Like many of you, I have struggled with my weight. In my late teens I stopped playing team sport, starting drinking and partying and put on about 25kg. It was something that simply crept up on me over time and I didn’t notice the lack of exercise or poor nutritional choices I was making. It wasn’t until I saw a photo of myself, the one at the bottom of this post in fact, that I realised I had gained quite a lot of weight. I have since managed to lose the weight, but maintaining the weight loss is something I have to work on everyday.
So if you have managed to lose weight and are worried about putting it back on again, here are a few tips to keeping off….
1. Keep yourself accountable
I allow myself 2 pieces of dark chocolate at night with a cup of tea, because I enjoy it. If I have 2 pieces a day, a block of chocolate should last me about 2 weeks. However, recently I noticed I was buying a block a week, clearly eating more than my allotted 2 pieces a day. Not the worst thing in the world, but that’s exactly how the spiral starts, bad habits start creeping into your routine and you don’t tend to notice until it becomes a real problem. I knew I had to change my behaviour immediately, before this became a habit. So I got rid of all chocolate in my house and kept track of my eating for 2 weeks, keeping myself accountable for all of my nutritional choices. I have not re-introduced the chocolate yet, but I will eventually and look to maintain the 2 pieces at night.
It is important to be self-aware of your diet choices and not make excuses for poor nutrition choices. Understand that only you can control what you eat.
2. Find a routine that woks for your lifestyle
We have all heard of the fad diets and exercise routines that promise drastic weight lose with minimal effort. Maybe you have even lost weight by only drinking shakes or juices or cutting out carbohydrates. However, you need to ask yourself whether what you are doing is a long term, healthy lifestyle that you can maintain. Remember that life is full of stresses and unexpected twists and your diet needs to be able to withstand these challenges, even in difficult situations. For example, if you go on holiday, will you maintain your 3 shakes a day with no food? Or will you simply indulge, fall of the bandwagon and go back to your poor habits.
If you are currently partaking in a fad diet that is only short term, as you can not possibly maintain the lifestyle, make sure you have a sensible plan for coming off the diet. Think about how can create new, healthy habits into your lifestyle.
3. Make your exercise enjoyable
Working in a gym, I know people start their exercise dreams with the best intentions, signing up with the belief they will attend the gym 4 days a week and maintain a healthy lifestyle. But somewhere along the way they get bored with their routine and find the allure of going home and sitting on the couch, instead of sweating it out in the gym, far to strong. So now that fortnightly payment is simply being donated to the gym as you cant be bothered to attend and will continue to be for the next 10 months until you can finally cancel your membership free of charge. Don’t let this be you! Try the different things your gym has to offer… Maybe you love group fitness, perhaps PT is more for you or if your like me, its the call of the weight room that keeps my coming back for more. Maybe you hate the gym and want to exercise at home or outside. Whatever it is, do what you enjoy in the gym, whatever gives you a sense of accomplishment and joy, because that’s what is going to keep you coming back.
4. Surround yourself with positive, like-minded people
This doesn’t mean you have to be around gym obsessed, nutritionists, who count their macros, but simply being around people who add positivity to your journey. Maybe they support you when you are struggling, offer advice or just a sympathetic ear. Having people in your life who you can turn to during your weak moments will be invaluable and give you strength.