You can learn how to lose weight easily. Really.
Your local library has thousands of books to help you drop pounds. Many television programs and news segments advertise the latest craze in diet and fitness. Even your friends and family are there to offer unsolicited “healthy eating” advice.
But how many times have you received weight loss advice from someone who’s maintained a substantial weight loss long-term (for more than a few years)?
You’re in for a treat today. I’ve interviewed some of the top women of sustained weight loss to get advice to share with you on how to maintain a weight loss long-term (I’ve included myself in this, of course). Here we go.
Roni Noone from www.ronisweigh.com
Weight loss and weight maintenance come down to one simple concept for me: What You Can When You Can. So many people give up or go backward instead of riding the highs and lows of change, regardless what the goal is but especially with weight loss. I believe so strongly in this concept I wrote a book about it called What You Can When You Can: Healthy Living on YOUR Terms. The secret is, there is no secret just lots of little steps that inch you closer to your goals and keep you there. [originally published at Rebounder Zone]
You can click HERE to read her book What You Can When You Can: Healthy Living on Your Terms
Heather Robertson from www.halfsizeme.com
My tips for somebody still in their weight loss journey would be only to do things that you are willing to do for the rest of your life. If you are willing to cut corners during your weight loss journey (or do extreme things to lose weight), that will not be sustainable for maintenance. Everything you do should be geared to the question, “How will I maintain this weight loss?” Losing weight is wonderful, but maintaining your weight loss is the key to long-term success. I encourage you to focus on maintenance rather than trying just to lose as much weight as possible week in and week out.
Do not compare yourself to others. It is very true that comparison is the thief of joy. All too often, I see people comparing themselves to others in regards to money, status, fame, fortune, thinness, beauty, etc. They will never achieve all of those external things. They have to start to look at themselves and appreciate what they have. Instead of comparing yourself to others, focus on your own journey. Look at all of the ways you’re improving and you’re getting healthier for you. Your body, your weight, your goals are unique to you. No matter what anyone else does with their journey, it has absolutely nothing to do with you. So, the sooner you can put your nose down and focus on yourself (and all of the improvements you’re making), the better you’re going to feel. I see all too often people getting distracted by what their friends are doing (or what new diet came out on the market that they’re having success with).
Angela Gillis from www.webeatfat.com and The Biggest Loser fame1. Try to remain as active as possible. It’s easy to get complacent and feel like you don’t need to keep those habits you learned during your journey but it’s important to keep on track. 2. Live your life and don’t miss out on the fun stuff because you’re afraid of gaining. Maintenance mode is about moderation and deprivation. It’s OK to live a little. 3. I had to learn to trust myself and what I found out along the way. I lost the weight, and I had to trust that I wouldn’t let myself gain it back.
Eve Parker from www.InspirationalEve.com
I didn't stop seeing myself as fat until I learned to let go of the belief I was fat. Just like I wasn't able to start to learn to love myself until I let go of the old image of who I should be. I remember the first time I felt I saw myself. Like REALLY saw myself. I weighed right around 300 pounds and was in my college aerobics class. I had already released almost 40 pounds at that point and was starting to feel this time truly could be different. I was the heaviest and sweatiest girl in that gym. But I was making shit happen. There was one day in particular that changed everything. I was huffing and puffing, trying to keep up like an elephant running with a pack of wolves. In my college's gym, I was surrounded by mirrors and girls who were about 100 pounds below me. And on this particular day, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I began to watch myself. Watch myself shake, rattle and roll. I saw my curves popping out from behind the shame as I jumped from side to side. I saw my radiance drip off my every pore. I felt a little woman was emerging from my large self. And I didn't hate her. I couldn't. She had been through a lot. A beautiful woman lived underneath all this. There was hope. And at that moment, I began a journey. A journey and an exploration of self-love.
To love yourself is the act of appreciating and accepting exactly who you are exactly where you are. "But how????" I can hear the skeptics (and my former self) yell out of the crowd. One word: Forgiveness. Forgiving the past of its mistakes. Forgiving yourself for going left when you knew you should have gone right. Forgiving yourself of what has happened to you and what you have chosen to allow. You see, as a 340-pound woman who would do anything in her power to stifle the pain that lived within me, I knew how diets and conventional programs didn't work. My life didn't change until I changed. Changed the negative self-talk into a pep-talk. Dropped the 't' off can’t and left it with can. I loved myself enough to make the change. Even when it got hard. And when it got hard, I was gentle with myself. I would remind myself of the woman who shaked, rattled and rolled in the mirror of that gym that day. 'This is your opportunity to take control of your life. To take back what was taken from you. And you know what? You are worth it. And you've earned that quality of life.
