Part 4: Post Summer Focus!! Maintaining Weight Loss and Your Goal Weight WHEN you Get There.
Part 4: Transform: Maintaining weight loss and your goal weight when you get there.
Maintaining weight loss and your goal weight for the long term does not have to start when you have achieved your ideal weight or size, it starts from the moment you start taking action, so by the time you ARE your ideal weight and size, all these actions are now part of your normal life, and maintenance is a natural progression, not something that comes at the end of your journey.
It is sooooo important to understand that maintaining weight loss comes with it's ups and downs. When you know this, it takes away that failure mentality that comes with a relapse or 'day off'. Back in the days of my food addictions, I used to dread reaching my target weight, because I believed maintenance would be so much harder than losing weight in the first place-it's no wonder my mind created the sabotage to undo my hard work if I was afraid of getting to where I wanted to be!
Who else is in that position right now and doesn't realise that their thoughts are creating their reality?
By working through some of the ups and downs here, you can ensure that maintaining your healthy active regime becomes your new normal, and have the confidence to know you can go all the way to your dream size and weight, have an amazing relationship with food AND stay that way!
Maintaining weight loss and your desired weight and size will need some tweaking and adjustment. Plateaus, hydration, illness, new exercise regimes, food intolerances, sleep all have an effect on weight loss, both negative and positive.
Common problems when weight loss stops or plateaus: There tend to be a few situations to eliminate first and foremost when weight loss has stopped or plateau'd for some reason, possibly unexpectedly. As a yo-yo dieter, you'll possibly be weighing yourself often and seeing fluctuations in your weight can damage your psyche, willpower and motivation beyond repair which leads to that slippery slope we all know only too well unfortunately. Understanding some of the causes for those fluctuations and being aware of all the reasons they occur can help you observe patterns and will build a clear picture of what your body is doing, when and why.
If you are a regular weigher, my suggestion would be to a) observe the number on those scales in an objective, curious, unemotional way, b) only weigh yourself occasionally, at the same time of day, in the same place, no more than once a week, c) focus on how your clothes feel, how you feel and inch loss (this is the way to go if you can not detach from the emotion of seeing a number fluctuate on the scales, despite your best efforts to eat healthily).
Three common causes for weight loss plateaus are eating too little, eating too much and being dehydrated.
Eating too little: I'm bringing this up first because there is still some misinformation out here that the less you eat, the more weight you will lose. You will lose some weight by restricting your calorie intake to 1000 calories or less, but it will only happen for a short period, then your body will move into a starvation phase, where it starts to hold on to everything you eat in order to maintain some energy to ensure basic bodily functions continue to happen and burn muscle rather than fat for energy. This leads to weight loss stopping and even weight gain, alongside low energy, hunger pangs during the night affecting your sleep, and irritability due to low blood sugar levels.
Eating too much: On the other side of the coin, eating whilst distracted often leads to consuming more food than you would if you were eating presently; tasting every mouthful of food, putting your fork down between mouthfuls, observing the beautiful colours on your plate. Your emotions also play a huge role in how much you eat, especially if you are an overeater.
You can work out your daily calorie requirements based on your age, weight and activity levels here: http://www.foreverfituk.co.uk/bmr-and-amr.html
Hydration: Being dehydrated is a massive cause of weight fluctuations and plateaus. If you are not drinking enough water, or consuming enough through fresh fruit and vegetables, then your body starts to hold on to it, rather than get rid via the usual channels. Not only that, but your digestion becomes dryer, more sluggish, leading to weight plateaus and gain because of the sheer amount of waste being stored in your colon. And finally, dehydration leads to lack of clarity, focus and concentration, which could mean you make unhealthy food choices as a result of those feelings.
One thing is for sure; slow and steady wins the race. Pre-Breakthrough, I went from all or nothing eating and exercise regimes, wanted to click my fingers and be 4 stone lighter and was always on the look out for quick fixes and easy ways to do it, from watered down protein shakes every 90 minutes instead of food every other day, to no carb, no fat or one diet or another. Post breakthrough, the urgency vanished, I was in it for the long haul, however long and whatever that took.
