Make Weight Loss Last Forever – Why ALL Diets Are Doomed to Failure
My very good friend Aaron used to weigh almost 300lbs when we were teenagers. One day he decided that he would no longer be fat. He has lost and kept off nearly 80lbs of fat for the past 6 years.
People often ask him “how did you do it Aaron?”
His response is simple, “Diet and exercise.”
Everyone who hears that is somehow disappointed, as if they were expecting something else. As if they were hoping for anything easier than actually changing the way that they live their life.
Just so that there are no misunderstandings, all there is to losing body-fat, or gaining muscle is diet and exercise. The rest is just details. I deal in the details. I tell people how to get the most bang for their diet and exercise buck. Yes, better information can make a HUGE difference in your results, BUT there is NOTHING that can help you if you are not willing to change the way that you live – your “lifestyle” as much as it is a cliché. Being a cliché does not make it any less true, nor does it mean that you are actually applying this to your life.
Every year, millions of Americans lose millions of pounds of body-fat, collectively. The bad news is that, every year, at least 98% of them regain ALL of it, and possibly then some. It seems that most people actually struggle more with keeping it off over the long haul, then with getting it off in the first place (not that taking it off is easy despite what you may have heard on late night TV:-)).
KEEPING THE FAT OFF FOR LIFE
#1. The Dieter’s Fatal Flaw
For some reason, even if someone finds an effective plan, they think that after they hit their goal weight/size, they can just go back to “normal.” They think that if you take the fat off once, it will stay off for the rest of their life. They don’t believe this intellectually, but emotionally this is exactly what they think and precisely what they act on. Again, I know that no one would be silly enough to say this out loud to another person, or to even think it, BUT almost everyone acts on this unconscious belief.
Your “normal” poor eating and lack of regular/smart exercise is what got you into this mess in the first place. Nothing magic has happened while eating better and exercising that will “fat-proof” your body for life. If you go back to your old ways, then you will have to go back to your old XXL shirts.
#2. Reality check – find out how you are really doing every week
Obviously, neither you, nor I hit the genetic jack-pot. Maybe you could eat what you wanted as a teenager (I’m jealous, by the way), but, clearly, that is no longer the case. Our bodies will not keep us lean all by themselves. We must also involve our minds, but this is actually quite simple:
A.) Figure out where you would like to maintain: is that a certain clothing size, a certain weight, or a certain belly or hip measurement? I would recommend the belly and/or hip measurement, as the scale can be deceiving, and different manufacturers size their stuff differently.
B.) Check-in every week: Make it the same day, at the same time, on the same scale/tape measure as much as possible. That is, if you workout every Monday night at about 7pm, just be sure to measure right before you workout to keep things consistent.
C.) Do NOT let yourself gain more than ½ to 1inch or 5lbs over where you want to maintain. Do NOT EVER let it be OK. Gravity is automatic, you must exert your will to get what you want out of life. Tighten up your diet, and smarten up or possibly extend your exercise routine to get back to where you want to maintain.
Remember, in fat-loss and muscle gain, you get exactly what you actions earn, not necessarily what you want.
#3. Learn how to enjoy your new lifestyle
High intensity exercise and activity can be a LOT of fun. It is a VERY good stress reliever. It gives you an endorphin “high.” It can be an enjoyable way to spend time with friends and family. Consistency gives you an incredible feeling of pride, self-confidence and self-mastery (self-discipline = deep personal growth). It makes you look great. It creates more time in your life because:
A.) It will improve energy levels – having more productive hours in the day = more time.
B.) It sharpens your mind – you learn faster and can put more into every hour of work, so you get more out of each hour.
C.) It improves your immunity – if you get sick less, then you have more time for productivity and fun.
D.) Regular exercise requires that you manage your time better – if you have to start planning your weeks in advance, you will find that you can get much more done in the same amount of time.
Fruits, veggies, low-fat dairy products, nuts and seeds, lean meats, and a limited amount of starchy carbs can ALL be really, really, really delicious if you prepare them right. Eating right can actually be more enjoyable than “regular” eating because “regular” food only provides pleasure to your tongue. But healthy eating can be yummy, and can make you feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally (plus you won’t be sleepy after you eat).
And, yes, of course, there is always some room for regular dessert and other not-so-healthy foods. Just don’t kid yourself about how much and/or how frequently you can actually consume them.