Now I’m not going to pretend this isn’t a complex issue (it is) and there aren’t a huge array of reasons why weight loss is tricky to achieve long-term. That said, in my experience there are just a few key things that can have a profound effect on not only achieving weight loss, but keeping it off as well.
Don’t Go It Alone!
There is strength in numbers, we all need some help along the way. To help keep us on track, to keep us accountable and our goals in line. With weight loss this is no different, in fact, it’s probably even more important. It’s one of the main reasons why weight loss groups are so successful for so many, the very fact that each week you will turn up and be weighed creates a level of accountability to keep us on track. If we tell our friends about our plans and we decide to work together, we increase our chances of success dramatically. By keeping each other honest and accountable, we would keep up with our exercise regime. Even on the days where it would be so easy to give it a miss, knowing we’d be letting the ‘team’ down keeps us on track.
Change Your Environment
We can change our diet drastically, but if everything else around us remains exactly the same, it’s very difficult to achieve long-term change and success. For example, if we still have junk food in the cupboards available 24/7, we can be strong to begin with, willpower of steel. But having these treats available will be playing on our mind subconsciously. Like a dripping tap, this will constantly be bothering us, draining us slowly until ultimately we succumb to old habits.
By changing our environment we are increasing our chances of long-term success drastically. To all intents and purposes we need to create a new identity. Not in terms of our personality, but regarding our daily habits. If we remove the junk food, we would have no option but to eat the healthy food that is available to us, providing this is in line with his calorie requirements for weight loss then we will continue to lose weight without being derailed by temptation. In addition to this, by not having this constant temptation cluttering up our subconscious, we will be able to remain more focused and ‘present’ throughout our day.
It has been well documented that a combination of diet and exercise is the most effective form of sustainable weight-loss. If we forget about the obvious benefits such as calorie expenditure for a moment – The short-term effect of exercise is that our serotonin and dopamine levels are increased. Serotonin increases agreeable social behaviour and decreases depression, Dopamine improves mood, long-term memory and gives us that natural ‘high’. If we couple our dietary changes with an exercise plan then the chances of achieving long-term, maintainable weight loss will increase dramatically. If we are reliant on the ‘high’ from actually losing weight, we are doomed to fail. As soon as it slows down (or stops periodically) it’s easy to become downhearted and lose faith in the process. If we find our ‘high’ from the positive physical changes that exercise brings, it creates a self-perpetuating cycle toward our goal.
To achieve sustainable weight-loss we need a plan that is just that, achievable & sustainable. We need to be honest with ourselves about how much we want it. Nothing of any worth comes without sacrifice or hardship, change is not easy. But through our struggles we find the strength required to make the necessary alterations to shift our reality in line with our goals. We need to find the right plan for us, not one that promises the fastest results or has the best looking model backing it. Ideally one that considers our bespoke calorie requirements and plans accordingly.