During all those past years that I had been experimenting with weight loss and different kinds of diets, me and my fellow-dieters – some friends that had been in the same time-consuming, energy-draining, frustrating and disappointing dieting nightmare – would always keep in mind the same word: maintenance! Why? Simply because in the mind of a veteran dieter that would mean the end of the torture! Going into maintenance means we have reached our goal weight and we are finally allowed to indulge on some of our favorite treats that we were forbidden to even look at during all those months of dieting! What a huge misconception!
The truth about maintenance is far from this. And there is one single, ugly truth about it that if you have adopted the way of thinking mentioned above, you probably don’t want to hear about. But you’d better realize it now before you go into the above kind of maintenance and ruin all your hard efforts to lose weight.
Maintenance is not the second part of your diet. It’s not a specific period in your weight loss attempt.
Maintenance is actually the rest of your life. Period.
If you persuade yourself that now that you have reached your goals, you are actually allowed to go back to your old habits, you’re literally fooling yourself. It’s like having quit smoking. After a year of being smoke-free you decide that it’s ok to have a cigarette at this high school reunion. After all what kind of harm can one do? But one leads to another and before you know it, you find yourself purchasing a brand new packet of cigarettes. And you might be thinking right now that the example is not very successful because smoking is an addiction. And I’ll agree with you. But think about when you started your weight loss journey. Do you remember how hard it was to quit on that every day soda or how difficult it seemed to resist those tasty hamburgers at the fast food restaurant at the corner? Didn’t it seem like an addiction back then? Do you remember how hard you had to push yourself to go to the gym or get out the door for that run or push in the dvd and do a workout for 30 minutes? Do you know how easy it is to allow yourself to “take a break”? And this break could actually become so long that it could easily bring you back to square one!
And at this point you might be wondering: “So, what? Do I have to diet for the rest of my life? Do I have to run a marathon every week in order to maintain my weight?”
Of course not.
While on your weight loss journey, you should always keep your mind on maintenance. No, I’m not kidding here. You should do exactly as I did when I was on diet after diet but you should look at maintenance from a very different point of view. It shouldn’t seem like the life-saving oasis at the end of your strict and depriving dieting desert! It should be your guide to choosing your new way of life. Maintenance in your mind should be the equivalent to lifetime habits. Every day of your journey you should take small steps into changing your bad habits with new healthy ones. And before establishing it as part of your healthy lifestyle, you should consider: “Is this a habit that I will be able to maintain when I reach my goal weight? Is this something that I can do for the rest of my life?” And make the right adjustments where necessary.
It will take time. Lots of time actually. But you’ll be fighting with the right weapons. Strict diets and exercise schedules designed for Superman can bring results fast. But you have to choose if fast is more important to you than long-lasting. If you want to lose weight and keep it lost forever, you just can’t choose the fast way. Because it’s just changing the surface not the roots of the problem. So, at some point you’ll have to do it all over again. Albert Einstein once said that doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. It makes sense, doesn’t it?
So, if you’re just starting out with your weight loss journey or if, for some reason, something is just not working out and you’re not getting results, rethink about your battle. Choose your weapons wisely. Lead yourself to victory. Succeed. Because you can.