The Challenge of Maintaining Weight Loss
Let’s be honest, losing weight is difficult, and it can be even harder to maintain the weight loss. 10 years ago, I lost 80 lb and have been able to keep it off; now, I want to share the strategies and techniques that have helped me maintain this weight loss for the past 10 years.
One of the problems is that when you start restricting calories and increase your exercise, your body goes into a state of adaptive thermogenesis, where it tries to burn fewer calories and conserve energy. This is the “starvation mode” that you hear everyone talking about. So, if you drastically reduce your calories, then lose weight, and then go back to the way you were eating before, you probably will gain the weight back.
Common Challenges and How to Overcome Them
Maintaining your weight loss is a challenge in and of itself and requires strategies that have proven to be effective for maintaining your weight loss for a long time. Most of us suffer from emotional eating, which can be triggered by stress, negative emotions, and even boredom. This most definitely is my biggest challenge when it comes to maintaining weight loss. Because of this, I am now practicing mindful eating. I try to eat slowly, enjoy the taste of my food, and pay attention to when my stomach is full. It also helps not to be watching TV. I cannot tell you how many times I have been watching the Philadelphia Phillies, Philadelphia 76ers or the Philadelphia Eagles and just sat there, watching the game and mindlessly stuffing food into my body. I believe that this is one of the biggest techniques that has helped me maintain my weight loss for the past 10 years.
Lifestyle Changes for Long-Term Success
I lost 80 lb 10 years ago, and I can definitely tell you that in order for me to keep it off, I had to change my lifestyle. I had to develop habits that promote overall health and well-being. One of the most important ones was eating a proper diet.
Over the past 60 years, I have tried almost every diet that was trendy and popular. Here is a list of all the diets that I have tried:
- Mediterranean Diet
- DASH Diet
- MIND Diet
- Weight Watchers (WW)
- Volumetrics Diet
- Mayo Clinic Diet
- Vegan Diet
- Intermittent Fasting
- Low-FODMAP Diet
- Flexitarian Diet
- Raw Food Diet
- Jenny Craig
- No Sugar Diet
- 80/20 Rule
- Cabbage Soup Diet
- Zone Diet
- Ornish Diet
- South Beach Diet
- Dukan Diet
In the beginning, I lost weight with each and every one of these diets, but most of them were so restrictive that it was impossible to maintain the weight loss.
Now, I eat a little bit of everything. I gravitate more towards vegetables, lean proteins like chicken and fish, and legumes and lentils. Eating a little bit of everything keeps me satisfied, helps keep me fit, and I don’t feel like I’m depriving myself of anything.
The Importance of Support and Accountability
One thing that I can tell you is that having someone or a group that keeps you accountable is a definite must, at least it was for me. It took me 8 months to lose those 80 lbs, and my wife was my biggest support person. There were many nights when I came home after a long day of working with patients that I came home and I just wanted a big bowl of cereal! But my loving wife had a healthy, nutritious dinner waiting for me when I got home. Instead of that sugar-loaded bowl of cereal, I had a delicious meal of salmon, roasted vegetables, and a delicious sweet potato. Lucky for me, my wife is an amazing cook, and everything was seasoned and cooked to perfection.
In addition to my wife, my brother was my partner in this endeavor. Each and every day we would text each other what we had for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and even share pictures of what we were eating. We would try to get together and go for walks on the weekends, and during the week we couldn’t get together, but we would both walk at the same time and talk on our cell phones while we were walking.
The great thing now is that there are online groups that you can join and share your success stories with, and when you are down, these people can pick you up and give you the motivation and inspiration to keep moving forward.
You can also work with healthcare providers like us that provide medically supervised weight loss programs.
Mindset and Motivation: The Key to Long-Term Success
And I had to learn to forgive myself. I wasn’t perfect every day, especially on the weekends, and I did experience setbacks. But I learned to just take it in stride. Instead of becoming frustrated and defeated, I allowed myself the small setback and started on my weight loss plan all over again. I realized that doing this allowed me to lose weight much more quickly compared to when I got frustrated, upset, and depressed over my setbacks.
Being motivated and having a strong mindset is a definite necessity in order to maintain weight loss. It took me a while to realize, but I eventually learned that I had to celebrate the small victories. I knew I had 80 lb to lose, and it seemed like an undaunting task, but when I broke it up and changed it to a goal of losing 5 lbs, my whole mentality changed. Each loss of 5 lbs was a great victory for me! And then my next goal was to lose another five pounds, and eventually, those five pounds added up to a whopping 80 pounds!
Adding daily physical activity to my weight loss plan was a big boost as well. Especially because an early morning walk lowered my blood sugar levels in addition to burning calories. You don’t have to go crazy with hours and hours of high-intensity training. My goal was to improve my cardiovascular health and my overall health and wellness, and I was able to accomplish this by following a proper diet and 20 to 30 minutes of walking every day.
Embracing a Healthy Lifestyle for Lasting Weight Loss
Maintaining my weight loss has definitely been a key part of my overall health, wellness, and quality of life. Keeping the weight off helps prevent type 2 diabetes, strokes, heart disease, and even different types of cancer. It can also help improve your mood, especially since a 20-minute walk can reduce your stress levels. My energy levels have dramatically improved, and even my quality of sleep has improved. And physically, I can do so many more things as compared to when I was 80 lbs heavier.
So, for me, the key components of my program to maintain my weight loss are lifestyle changes, a good balanced diet, some type of physical activity like walking every day, getting enough sleep, trying to manage stress as best as possible, and having a support network.
If you need help or someone in your family or a coworker needs help in losing weight or maintaining your weight loss, I invite you to contact us and schedule a totally free consultation, and let’s see if we can develop a program to help you to meet all of your goals.