Weight Maintenance: The Underated Art of Staying Still
I can't count the number of times I have fielded the question "how do I keep my weight loss going?". I totally understand why people are asking me this, they are able to lose weight but feel like the journey is not over. Fair enough, when you're living with more weight than you feel is comfortable of course you'd want to let go of it. I get it, I really do.
This question get be dangerous, though. Firstly, because how to move past your Best Weight is often to make unsustainable changes to your lifestyle. That's because this questions follows a period of weight loss, which means they have been making the sustainable changes to their lifestyle already. So they have found a Best Weight lifestyle and now they want to step out of that in the name of a 'go big or go home' kind of weight loss. Not a good idea, since it is a predictor of weight regain. Secondly, because it takes away from the success they have already had and ignores the most important skill in the world of weight management: maintaining weight loss.
Whenever I am talking with patients or client about past weight loss efforts the biggest challenge is maintaining that lower weight. They will say 'this diet or that diet worked but once I stopped losing weight I lost motivation and the weight came back. Does that sound like a familiar story to you?
So allow yourself to let go of the constant push downwards. Be happy with whatever success you have achieved and aim to stay still. It is far better to maintain your 20 pounds weight loss for life then lose and regain the 50 pounds in a year's time.
When you have reached a stable weight, you may be tempted to keep pushing downwards. Stop. Start by asking yourself these questions (below) and if you truly believe you can happily change more, even if you don't lose weight more weight then go ahead- be happy.
Questions to ask when you feel stuck in your weight loss:
"What changes have I made to my lifestyle that I am happy about and feel good to be doing?"
"Are my lifestyle changes in line with my values and personal reasons for wanting to manage my weight?"
"What feels good about my current lifestyle and what doesn't?"
"I can I see myself happily doing more in the area of weight management, even if my weight stays the same?"
Remember that there is absolutely no 'right' or 'ideal' weight for you, just the best one you can maintain happily.