It’s been said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, and anyone who has tried to lose weight knows that it is a journey. Some days you are right on course, following the training and nutrition plan that was recommended for you. Other days, not so much. You take a detour of epic proportion, taking you miles off course. But little by little, you get back on the right track and can see the unwanted pounds and inches coming off. Before you know it, you are inching closer and closer to the goal. You feel good. You look good. Your physician agrees, too. You’ve tackled the monster in many people’s closets – you have lost a substantial amount of weight.
Congratulations to you.
And now you get to start the first step of your next journey – keeping that weight off and staying healthy.
Just like any trip, you take with friends and family; you get to know one another along the way. You learn their quirks, their likes and dislikes, and what annoys you about them. It’s the same with your body on the weight maintenance journey. As you started your journey, things were new and exciting – going to the gym for a workout, the new, nutritious vegetables and lean meats hanging out in the fridge waiting for you to try out the new recipes – they all were fun and new. Some of those experiences you liked, some not so much. But you did them. You experienced them, and you continued to eat healthy, workout, have a balance of strength conditioning and aerobic exercise, and it worked – through the good days and the bad days.
We’ve all experienced the stiff and sore muscles the day after a new and challenging workout. It hurt like hell when you took that first step out of bed in the morning, but by that afternoon, you were ready to head back to the gym and work on those stiff and sore muscles – because you were feeling better – and that’s the goal of all of this – to live a fuller, longer, fulfilling life.
Well, the journey must continue once you’ve met your weight-loss goal. People who want to lose weight but not want to put the work into it might lose some weight, but unless they are willing to change their exercise and eating habits, they will gain the lost weight back, and probably some more. Here are some steps (and goals) to utilize when you are inching close to your weight loss goal.
Know What Motivates You
In order to keep reaching for that goal, you have to figure out just what it is that motivates you. Are you wanting to look good? Is the idea of feeling great every day the thing that gets you out of bed? Maybe it’s the thought of living a full, happy life and sliding into the “home base” of death in a worn-out body at age 98. Whatever it is, you must identify it and tailor your steps towards that goal.
De-Stress Without Food
We all get stressed out. Whether it’s work, school, relationships, society – whatever stresses you, figure out some ways to alleviate the stress without opening a pint of ice cream or stopping at the all-you-can-eat buffet along the interstate. It might be exercise – hey that’s good because you can burn off some calories at the same time. It might be art, music, reading, boxing, etc., but you’ve got to learn to deal with stress without putting unwanted calories into your mouth.
Have Healthy Ways to Celebrate
You’ve accomplished a huge goal of losing weight – celebrate the big and small achievements – but in a way that keeps you on top of your accomplishment, not settling back into old habits of a doughnut, cake, or a full plate of cheese fries after work. Take the money you’ve saved from eating out all the time and buy a new outfit, pair of headphones, or a massage.
Make Easy Meals
Making your own meals and snacks is one of the best ways to get to a healthy weight and stay there because you control the quality and quantity of the ingredients, especially bad fats, sugar, salt, chemical additives and other things commercial food tends to be loaded with.
Remember what got you here in the first place – healthy eating plus healthy workouts. Don’t let a long day at the office get in the way of exercise. Make a point to burn some calories – even if it is just a brisk walk over your lunch hour or right after work – the more you move, the more calories you burn.
This journey you’ve taken is just the first step of a new you. You’re healthier, happier, and are on the road to a great journey. Yes, it’s been hard and some days you just might want to throw in the towel and say you’re done. But you’ve worked your butt off – both figuratively and literally – and you should be proud of yourself. Just remember that this new, healthier you is on a constant journey, one step at a time.