If I had a nickel for every time I heard “I got this, thanks for your help. I won’t put the weight back on because I worked too hard to get here…No thank you, I don’t need to keep coming for maintenance, I have learned so much….” and the dieter rides happily off into the sunset, only to return. Sometimes they come to see me, other times they go somewhere else because the “diet” didn’t work or they are embarrassed and they have regained all their weight and then some.
Sigh, it is not about the “diet” and whether or not it works. It is one thing to lose weight, but that is only a beginning. The hardest part of reducing weight and being healthy, is the required changes needed to be made in order to keep the weight off. If we don’t make the changes to our lifestyle, it really and truly does not matter what diet or methodology we use, the weight will return. I am willing to give a 100
% written guarantee of that fact. Haven’t we all heard the saying “If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got!”. If you lose the weight and do nothing to change your lifestyle regarding food choices, food planning and exercise, then your probable, almost certain future, is that you will regain every pound you lost and then some more for good measure.
This was really brought home to me this week. Study after study has shown that people who track their food intake have an 80% increase in successful weight loss and subsequent maintenance, than those that do not track their food. I hear it all the time, and I can hear you moaning right now….”but I don’t have time to track my food, I have a busy life and really, I know what I am eating“. Well I am here to tell you that changing your “busy” life to ensure that you have time for your health and for the 5 minutes of every day that it takes to track your food, is one of the parts of changing your lifestyle going forward from your active weight loss routine.
I had gotten away from tracking my food for the last few weeks, so I pulled out my smartphone and dusted off the “My Fitness Pal” app and started tracking my food and activity levels for the last few days. Imagine my surprise to find that I was eating approximately 200-300 calories more a day than I intended and was getting way too many grams of carbohydrate for my specifically input goals. What an eye opener. Without doing this, at some point I would have seen and felt the effects. So the next steps were obvious. Start tracking everything, and I mean everything, including any breath mints mindlessly tossed into my mouth. It is harder than I realized but within days I found myself getting into a routine. I even used the app to set up reminders….like the one I got today telling me that I didn’t input anything for lunch. Fixed that right away.
Check out this article with 10 tips to successfully take off and keep weight off
Other things that seem to slip the minute our “diets” are over are:
1. Drinking water. I know, we have all heard it….I don’t like water, I don’t want to drink 8 glasses of water a day! It is the water that our bodies need. In fact, studies have shown that people confuse thirst, with hunger, and will sometimes reach for calories they don’t need when all their bodies want from them is good old H2O. We also live a lifestyle where we claim we need our coffee and/or our energy drinks. Really, all we are doing is leading to more fatigue. For every cup of coffee or every energy drink or caffeine laden cola (although we shouldn’t touch cola period due to the sugars) we consume, we should be consuming the same amount of water. See the picture? Now don’t get me wrong, I love my cup of coffee in the morning, I just don’t have as much as I used to, and I really savor and enjoy the coffee I have now.
When changing our lifestyle we also need to remember the following:
1. Keep learning and don’t fall for the health food gimmicks that are meant to part you from your hard earned money. Examples of this are Agave Nector. This is worse than any of the other sugars out there but is marketed as “natural and healthy”. It is even worse than high fructose corn syrup as far as glycemic index is concerned. Another health food gimmick, coconut water and/or vitamin water. Just sugary water with additives. Steer clear and save yourself some money. In fact the best way to eat healthy is eat food that has not been prepared, packaged, created, modified or added to until you bring it home and make it yourself. It is easier than you think and takes the same amount of time as ordering pizza.
2. Stay away from drive thru food. It’s nice to eat out occasionally but this should not be a way of life for a busy family. Celebrate something at a good restaurant once in a while rather than eating burgers, pizza or chicken nuggets 3 to 4 times a week. I hear from so many people “my kids want it and so I was tempted to have it”. If it’s not good for you, remember, it’s not good for your kids and it’s not a treat if it’s harmful, fatty and not nutritious. I really like the saying I found recently that said “Do not reward yourself with food, you are not a dog“. How true is that!
3. Get rid of ALL of your fat clothes except maybe the first pair of pants so you can look at them and remember your accomplishments. As long as you have something to slip into, you will be able to ignore that tight, uncomfortable muffin top over your new “skinny” jeans
4. Exercise. Okay, so maybe you don’t have time for a full gym routine, but you can make a point of moving daily, and it takes so little time out of a day to do some light weights and reps while you are watching tv. So instead of snacking on junk food, tone your muscles while watching that favorite sit com you love. Even better, take a nice walk with a loved one and have some one on one chat time (I like to call it in person face time).
There are so many more things that can be done to keep weight off once it is shed. These suggestions and the article are just a start. Remember it is all about making time for what matters, and it matters more to be healthy and fit then to be doing things that won’t matter when you are older. I something recently that I will paraphrase here… People lose their health to make money, and spend their money to regain their health, they live as if they will never die, and die having never lived… I share this with you because I am 150 + lbs down and loving life. If I can do this, so can you.