Even before you start with weight loss you will hear people telling you "Weight loss is easy, weight maintenance is hard". The same thing you will hear from others all through out the period when you lose weight. There also will be bright souls who want to help you by telling you how they lost weight and put the weight right back on.
You will soon wonder if it is better to lose weight or be just the way you are.
So what is maintenance and how you can keep the weight off for life. Here are few points to ponder.
1. Weighing Scale - I know I keep saying this like a parrot. But I want you to remember this even in your sleep. So while in sleep if I ask you "What is the most important thing to maintain your weight", you should answer "Weighing myself weekly mam".
Think about it, one reason why we put of weight is because for so many months or years we had no idea how much we weighed.
This is the first and the most important principle of weight maintenance. Never assume your weight, you have to be sure of what you are.
2. Eating - If an old alcohol addict who is all clean goes back to her old ways what will you call her. You will call her an Alcoholic. Same principle apply to weight maintenance.
When I lost 8 kgs few years back, I was over the cloud. I used to be 80 kgs and I came down to 72 kgs and I felt so powerful and wonderful with the compliments. Most importantly I felt thin and I thought I can eat everything now. I went back to my old habits and I gained double the weight I lost.
You are free to eat whatever you want but not like the old days.
I usually go on maintenance when I dip low. I went on maintenance when I was 69 kgs and then again when I hit 64 kgs.
So here is what I did to maintain the weight.
I ate out - but not regularly, I ate only on weekends and that to only one meal . When I had eaten out I used come back and go back to my healthy eating habits like having one meal of soup, salads and veggies.
If you compare this with my old self, I used to eat out 3 -4 times a week and never bothered to eat healthy at home. So you see I no longer am going to my old ways and be tagged as an addict.
The sad truth - Once your cells have learnt to put on weight believe me they have adapted themselves forever. Be aware of this fact, being aware will help you in the wrong run.
3. Stop dieting and start eating - I always encourage people not to diet. Having a healthy balanced meal is NOT DIETING this is the way to live.
The irony is when you go to parties and eat endless amount of fried snacks, drink endless cold drinks and then proceed to eat endless main course people will accept it BUT if you eat moderately and refuse fried stuff they will say "are you dieting??". Hell NO, this is the way you eat. Eat in moderation and try saying NO to empty calories.
Having a bowl of soup, salad and snacking on fruits is the right way to eat. People will accept if you snack on fried stuff but have hard time digesting if you snack on fruits. This is a healthy lifestyle and be firm to tell people this is the way you eat, there is no dieting involved (infact if they follow your diet they will benefit too).
4. Exercising - Always pick an activity that you enjoy doing. Like for me walking is no longer an exercise, I just do it.
When you hit your target weight or when you enter maintenance you need not push yourself hard. Just pick up some simple activity that you can do aleast 30 minutes daily.
Here are few suggestions
A) Exercising 3 days of the week - For few people 5 days/ daily exercising is not possible. The best way is to give 45 minutes 3 days a week. That is all.
B) Opting for light activity - If you do not want to invest 45 minutes then just go for light walks on daily basis. There is no need to push yourself. Just let your body glide with the flow and enjoy the light movements.
C) High impact activity - I had a colleague who used to be very fat. I never saw him fat but his photographs told me a different story. He was lean and he ate from canteen. The mystery was solved when I saw him running for one hour in the office gym. He used to do that 5 days a week.
If you cannot avoid canteen food or you have lots of parties to oblige to then its best to take up a challenging activity and do it. The high impact cardio will take care of your extra calories.
Here high impact cardio will not make you lose weight (as you are frequently eating out) but will help you to maintain the weight.
Few Questions You might have in mind
Q1. I am starting with weight loss but I am scared of putting the weight on.
A1) When you have not yet achieved your goal why are you troubling yourself with the future. To get the result you need to give the exam first. Bother about not putting on the weight once you have reached your target.
Q2) I have lost weight and now I want to maintain it but I have this carving for outside food. What should I do???
A2) The carving comes from the relaxed mind. Initially you had a goal to meet and were possessed to achieve the goal now that you have achieved it your mind will try to lure you back to high calorie food.
Its a classic case of THE CHASE. Once the chase is over the chaser feels lost.
The beauty of weight loss is to eat and enjoy everything but in moderate portions. There is no other solution for it.
If you have a craving for a burger. Then go ahead have the whole burger meal but do not forget to adjust the calories the next day and you cannot have this meal on regular basis. Having it once a month is the smart way.
Temptations are every where, if you go back to the temptations you will go back to your old self, always think if it is worth giving up all that you have achieved for a plate of food.
Q3) Now that I have lost weight I feel demotivated to exercise. In fact I have to push myself to exercise and I end up not doing it.
A3) Initially you had vision, now with the lost weight the vision has been achieved. The point is what next.
The best way to deal with it is to stop thinking of physical activity as exercise. Sometimes I don't feel like exercising, what I do is just go and walk on treadmill for 45 minutes, I tell myself this is to keep my body healthy and moving. Do it for your health.
If you walk for your health, if you walk to keep your knees healthy, chances are you will start walking on daily basis.
Q4) When I was losing weight I felt motivated and looked ahead in life with passion. Now I feel lost.
A4) Remember, a winner is always lonely at the top. The best way is to always keep the chase going on. There will always be 1 kilo here and there to lose. Keep that kilo alive and try chasing it. That kilo will help you stay on tack forever.
If you keep the chase alive you will keep the sparks alive too.
After losing weight, the glory is all yours. The compliments will never stop coming and you will glow in the light of those compliments. You will feel beautiful, young and powerful.
The question is "at what cost are you wiling to risk your glory, your achievement and your success." If you are ready to risk it for your laziness and for the taste of your tongue then it is not worth it.