In the world of health and fitness, maintenance is a myth. Sorry if I just busted your bubble. Here’s a fact…diets do not prepare us for maintenance. In order to keep and maintain your new weight, your new body, your new body composition, you actually need new thinking. It’s not enough to change externally to look different, but not think differently.
The myth of maintenance.
We’ve created in our own minds the idea that you lose weight, and then you’ve arrived. You’ve made it to weight loss Island. It was a long, hard, arduous swim, but you dodged the sharks and you made it. Now you deserve to lay in your lounge chair and eat bonbons to your heart’s content. You think you will maintain this weight loss because you worked really hard and did the damn work for it. Except you never really changed all your thinking including thinking weight loss was really hard.
Weight loss is not a permanent destination. You don’t just arrive at a weight or a body. It’s not purchasing something because weight loss is an inanimate object. Your body will change and fluctuate. So your maintenance weight probably is up or down 3-5 pounds.
Let’s take it back to many moons ago.
In 2011, a client of mine asked me the simple question, “Now what?” She did not know the next step after achieving her weight loss goal. This is when I probably rolled my eyes and broke the news to her about maintenance. Are you ready for the truth? Maintaining weight loss will be you doing pretty much everything you did to lose the weight.
Now, you can imagine that she was very disappointed. I don’t know if she even believed me. I gave her a little bit more information And I just explained the facts to her. However, there is a piece of maintenance where there is some wiggle room. You start to slowly experiment with adding an extra glass of wine on Friday night or pizza on Saturday.
But the problem with this is your brain is like a toddler and they don’t want to do anything gradually. They just want all the cookies and all the pizza and all the things. So you can end up going off the deep end really fast when your toddler brain is calling the shots.
Maintenance is not the last chapter.
It is not the final destination. You don’t lose the weight and skip off happily ever after holding hands into the sunset, never to have any work to do again. Weight loss, eating, food prep, and living a healthy life are just parts of being human. This is why you have to change the way you view weight loss. And the way you might view maintenance.
You can change externally, all day long. But what I’ve come to realize over the many years of working with clients and working with myself is that until you’re able to change how you think, you can’t change permanently. Externally, you can change temporarily. But unless you really change how you think you’re probably bound to gain that weight back.
Why is maintenance so tricky?
The human brain isn’t really keen on moderation. Our brains really are driven by 3 things. The first is survival. Next, our brains are driven by reward. Lastly, our brains have to be very efficient. Our brains are very quick to automate things. So knowing how your brain works will explain a lot about weight loss and the challenges associated with it. This shows you how we associate reasons to eat vs. reasons not to eat and why learning how to think differently matters.
Diets typically do not prepare us for weight loss maintenance.
Maintenance is a different place where you have to think about what to eat. You have to learn how to manage urges. So you have to understand your brain might see cupcakes and want them, but that doesn’t mean you have to act on that urge.
Maintenance is not necessarily the same amount of drive or willpower or motivation. Because to be honest, you’re not going to have willpower, discipline, drive, grit, and motivation every single day. So if you want to maintain your weight, you’re going to have to be happy and know that some days you’re not going to be that motivated. But you still know how to feed yourself so that you fit into your clothes.
I want to just invite you to think about maintenance as just a continuation of your healthy living, right.
it’s just a continuation of expressing who you are. Maintenance is just a continuation of you taking care of yourself and showing yourself kindness. It doesn’t have to be radically different or hard. Truly, it is just a continuation of how you show yourself kindness and love.
That might mean you have to re-examine how you are trying to lose weight. If you are trying to lose weight because you’re beating yourself up and heavily restricting yourself, then you’re not going to be able to maintain that. It’s not sustainable in the long term. So this might give you some jumping off points to reflect on.
NOTES IN ANCHOR
Maintenance is a myth. Sorry, not sorry. Here’s a fact…diets do not prepare us for maintenance. In order to keep and maintain your new weight, your new body, your new body composition, you actually need new thinking. It’s not enough to change externally to look different, but not think differently. Maintaining weight loss will be you doing pretty much everything you did to lose weight in the first place. And the way that becomes easier is by changing the way you think about weight loss. Here’s how you can do that.
ABOUT THE HOST
Bonnie Lefrak has been in the health and fitness industry for 25 years. As a former bikini competitor, Bonnie helps other women achieve their dreams of being on stage as bikini competitors through her bikini program at the gym she owns in Massachusetts called Fitness Asylum. But as a self-proclaimed professional dieter, Bonnie also realized the toll dieting takes on the human brain.
Bonnie helps women over 40 lose weight without killing themselves in the gym,
eliminate all the BS food drama, and help to create a life and body they LOVE. She wants to help women create certainty in their own lives, their own results, and their own abilities. Weight loss is not about the one “right” diet. It is about MUCH more than that.
Weight loss is not about the one “right” workout. Weight loss is not about being positive and putting a big smile on. Weight loss is about FEELINGS. All of them. Not trying to bury them or hide from them but knowing and allowing the full human experience. Weight loss is not about grinding hustling and will powering your way to some end line.
Transformation (when done well) is done from the inside out. Transformation doesn’t happen on the scale. She is an expert at Demystifying weight loss and helps you unfuck your diet brain.
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