Most of us probably know or know of someone who has lost the weight and then put it all back on. Or maybe you are that person. Well you’re not alone. Just try to look up the “where are they now” stats for the Biggest Loser. Considering that there has been 16 seasons with an average of 20 contestants each, you’d hope you’d be able to find an abundance of success stories! However, from my searches, they seem to be pretty sparse.
See the problem doesn’t seem to be so much with losing the weight as it is with keeping it off. In fact, there have been numerous weight loss studies that show just how grim the statistics are when it comes to sustaining it.
HOWEVER, there are those that have achieved their fat loss goals and continue to keep it off. When it comes these individuals, it’s no surprise that there appears to be some common similarities. The 3 factors below seem to be present in those who are able to maintain a healthy lifestyle long term:
1) A support system
I don’t think I really need to explain this. I’m sure we’ve all experienced how much harder something is when we don’t feel supported. These days a healthy lifestyle can already feel like you’re going against the flow. If you don’t have people in your life that encourage you in this, (or at the very least are understanding and supportive), then of course it’s going to be that much harder.
If your friends make you feel bad about making healthy choices or tempt you to constantly cheat, it might be time to have a DTR. Explain to them why this is so important to you and ask them to kindly get on board. Suggest other things to do instead of pizza and beer night. If not, maybe it’s time to find some new friends with similar goals or interests.
2) Some system of self-accountability
It’s been found that one of the #1 tools in successful maintenance is some form of self-monitoring. Of course, I’m sure most of your minds went straight to the scale or a certain pair of jeans. While that’s not wrong, here’s why I don’t think it’s the best method. The scale doesn’t give us any measure of what we’re doing day-in or day-out. It can only tell us that something is or isn’t working after the fact. And it can be pretty fickle even at that.
Why not get ahead of it and use something that will keep us more mindful of our day-to-day actions, something that can be specified and easily measured? Here are some better options to self-monitoring:
*The 90/10 Rule
Unless you’re looking to compete in a figure competition, there’s little difference between eating 100% compliant and 90%. Say you eat 3 meals and 1 snack-per-day. That’s 28 meals a week. This means that you have 3 meals/snacks (I like to round up. 😉 ) where you can enjoy those foods that don’t necessarily move you toward your goals.
I have found that personally, I can maintain my current body composition with an 80/20 split. That’s maintenance, so I’m not losing or gaining any fat. 🙂 So if 90% feels to hard, start a little lower.
*Counting Your Macros or Calories
While this method has been made much easier with digital food scales and food tracking apps, it’s still one of the more time-consuming and in-depth methods of accountability. I usually only recommend this to clients who already have some of the more basic habits under their belt and are still looking for more results. It is great for getting a better idea of proper portion sizes, which are especially out of control here in America.
*A Food Journal
This is one of the simplest ways to start tracking, but most overlooked. I scoffed at the idea myself for a long time. But I read this recently and thought it was a great example of why it’s so helpful:
For many of us, eating can become a lot like driving. Have you ever driven somewhere and realized upon arriving that you were so zoned out that you can’t remember entire parts of the drive? Clearly, on some level, your mind was still engaged or else you would have crashed. But, another part of your mind was thinking about all the other things you needed to get done that day or the any number of other things going on in your life.
Unlike driving, a food journal allows you to go back and take a closer look at what you consumed that day. Yes, it can be hard to write down those treats and over-indulgences. Remember: you’re not a better or worse person based on the types or amounts of food that you eat. A food journal is simply a way to help keep yourself accountable. If you’re not honest on it, then you’re just lying to yourself and that’s just not gonna get you anywhere.
It has been shown that people who didn’t just focus on diet but also included some form of exercise had a higher rate of sustained weight loss. Now, yes, I have my opinions on what works best and what is most effective for certain goals. But ultimately, any type of physical activity is exercise. I just. Want. More. Movement!
Plus, most people will only stick with stuff they don’t despise, so for serious: find something you ENJOY doing!
Dance, lift, run, swim, walk, bike, yoga, kayak, jump rope, kick box, somersault, PLAY. Do what you love and you won’t hear me say a word about it…
…unless you ask my opinion. 😉
NOW, this all that being said…
The holidays seem to be an especially difficult time for, well, just about everybody 🙂 to maintain consistency and their weight. This has always frustrated me because instead of the holidays being an enjoyable and rejuvenating time, it ends up being more stressful and uncomfortable than anything else. Over-eating and feeling stuffed into your jeans is NOT fun. On top of it, we end up having to spend the first couple months of the year just getting back to where we were in November!
To avoid this, I’ve come up with the strategies needed to enjoy the holidays while maintaining your fitness and physique! These include time-saving workouts, healthy recipes, tools for navigating the big meals and holiday parties while still feeling satisfied, and of course, some encouragement and accountability from me! I’m super excited to finally be offering my first online product! However, I will only be offering this to a select number of people, so if you’re interested, get on the waiting list below to be sure that you will get all the juicy details and be notified as soon as the program opens up. Can’t wait for another awesome holiday season…no deprivation, no scales, no stress, just fun! 🙂