How To Lose Weight and Keep it Off
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Written By: Taylor Rao
Here’s the thing with New Year’s Resolutions and crash diets: they typically have an expiration date. Whether it’s a 30-day challenge or the goal to spend the winter working on your summer bikini body, you’ve got an end date in mind from the very beginning. And as great as the before-and-after shots might be, wouldn’t it be great for the “after” to live on?
The last thing you want to happen after working so hard for so long is to slip up --and we’re not talking about a cheat day here and there. According to WebMD, nearly 80 percent of people who experience significant weight loss regain what they’ve lost, and sometimes even more.
So, what’s the trick? How do you lose weight and keep it off? Start with these tips to get you on the path to long term weight loss success.
Find a plan that you can afford
When you’re desperate to find a way to lose weight, it can be easy to fall into the fad trends that have a huge social media following and advertise on your Facebook feed left and right. The thing with these highly popular programs is that there can be an equally high cost associated. So, you want to make sure you can sustain the monthly food plans or gym memberships in the long-term, not for just the six to eight weeks you want to commit to up front.
There is a catch when it comes to the financial element of working out, though. If you find a program you absolutely love and it’s more than you were planning to spend, that’s OK. All this means is you see the value in the program, and the thought of putting that much money towards it is only going to motivate you more to get your you-know-what to class. The least expensive gym memberships like Planet Fitness benefit off the low financial commitment of $8-10 a month. AKA, most people will keep the membership going long after they take a gym hiatus.
Keep setting goals
Athletes who win a championship don’t rest on their laurels, do they? Of course they celebrate their latest achievement, but they’re always striving for more. Once you hit your first big weight loss target, acknowledge what you’ve accomplished, and use that as a way to propel you by setting new goals once you’ve checked the first one off your list.
Your next goal could be as simple as, “I want to maintain my weight,” which is hard to do unless you keep the good habits going and don’t let yourself slip up. Know yourself and determine whether a broad goal like that will work for you. Or, you could set a new milestone, a new timeframe, and continue that pattern to get the continuous push you need while still having a finish line in mind. And once you cross it, it’s on to the next one.
Grab a workout buddy or expert motivator
If you’ve been on any kind of fitness journey before, you know it’s not one worth going alone. You’re going to want someone in your corner who can push you past your limits and remind you of your why. Why are you working out? Why are you on this journey in the first place?
This could be a special person in your life like a significant other or BFF, or it could be someone you don’t even know that well (at first). Gyms and weight loss programs have a social component after all, so find a buddy in your spin class or a trainer that gives you that extra boost and come up with a way to ensure they’re holding you accountable, whether it’s a daily inspirational text or having them by your side while you get your sweat on. It’ll be a lot harder to hit the snooze button when you know there’s someone cheering you on to strive for your best every day.
Create healthy eating habits (permanent ones)
According to the many internet resources out there, it can take anywhere from 21 days to 66 days to form a habit. While something like the Whole30 diet is definitely all the rage right now, some elements of this diet simply aren’t sustainable in the long term. (Hint: there is no alcohol allowed.)
So, if you’re going to try something like Whole30 and know you’ll want to hang it up after you’ve survived it, during the diet, take note of the positive habits you are forming that are sustainable long-term. Then, create a plan to weave them into your lifestyle post-diet --whether that’s the decision to permanently cut back on added sugars, or committing to drinking more water and meal-prepping at the beginning of the week.
Don’t underestimate the power of positivity
This might sound cheesy, but it’s true. If your weight loss journey was a struggle for you --emotionally, physically or mentally --think about how far you’ve come and what it took for you to get where you are today. As tough as it might be to relive those memories, don’t underestimate the power of positivity and what it feels like to truly feel the best you’ve ever felt.
Do you feel better now than you did then? Are you more confident, happier and healthier? Without a doubt. Your mindset has so much to do with living a healthy, balanced lifestyle --so hold those positive vibes close, especially when you’ve had a few too many cheat days and feel like giving up.