For a significant portion of my life, I hopped from one weight loss program to another, always seeking the next big thing. Achieving my goal weight was one thing, but maintaining it proved to be a different challenge altogether. It took me many years to finally achieve a healthy weight and stay there. Mindset and looking beyond the numbers on the scale have become major talking points. Focusing on better health and longevity increases the odds of success, rather than solely fixating on a specific food plan. The journey towards maintaining a healthy weight begins long before reaching the goal. Here are some proactive approaches to weight loss and maintenance:
- Shift the focus away from the number on the scale. While numbers can be helpful, redirect your thinking towards overall health goals. Weight loss can alleviate many health issues associated with being overweight and may reduce the need for medication. Obsessing over a weight from years ago can lead to frustration and unhappiness, as it is only one aspect of overall health. Prioritize your well-being instead of solely fixating on weight. Many people testify that as the weight came off, they experienced less chronic pain, improved sleep, and increased energy. These types of improvements serve as powerful reasons to keep going.
- Learn from others who have succeeded. I used to observe a group of women at my meetings who had all reached their goal weight. Each week, I sat with them, wanting what they had accomplished. I asked them about their breakfast choices, particularly if it was an area I struggled with. I learned about new snacks and introduced them into my diet, which helped me feel less deprived. Community support is invaluable. When members share food discoveries and recipes, it gives us a reason to try new things.
- Mindset is a crucial factor in weight loss success. If you believe it won’t work, it likely won’t. If you think stress is a valid reason to give up, you’ll give up. Challenges will inevitably arise, but having a plan to tackle unexpected stressors will help you overcome them.
- Confidence is another essential component. While improved health and appearance are motivating, feeling more self-assured and comfortable in our new lifestyle makes the journey much smoother. As we become smaller, we gain more confidence in our physical abilities, and increased activity is always beneficial.
- Surround yourself with positive individuals who support your success. It took my husband years to understand that I don’t want cake. Anyone who tells you that one bite won’t hurt doesn’t have your best interests in mind. Only you know if you can handle that one bite, and ultimately, the choice is yours.
- Let go of old habits and embrace change. There is no magic pill. The plan you follow must be sustainable. Recognize your pitfalls and be prepared to face them head-on.
Set your priorities and shift your mindset to prioritize eating to live, rather than living to eat. Ensure your goals are realistic and achievable. Be proud of every small success, no matter how insignificant it may seem. Perhaps one week you walked a bit further, your pants weren’t as tight, or your doctor reduced your medication. Most successes are built upon a series of small victories, and over time, they will lead to the ultimate success of a lifestyle change and maintaining your weight. You will feel better both mentally and physically. I have successfully maintained my weight within a few pounds since 2006, something I once thought was impossible. It was only when I made a conscious effort to break free from my old habits that real change occurred.