By far the best and most efficient way to lose weight for the long-term is at a rate of 1-2 lbs a week. Your body, metabolism and appetite has time to adjust to the changes, your skin elasticity stays efficient which reduces sagging skin as your lose your weight. Think about this for a minute...1lb lost every week, over a month, 6 months, 1 year-what does that work out to? Over 3 and a half stone a year!
Take my advice, from one who's been there, play the long game and make it a life change, not a quick whim, soon to be undone by the slightest upset in your life circumstances.
Focusing on inches lost and how your clothes feel is an incredible way to monitor your weight loss journey. Because the slightest change in weight can throw most people off their weight loss plan, using your body feelings and clothes can eliminate that marginal change on the scales (that's normally catastrophic for the weigher!) because despite those fluctuations in weight, if you're exercising and eating healthily, your body shape will continue to stay the same or change in a positive way.
A book I once read, called the Compound Effect, by Darren Hardy www.thecompoundeffect.com , explained that the sum of small actions, taken over a long period of time equals massive results. This is sooooo true! Losing one single pound a week seems trivial to most, so much so that we overlook the small goal and go for a bigger one like losing 3-4 pounds a week instead-which just isn't realistic for most people, so so we set ourselves up for failure. Focusing on consistently achieving 1 lb a week weight loss will have little detrimental impact on your luxurious, fast paced life, however, over a year, most, if not all people will see themselves achieve their ideal weight and size, and more importantly, achieved it at a rate that they can maintain as part of their normal life.
Of course, there are going to be times in any weight loss journey that there will be a sticking point, plateau, or slip back into old habits. In the health and fitness profession, we call this a relapse (this is covered in my earlier blog, 'The weight loss cycle'). Knowing and understanding that relapse is a natural stage in our weight loss journey can allow you to work through a relapse objectively, quickly and painlessly.
Some of the most common causes of relapse in weight loss are; illness, emotions, stress, trauma, routine changes, subconscious self-sabotage, or a driver (important event) has passed.
When you have an unhealthy relationship with food, you have always had challenges with your weight, you are a yo-yo dieter, you know you are an emotional eater, then generally it is subconscious self-sabotage that creates a relapse. When self sabotage kicks in- it feels unstoppable, you feel out of control over what you're eating and drinking, you gain more weight and can’t get back into action no matter how much you want to or try.
Ultimately you end up back in pre-contemplation (in this case some form of denial or depression) until contemplation takes hold after a comment or photo that snaps you back into preparation and action.
In healthy relationships with food, you curiously review what’s going on and take action on what can be changed that is affecting your eating pattern, you can let go of what you can’t change. If it is a seasonal or routine change, you can change the food and/or your schedules around, if it is being caused by an argument at work, you could speak to the person involved or remove yourself from the upset. As you start to operate in this way, your mind becomes clear and refocuses-when you can do this, relapse lasts an hour or a day, then you are swiftly back into action and maintenance. Relapse can actually be a very positive, enlightening experience.
Pulling it all together: Incorporating weight loss into your life and keeping on track through life is the key to long lasting weight loss and all the perks that come with it; health, fitness, happiness, confidence, living longer, great relationships are just a few benefits.
Claiming your responsibility and power to choose where you want to be moving towards in your journey is vital, the buck starts and stops with you and how you choose to react to people, circumstances and situations that would habitually throw you off course.
So...where are you at? Are you eating too little? Eating too much? Are you dehydrated?
Do you need to rethink your weight loss goal into a long-term weight loss goal rather than a short term 'quick fix' goal? If so, what are you going to change it from and to?
What relapses have you experienced before and how long have they lasted? How can you change the way you think and feel about a relapse from this point onwards?
That's it from me, remember, if you know you need some support to get underway with your weight loss journey, then hop on a complimentary 30 minute call with me to do just that.
I love love love to hear your feedback and action - drop me a comment or email and let me know how you are changing your weight loss journey into a long-term healthy one!