There’s no doubt that achieving a weight loss goal is an incredible accomplishment, but when we don’t have a long-term strategy in place for how we plan to maintain our results, our chances of slipping back into old habits is extremely high. No matter where you are in your own journey, to help you avoid falling off track, we’re giving a first-hand look of how four individuals got started, stayed committed and continue to live a healthy way of life every day.
Don’t get caught up in the results.
Instead, focus on the behaviors each and every day and those results will come.
Starvation is not the road to weight loss.
The biggest game changer was when I took my first resting metabolic assessment. The results showed I was not eating enough calories. I increased my intake to the level suggested in the test results and I went on to lose my 110 pounds! It was then that I realized starvation is not the road to weight loss (not for the long term). Instead, getting the right level of macronutrients is absolutely critical to lose the weight and keep it off.
Find a crew that makes you come back for more.
The people in the Plymouth (Minnesota) club keep me coming back. I can’t overstate enough the value of seeing the same faces on a regular basis and taking strength in that. The trainers are top shelf too. I continually learn from them and become a better athlete in the process.
Be up front and honest with everyone about your goals.
When I was starting out, it was really important for me to be up front and honest with everyone in my life about my goals. That meant my boyfriend, my family, my friends, my coworkers, my therapists, even social media. Having it out there added a level of accountability and it also gave me support — I found others who had similar goals as me and we were able to connect with one another. Support is so important when it comes to getting started because eventually you will need to change your habits (and your life) to find success and in order to do that, you need to have people who are with you and not working against you.
Change your weekend habits and make time for meal prep.
I didn’t start seeing a significant impact until I truly altered the way I was eating. That meant changing my weekend habits and spending a significant amount of time meal prepping for the week ahead. It was a game changer for me. Having breakfast and lunch ready to go once Monday rolled around meant I was not eating out, I was not reaching for convenient foods. My plan was set and it took a huge amount of stress out of my morning routine.
We all know what we are supposed to do but I was stubborn. I thought I could just work it all off in the gym. But low and behold, all of the experts in my life were right. What you are doing in the kitchen matters way more than what you are doing in the gym. So I upped my protein intake, added in veggies at every meal and started tracking my meals in MyFitnessPal.
Make gym dates to stay motivated.
When my motivation is starting to waver, I immediately make a gym date with a friend. I also remind myself of how good I feel when I fuel my body with healthy meals and work out regularly. It’s been an instrumental part of controlling my depression and anxiety and I look at it as a part of my therapy plan.
Have a plan and keep it simple.
Having a plan gives you something to follow day to day and also something to get back to if you have an off day. Keeping it simple makes the plan that much easier to follow; a complex plan can overwhelm even people who have been down this path for a while.
Reach out to a nutritionist for help.
My most recent game-changing moment was reaching out to a nutritionist for help. I never realized that attempting to eat at a calorie deficit for around 2 years could screw up my metabolism like it did. The help I have received so far has allowed me to make a long-term plan to see lasting changes, while also helping guide me through the metabolism repair process.
Schedule a weekly check-in to stay accountable.
Having a long-term plan and goals in mind has kept me motivated and I have never really thought about quitting, but there are days when I just don’t feel like it. So in order to battle that, I have implemented a weekly weigh-in to keep myself accountable and report out to my nutritionist. I have also been participating in some free spin classes every week as fun and different breaks to my training. Those classes make it easy to get into the gym because I’m not really having to think too much about weights, sets, etc., I just show up and follow along (and they’re a great cardio workout!). They have become anchors to my gym schedule, keeping it on track.
Stop wondering and start believing you CAN and WILL!
Positive mindset was EVERYTHING for me on my weight loss journey. I had always known WHAT to do, but I didn’t believe that I could do it. When I started to change that mindset and actually saying out loud, “I CAN change, I WILL change, I AM changing!” that’s when the magic started to happen! I changed my mindset from, “I am not a fit person” to “I am not a fit person YET!! but I sure as heck am going to be!” I added “yet” to all my negative stories and it helped me realize that even though I wasn’t where I wanted to be that didn’t mean it was my permanent status!
The 2nd part to that mindset change and staying committed for me was focusing on habits instead of results. Before when I tried to lose weight I would go hard for 2 weeks and then when I didn’t see a certain number on the scale I would just give up and say it’s useless! I’ll never change! This time around I didn’t worry about the scale changing. I just worried about changing my habits. My victories were showing up at the gym, getting in my workouts, hitting my protein goals, getting in my daily steps, drinking half my weight in oz of water, regardless of what the outcome was on the scale. As I focused on healthy habits the scale naturally starting moving in the direction I wanted it to. But more importantly, I felt sooo good!! I was happy and could feel myself getting stronger and having more energy because I was fueling my body with nutritious food and teaching it how to be strong and powerful!
Up your level of accountability.
There were two game-changers for me. The first, working with a personal trainer. I had never done that before and it opened up a whole new world of exercise to me beyond at home videos and running on a treadmill!! It was also so amazing to have someone who believed in me and supported and encouraged me on the ups and downs of my journey. There were so many days I wouldn’t have made it into the gym if I didn’t know my trainer was there waiting for me! Having that accountability is what kept me going even when I had a million excuses not to.
The second, joining Alpha small group training. Being part of the Alpha community gave me a whole new level of accountability and the amazing push and motivation that comes from working out with other like-minded people! Even after reaching my weight loss goals Alpha training continues to give me endless new goals to reach for and work towards. It’s taught me that there is no finish line in fitness, there’s always something I can improve and work for. It keeps me coming back again and again and is something I will do until I can’t move my body anymore because it’s not a quick fix it’s a life style!
Always remember the “why” behind your habits.
Even on the hardest days, I remember where I’ve been and know that I never want to go back to that place. I know what happens if I quit, so now I’m finding out what happens if I keep going. I’m also motivated to be a good example to my husband and children. I want my children to learn that they can do hard things and that hard things are also the most rewarding! When things get hard I push through because I know at the top of the climb are amazing views I will never see if I don’t keep putting one foot in front of the other and elevating myself to the top.