This week I was reminded that I reached my weight loss goal of 145 lbs (Facebook never forgets). It was the smallest I have ever weighed in my adolescent and adult life. Being as big as I was for so long, you get comfortable with the idea that you’ll be overweight forever. But having my kids really changed that mindset for me!
While losing the weight was hard, I discovered that maintaining the weight loss wasn’t going to be any easier. From my weight loss feature in PEOPLE Magazine (still can’t believe it!) to dealing with the loss of my good friend, I experienced a lot of ups and downs after hitting my goal weight. In this post, I’ll share 3 things I learned in my first year of being in “maintenance mode”. Let me tell y’all, it was no walk in the park!
1. MAINTAINING MY NEW WEIGHT WAS NOT EASY. When I started my journey, I was only focused on getting to my goal weight, because I just knew I wouldn’t have to work as hard to keep the weight off. I told myself all the time, “If I can just make it through this, I will be good!” Boy was I WRONG. I have learned that it is much more important to live and lead a healthier life than to see a certain number on the scale, because that number can always go UP again if you fall back into your old habits. And that is why so many people who tend to lose a lot of weight have trouble keeping it off. When I hit my goal weight, I made it a point NOT to go backwards (one reason why I became a Certified Personal Trainer).
I found creating new goals every couple of months to be helpful in sticking to my new lifestyle. This way I was always focused on reaching a new fitness or performance goal, which in turn helped to maintain my weight loss. That is why it’s so important that you work on your weight constantly every day, even AFTER hitting your goal weight, so that you don’t slip back to your old ways. Remember, what made you overweight the first time can make you overweight again.
2. YOUR GOALS & REGIMEN WILL CHANGE. Once I reached 145lbs, I was so happy! I went from a size 20 to size 6/8! While I was happy to be in the single digits for once, I quickly realized I lost the figure I had grown so accustomed to having and rocking. I actually missed some of my thickness and I just felt like I looked TOO THIN at 145lbs. A lot of it was due to the fact that I was not eating many carbs + I was doing MOSTLY cardio at the time -- high intensity interval training (HIIT) and fasted cardio to be exact.
So, I made a goal to gain roughly 10lbs of healthy muscle weight, while shaping and toning my body. This required changing up the routine I was used to doing along with changing my eating habits. Honestly, I was scared to do this at first because I did not want to gain the wrong kind of weight and destroy all the work I had put in so far. I eventually got over this because I knew I did not want to live the rest of my life in fear of gaining weight. Not only do I love the shape & size I am now, but my current regimen is much more manageable and easier to maintain due to it being less restrictive. Additionally, I feel confident that I can maintain when a change occurs in my routine, which brings me to my last point…
3. YOU WILL HAVE SETBACKS. Unfortunately, life happens, and setbacks are sometimes inevitable on your weight loss & maintenance journey. I really had to learn not to beat myself up if I backslid a little or fell off track because as I mentioned earlier, I faced quite a few obstacles within this year that were really tough to overcome which caused me to skip workouts or cave into my cravings.
However, perception is everything and I decided to look at the hurdles as opportunities to learn and grow. Now granted, I keep gaining and losing the same 5-8lbs…but I refuse to throw in the towel and give up! I simply learned through my journey to move on and follow through on being consistent in making better choices. Successful weight management requires preparation and a constant reset of your discipline.
Weight loss can be very challenging but maintaining it can be even harder! In order to be successful for the long-haul, you have to establish a routine that works for you up front. For example, if you’re someone like me who loves bread, don’t eliminate it out your diet completely. Instead, cut back on your intake so that you can continue to enjoy it in moderation. Maintaining your weight loss boils down to making changes you can keep up for life, which means the following: not being too restrictive, staying consistent, and making more healthy choices over unhealthy ones. Following the process in a realistic and sustainable way is the key to losing and keeping the weight off for GOOD!