While many people can lose a substantial amount of weight, very few keep the weight off for more than a year.
In fact, less than 1% of the formerly obese will maintain their weight loss for more than a year, according to a UK study. Specifically, this broke down to just 1 man out of 210 and 1 woman out of 124.
Does this mean that once overweight we are all doomed to stay overweight?
Participants in the study were told to eat less and move more, a method that failed to deliver long-term results. Clearly this sound bite advice wasn’t enough.
Now I could launch into a debate over whether or not this study practised sound research and whether or not the participants really did eat less and exercise more, but instead I’d rather share with you what I know to be true about long-term weight management.
Make no mistake about it, long-term fat loss results are very possible and are enjoyed by my clients, in stark contrast to the UK study results!
Since there’s more to it than simply eating less and moving more, how do you go about losing fat and then keeping it off for the long haul? Here are 5 Steps to Lose it For Good…
Step #1 to Lose it For Good - The Right Mindset
There are only two mindsets to choose from when you approach your quest for weight loss:
1. This is a temporary change in my behaviour.
2. This is a new way of life.
There’s no middle ground, you either see it as temporary change or you see it as permanent change. It’s pretty obvious which mindset produces permanent results.
Step #2 to Lose it For Good - New Habits
Understanding how to put new habits in place is the second step to losing the weight and keeping it lost.
As we just saw in step one, looking at your weight loss behaviour as a new lifestyle is the only way to ensure permanent results and this means adopting healthy new habits.
Habits are best taken on in gradual steps. This has been proven to be the most effective way to make the new habits stick. Approach building new habits with baby steps instead of strides.
If one of your current, fattening, habits is that you consume sugary soft drinks then first switch to drinking a diet version. Once the habit of drinking diet drinks has completely replaced your sugary drink habit then you can start replacing some of the diet drinks with water. You didn’t jump straight from drinking flavourful, fizzy sugary drinks to just drinking water, that’s too extreme and will make success unlikely.
Step #3 to Lose it For Good - Your Environment
In order to permanently change your body, you must permanently change your environment. It makes sense that you won’t maintain a lean body in the same environment where you gained the weight.
The term “environment” sounds vague, so let’s break it down. Your environment is the world that you create around yourself. These are the foods that you see, smell and have easy access to. This is the ease or difficulty you have in consistently accessing exercise. This is the lifestyle of the people closest to you that casts an influence on your own lifestyle whether you realise it or not.
I’ll bet you could draw out the ideal environment for permanent weight loss. You know the path. Now put in the effort to walk it.
Step #4 to Lose it For Good - Good Nutrition
The problem with the advice of eat less and move more is that it doesn’t make a distinction between calories. When total calorie count is your only goal, you’ll end up consuming lower quality calories than you should, which leads to mindless eating and nutritional deficiencies.
Educate yourself on healthy calories versus nutritionally void calories. A great rule of thumb is that calories that are created in nature are always superior to calories created in a factory. Stick with real food over anything from a packet.
Step #5 to Lose it For Good - Your Support System
If you just did the first 4 steps, then you’d be well on your way to successfully transforming your body from fat to fit and keeping it that way for the long-term. However, in order to fully ensure that you make the switch from where you are to where you want to be it’s important to put a support system in place.
Nothing is more powerful than accountability. Instinctively you don’t want to let people down, so you’ll work harder and more consistently than you would when working on your own.
It’s hard to slip up or lose motivation when you know you have to check in with me each day to confirm you have completed that day’s habit. This is the fifth and most important step that you can take. My entire mission is providing you with the action steps that get you into the best shape of your life and provide you with the support that you need to make it happen.