It’s been exactly 13 months since I began my lifestyle change on April 13th, 2013, and I am still at it. While I can’t say that I wake up each morning with the same gusto that I had when I first began, I can proudly say that I never gave up and I will never give up. After a long year of facing and overcoming challenges and fears, I’ve discovered so much about myself. I’ve also discovered what it takes to not only lose 152 pounds, but what it takes to maintain that loss.
You Fall Back Down, You Get Back Up
This is the most important thing to understand about losing weight and maintaining significant weight loss over an extended period of time. Understand that you’re going to relapse, you’re going to backtrack, and you’re going to want to give up. But also understand that it’s okay to do all of these things. It’s okay to have setbacks. Life isn’t perfect and can’t always be wrapped up neatly in a bow. Just remember that you can and will get up. In order to lose any amount of weight, you need to change your lifestyle and it has to be permanent.
No one is perfect. So if you fall off the wagon, pull yourself up by your bootstraps and stand back up. Basically, if you gain a few pounds for whatever reason, don’t be discouraged. Fat can always be lost, again and again, and health can always be improved! That’s the beauty of each new day.
Soldier On Despite Plateaus
This is one of the most difficult things I’ve encountered. I’ve hit many plateaus during my journey and am currently sitting at one right now — have been for about two months now. Weight loss plateaus are inevitable, but they should always be viewed as temporary. With determination, you can and will eventually bust through them by mixing up your routine and staying vigilant. Although I’ve been stuck for quite some time, I still continue with my healthy lifestyle and change up my fitness.
Remind Yourself of Your Commitment
The best way to stay motivated is to try to remember why you started. Remind yourself that you made this commitment for your health and your happiness. The best way to do that is to seek out inspiration. What initially inspired you? Maybe you need to review some of your progress pictures or take the step to actually create some progress pictures. That always does the trick for me. I’ll take an old photograph from before my weight loss and place it aside a current picture. My motivation is instantly renewed.
Allow Yourself Leeway, But Not Too Much
Now that I’ve been doing this for so long, I’ve settled quite nicely into my lifestyle change. I’ve learned what does and doesn’t work for me. I’ve also learned that it’s essential to have cheat days. Sometimes even more than one a week! While that might set your progress back a little bit, it can save you from falling off the wagon completely. This is especially true for the holidays. Allow yourself to indulge, guilt-free, knowing that you’re going to balance out your bad habits with your good ones. Creating good habits are the foundation and structure of maintaining a permanent lifestyle change.