Hey Angels and Alphas,
We all know weight loss isn’t easy. Dropping pounds, whether it’s a few pounds or a lot, is one of the most common fitness and health goals ever.
According to a survey done by the CDC over the course of a few years, nearly 50 percent of all Americans reported trying to lose weight during the past 12 months.
The desire to achieve weight loss will result in countless methods and strategies. Some of them are grounded in established science, and some of them are quick fixes promoted by questionable fitness experts or early-morning infomercials.
That being said, recent studies published in the journal Obesity have tried to find the most effective psychological and behavioral strategies shared by people who are able to not only lose weight but keep it off.
So how did they do it? How do people successfully keep weight off once they lose it?
The study linked to above analyzed individuals who maintained 20+ pounds of weight loss over the course of three years. They found several factors that differentiated them from the people who didn’t manage to keep the weight off.
In addition to just eating healthy, those factors included self-monitoring, the development of strong habits, and some psychological coping strategies. These shared traits have not only resulted in a longer duration of weight-loss success but also a lower perceived effort to keep the weight off.
Let’s face it – long-term weight maintenance is a challenge to say the least. That’s why it’s the people who had their life a little more aligned that could manage keeping weight off once they lost it, meaning they had factors such as exercise, sleep, diet, and emotional health in check and working together.
Let’s examine some of the differentiating factors and find out why they worked so well:
#1 DEVELOP STRONG HABITS
Any successful weight-loss program, at least one that works in the long term, requires that a person forms a lasting habit. By doing this, they decrease the chance of weight fluctuations and regaining lost pounds. In the study above, the stronger the habits people developed, the more likely they were to maintain healthy eating and exercise.
However, if there is a habit you need to remove, that might take some more work. For example, if you’re one of those people who eat when they’re bored, you might want to take on a different activity so you don’t fall into the trap of cravings and overeating. Letting go of your unhealthy habits is sort of like building a habit, you’re just redirecting your habit’s trigger to something else, something more healthy and productive.
There are countless ways you can self-monitor yourself for weight loss. In the study above, plus studies we’ve talked about before about journaling, people have had tremendous success with weight loss if they added more management into it – writing down, tracking success, recording their workouts, etc. Pay attention to your choices and how they impact your progress.
By having a plan, taking steps toward your goal, and measuring your progress, you’re giving yourself the highest odds of success not only in losing the weight, but in keeping it off, as well.
#3 COPE WITH STRESS
Any change in your life can instantly cause stress and anxiety. Changing your diet and exercise habits can do the same. But learning to cope with stressors in a healthy way can make those moments dissipate. In the study, specific strategies such as thinking about past success and remaining positive have been shown to be productive toward maintaining weight loss success.
So don’t be afraid to take note of your achievements, small and big. Recognize and celebrate those successes and use them as fuel to get more motivation. By focusing on the things you actually can influence, you’ll gain more control of yourself and your journey and you’ll learn to accept what you can and can’t control.
The bottom line is…
As you’re trying to lose weight, it can be easy to solely focus on calories in vs calories out. But achieving that progress, and maintaining that progress, is a much more complicated process.
When it comes to maintaining an exercise and diet regimen, you have to consider both the science and the psychology that goes into it. The more knowledge you get on how training and nutrition work, and the more knowledge you get about your own self and your behavioral patterns, the more control you’re going to have over your journey, and you’ll be able to keep the weight off for good once you lose it.