretch pants yet. Why does one hurt? Besides leading to more cookies, when your body is in a state of starvation (which it is kinda is when you’ve intentionally fed it less calories than it required to shed unwanted pounds), its going to take that cookie and absorb those calories more so than someone who has been the same exact weight you are their entire life. Fair? Of course not. Fact of life? Unfortunately yes.
- Ditching a workout routine or never starting one in the first place. Diet got you there, diet will keep you there, right? Wrong. Physical activity is one of the most important predictors of successful weight loss maintenance. In a study of over 10,000 individuals who have successfully lost 30 pounds or more and kept it off for at least one year, 90% of them exercise about ONE HOUR every day!! And 62% of them watch less than TEN hours of television PER WEEK! Source: NWCR. If you do watch television, balance it out with activity (how about positioning that treadmill in front of the television?)
- Freak out when you gain two pounds. Eat a box of oreos. Give up and then avoid the scale like the plague. Instead, commit to the scale, preferably to once a day or at the very least, once a week. But please don’t use the scale as a measurement of how you plan to eat that day or who you are as a person. It is an objective measurement of how you are doing. That’s it. Reframe what it means and how you use it. Think of your weight as going into “red, yellow, and green” zones. The scale will tell you where it is. One of the biggest fears I believe yo-yo dieters have is that they have no control over where their weight is going to go once they begin to gain a few pounds. And so they give up. Successful weight maintainers don’t think that way. Click on the diagram to see what I mean. Do you have strategies that helped you lose weight in the first place (keeping food records, walking longer, accountability partner, stricter diet with protein shakes)? And when you have been maintaining your weight loss for a bit (by that I mean you range within 0-3 pounds to account for daily water weight fluctuations), do you know what happened when you gain 4 or 5 pounds? Successful maintainers do know (recent vacation, holiday weekend, went out for a birthday, etc.) And they usually don’t gain over 5 pounds because they weigh th
emselves often enough to catch it long before it gets that far. It’s much easier to re-lose 4 or 5 pounds than 10. So don’t go there.
- Fail to plan meals. This one seems obvious. But this is the most common one I see. Life gets busy and the diet is over. So what gets low priority? Meal planning!! I’ll admit it, it’s not my favorite thing, either, and I do it for a living! But the old saying goes, when you fail to plan, you plan to fail. I have created a free simple meal plan to get you started here. Otherwise, I highly recommend an Instant Pot. I got one recently and it is the non-meal planner’s BFF. It’s versatile and cooks frozen meat in record time. Drop in the pot, push a button, you have a meal in often 30 minutes or less! Get it here. You’re welcome.
I hope these tips resonate with you and give you some insight on truly the hardest part about weight loss. Make this your last time and keep it off for good by not repeating the same traps over and over again.
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