The real test of a slimmer's willpower starts when the exercise program and recommended nutrition for a diet are over and everyday life begins. Losing a few pounds is relatively easy with most weight loss regimes, but maintaining weight loss and fitness levels not so much. Here are a few suggestions that can help you achieve both:
1. Set Achievable New Goals and Keep an Open Mind
Ban words like "can't do" from your vocabulary and replace them with a "can do" approach. Just because you haven't done open water distance swimming or half marathons before doesn't mean you can't start now. Keep an open mind and be ready to try out new types of exercise. Setting realistic personal weight loss, body fat and fitness goals will bring the long-term results you want. Take one achievable step after the other. Never say never!
2. Find Activities You Love Doing
Don't force yourself to the gym, if you're enjoying dancing lessons, cross-country running in the woods or roller-skating more. If your first love has always been hiking, join a local hiking group and have fun doing regular exercise with great socializing thrown in. Try out new fitness programs once in a while, perhaps creating a combination of the old and new: cross-country running and hiking or ball room dancing and aerobic exercise. Setting new landmark goals for each every so often will spurn you on to new heights even if you have reached your target weight.
3. When Life Gets in the Way of Weight Loss, Simply Stick to Basics
Sometimes life events get in the way of best intentions. We cannot foresee bereavement, redundancy or accidents. At such times it is important to simply stick to the basics. Continue with your healthy, vegetable-based nutrition and stop eating when you're satisfied, but not full. Walk or do a little exercise every day that you enjoy doing. It will be enough to keep your fitness levels healthy and maintain your weight loss, too.
4. Recognize and Acknowledge Your Mental and Social Hurdles
Often it is our internal naughty sloth we must overcome, not external life challenges. A missed workout or an additional pizza later, the slimmer finds it even harder to stick to a healthy routine. Instead of giving in to friend's pester power, stick to your new found principles. Don't worry about friends ditching you because you decline an invitation to come out drinking - if they do, they're not worth having! People who truly care about you will want you to be healthy, inside and out. Before you'll know it, real friends will see your lean and sexy new body shape as something to aspire to and ask for advice, how to achieve the same for themselves.
5. Review Your Habits Regularly and Pay Attention to Bad Ones
You don't have to become an obsessive, but do check regularly that you're not falling back into bad habits, making excuses for the odd lapses, when you shouldn't. Surrounding yourself with people who have a positive attitude to life, eating and fitness will help you stay on track.
6. Spend Time with Health and Fitness Role Models
This doesn’t mean you have to be best friends with your personal trainer. It means being around people whose fitness and health habits you aspire to or are encouraged by. Learn from them and watch their habits. These people will also be very supportive and encouraging to you. They might even become a workout or running buddy.
7. Stay in Touch with People Who Went through Your Journey with You
If you joined an online community, were in a weight loss forum or went to a slimming class to lose weight, stay in touch with them when you have reached your goal weight. Don’t drop any of those support streams because you think you don’t need them anymore. They will continue to support and encourage you even when you’re on a weight maintenance journey now rather than a weight loss journey.
You worked hard to get the weight off so you owe it to yourself to work just as hard to keep it off.
What are your biggest temptations and pitfalls to a healthy weight?