A weight loss journey is very similar to a road trip. It’s not enough to figure out how to ‘get there,’ just as much thought has to be placed in the return trip.
And that second part is where staying power lies.
The most effective, lasting journeys of change, involve the very same principles and methods to keep the weight off that were put into place to lose the weight initially.
With that, we can say the same vehicle that brings you to your destination on the first leg of the trip, will be the vehicle that brings you home.
That’s how it should be, at least, if the changes earned ‘getting there’ have any chance of sticking around.
If we look at ways to lose fat, we typically don’t default to something slow, steady, and sustainable.
When we want to lose, and lose badly, we want it gone FAST, we don’t care or pay much mind to what we’ll do when we ‘get there’. And this is how so many weight loss journeys, or road trips, or doomed before they even pull out of the driveway.
If we lose aggressively, study after study shows the weight loss that takes place has lower chance of staying lost. Our bodies down regulate, our daily movement drops, we live in a depleted hungry state, we start to tire mentally very quickly, and if by some slim chance we do make it to where we want to get, we have literally primed our bodies and our minds to regain *extremely* quickly if we don’t stay doing all the same things, which are going to be near impossible. Even if it were possible to keep ‘grinding’ and live in that depleted state, we cannot ask our bodies to forever live in a caloric deficit. We open ourselves up to all sorts of nasty things like an immune system running less than it’s best, higher chance of injury, higher chance of overtraining, much longer recovery periods from our exercise of choice, and more than anything, a reduced quality of day to day constantly feeling that dieting edge.
If instead we lose in a steady sustainable way, where we still enjoy life as we go, just in a better way that doesn’t sacrifice progress, not only can we stick with it much much longer, but when we DO ‘get there’, we don’t feel anywhere close to how we’d felt doing it much more aggressively. We can slowly bring our food levels back up and get back to living at maintenance levels. We can still get out and rack up some respectable daily step counts. We can recover quicker, fight off sickness easier NOT in a drastic deficit, we can simply do ‘more’ because our bodies aren’t as depleted, and our minds aren’t just totally burned out.
Advice for anyone looking to lose weight and keep it off:
-Know going in that the best approach with the highest chances of keeping the changes, is going to mean playing things in more of a ‘long game’ manner.
-Taking 20-30% ‘longer’ to get there, but feeling exponentially better than the methods that’d you there fastest, is ALWAYS worth it.
-Don’t just find ways to reduce calories in. Look at things to also move your body more. Hint: Increasing daily steps over time is the simplest way to NOT make your weight loss efforts all about food levels.
-Whatever you do to take the weight off, make sure you’re comfortable using the same methods and principles ongoing. The levels and amounts can and will change, as your goals change, food comes up after it initially goes down etc, but the drivers of progress should be the same.
-If you find yourself counting down so you can finally be DONE with your ‘diet’, you have selected a fat loss strategy that was unfit for the life you want to live.
-Slow is smooth, smooth is fast. Your destination isn’t a product being delivered via Amazon Prime. It takes time. And effort. And consistency.
-Perfection isn’t the goal. Better and better choices, in line with treating your body well and aimed to moving the needle closer to where you want to be, is the goal. Bad days happen. Dumpster fire days happen. Tomorrow is always a blank slate to start anew.
-You don’t have to win all of the days. But you do have to win MOST of the days. And your ‘worst’ days, have to start looking gradually better.
-If you hate exercise, but know you need to move your body more, look for something FUN, that you enjoy, that also just so happens to mean moving your body. Pickleball, swimming, racquetball, a kickball league, rollerblading, literally anything you will look forward to and want to stay doing. Don’t pick an exercise routine based on what it promises, pick an exercise routine that makes you happy.
-The changes you earn, the results you earn, the compliments you earn from those around you, all feel infinitely better when they were earned with commitment, time, effort, and a LOT of small wins compounding to a sum of HUGE differences inside and on the exterior of your body.
-Get comfortable with boring. The boring days, weeks, walks, runs, workouts, all of those things that feel lackluster and not noteworthy, are where the magic is happening, usually without you feeling it or seeing it. Boring is beautiful.
-Cause and effect is IT. You earn the gain, you earn the loss. Nothing and no one is doing it to you or for you. Own it.
-The sooner you believe you can, you will.