You can join Eve (and Naomi Teeter's) FREE 5-day online event 5 Things I Wish I Knew When I Weighed 300 Pounds by CLICKING HERE.
Kelly Coffey from www.strongcoffey.com
If we’re singularly focused on counting calories or logging minutes on the treadmill, healthy weight loss is unlikely and almost definitely not sustainable. We need to widen our focus to include the whole self. If we’re nodding off at our desks in the afternoon, we need to shut down the noise and get to bed earlier. If we’re mainlining cortisol (stress hormones) all day, we need to mercilessly amputate some of the shit that stresses us out, or buckle down and practice coping with stressors in ways that do us more good than harm. If we’re flying through life mindlessly, we need to remember that the present moment is a thing, and work on visiting it as often as possible. Healthy weight loss and weight loss maintenance are 100 percent possible -- they are a natural product of taking consistent care of the whole damn animal, from bottom to top, inside and out.
Brenda Johnston from www.live-to-inspire.ca
Our bodies are SMART. They send us messages all the time. The challenge is: we tend not to pay attention to things like cravings or even physical symptoms like skin problems. We just assume they are normal. The awesome thing is, these cravings/symptoms actually have a positive intention! It's your body or mind telling you that there is something else going on, and the craving (or symptom) is just the best solution at that time that your body can come up with. The more AWARENESS and PRESENCE you bring to each meal, the less you’ll need to eat. The less AWARENESS and PRESENCE you bring to each meal, the more you’ll need to eat. Next time you have a craving, ask yourself if there is something else you need to digest first -- something emotional you have not dealt with or something you have been avoiding. I've learned that success in the short and long-term happens best when you start to really listen to the messages your body is sending you.
Also, your RELATIONSHIP with food and your body impacts your overall health even more powerfully than the food you eat. Typically, any time women (in particular) desire something, we tend to feel this deep shame and guilt. Guilt for doing something "bad" and then shame for being bad. "OMG I just ate a brownie I'm such a pig! Now I have to go exercise even more to make up for being so bad." It's why as women, we FEAR our appetite -- which is crazy! So the very thing that gives us life (our appetite/food/money etc.), we let control us emotionally.
I've learned that to heal your relationship with food and lose weight sustainably, you must embrace YOU, you have to love you, enjoy you, and not be afraid to give yourself what you want (which might actually be a brownie once in awhile)! Never be afraid to be the awesome person that you are meant to be!
Naomi Teeter from www.theinspiredtransformation.com
There’s one thing I’ve noticed to be true of most women who come to work with me: the all-or-nothing, perfectionist mindset. This is a mindset I had during my 150-pound weight loss journey, too. I was able to lose all that weight with this fearful, destructive way of thinking (believe it or not). But keeping the weight off was a daily struggle for a few years (I even suffered from binge eating for awhile after losing weight). I worked out every day and ate healthfully. Having healthy routines isn’t the Holy Grail to sustained weight loss, despite popular belief. Rigid thinking and stress trump healthy routines every time. Preparing your meals a week in advance and hiring a personal trainer to meet with you doesn’t seem to work out so well when something stresses you out, and you don’t know how to handle your emotions or shift your thought process. So, default brain kicks in and says, “Screw it! I need a cookie… or twelve.” So much for all of those uneaten healthy meals prepped in your fridge and the personal trainer who’s hanging out for your no-showing ass.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t focus on the physical actions of weight loss, but leaving out the mental and emotional work (this is referred to as emotional intelligence) is the biggest mistake you’ll make. This type of work includes learning to see your strengths and weaknesses, seeing opportunities in every situation that arises unexpectedly, stop over-identifying with your actions (labeling yourself), and asking for help more frequently. So many of us suffer from Wonder Woman Syndrome -- thinking we can do everything ourselves (and perfectly on top of that). But every superhero has a sidekick! Let your sidekick feel good about picking up some of the slack at home or work. And if you have one of those days where nothing seems to be going right, look for the opportunity. Ask yourself, “How can this be an adventure?” Being a problem-solver of your emotions and experiences is a gift that’s cultivated with regular practice. Those are a few simple ways to get started with shifting your mindset for long-term success.
You can click HERE to join Wellness Wisdom Week FREE training with Naomi.
It's hard to find positive examples of long-term weight loss maintainers for role models.
But these ladies took their time to respond thoughtfully with their solid advice for you on your weight loss journey. Their approachability is something we should all strive for (not just their weight loss success). I’m honored to be classified as a weight loss maintainer with each of them.
This article originally appeared on Inspire Transformation