Weight Loss and Weight Maintenance

How many people love losing weight? It is exciting, and people notice you are looking better, and you may feel energetic and exhilarated by the improvement in your overall wellbeing. Unfortunately, weight loss happens over a finite period, after which you need to work to maintain that weight loss for as long as you can. Weight maintenance is not fun; it is boring, and drudgery, and often doing the same things you did to lose weight, but now need to do just to maintain the weight loss. Here are some ideas to help you maintain that weight loss:

1) Work to establish good habits during your period of weight loss, while you are still enjoying the results of your new behaviours. If you can establish them as part of your life, the way you brush your teeth or shower, while you are still losing weight, it will be easier to maintain them for the long term after the fun part is over.

2) Keep it fresh: every week, change what you are doing, make a new challenge, or try a new recipe. By doing this, you will avoid the boredom that causes people to slide back into old habits.

3) Accept that you will backslide from time to time; behaviour change is very difficult. Don’t dwell on your slips; figure out what happened and work on avoiding the same slip going forward.

January is almost over; vow to work on new habits for a new year, focusing on habits which you can sustain and which will promote good health as you lose weight.

Do it Don’t Wish it

I see clients every week who desperately want to lose weight and get healthier, but who are faced with many barriers to meeting their goals. One problem that I see frequently is that they are setting goals which they have no power to reach, what I call “wish-list goals” rather than action goals. One example of a wish-list goal would be “I am going to lose ten pounds by the end of this month.” Besides the fact that a ten-pound a month weight loss is not either realistic or healthy, this goal ignores the fact that we cannot make ourselves reach a certain weight by wishing for it.

Rather than a wish-list goal, I encourage focusing on an action goal; for example, I am going to eat breakfast at least 4 out of 7 days this week OR I am going to stop eating chips for the next two weeks except for allowing myself one small bag on either Saturday or Sunday. These are goals you can have control over and achieve by focusing on your own actions rather than what the scale is doing.

As you proceed through 2017, make sure that you are setting action goals not wish-list goals; you will feel more empowered and develop confidence by achieving small successes which may lead to your reaching those wish-list goals without even having to focus on them.