Many people feel losing weight is the difficult part.
“Once I’m done losing. I’ll have successfully lost all this fat for good.”
But what they don’t realize is. The difficult part is not that.
The difficult part is keeping that weight from coming back. This is what I have figured after having spoken to quite a lot of people.
This is not their first rodeo.
This is not the first time they are trying to lose weight. They have in fact done this in the past. Successfully.
This is what they say:
“I lost weight two years back.” or “I lost weight one year back. But then some event happened. And now I’m here. Where I have regained it back”
Or, “I’ve regained it back and have gained even more on top of it.”
This is the most common problem. Very few people actually are able to lose the weight and keep it off.
This is because of a couple of reasons. And I’ll address a few of them here.
I’ll tell you what you need to do in order to prevent this from happening.
Pretty straightforward reasons if you really think of them. But still people tend to make these mistakes over and over again.
The first thing would be.
You making changes, which are drastically different from whatever your current lifestyle is.
If you’re not used to eating in a certain way. If you’re not used to eating certain foods.
And you hop on a program or some kind of diet, which is drastically different from whatever you’re used to eating.
You would not be able to sustain that for long.
I was speaking to someone the other day. And they were telling me how they were on a 12 week program.
Where they ate hundred grams of paneer every single day. And they were like:
“I hate paneer! And I was eating hundred grams of it every single day. And I did lose weight. But it came back.”
And they’re vegetarian. So they already have very few food choices for lean protein.
And on top of that, when you’re making them drastically change food habits to something they are not used to. It becomes very uncomfortable.
You can maintain this kind of discipline for 12 weeks. Maybe for 16 weeks. But not for long.
Because if you hate the process itself, you will not be able to sustain it.
Long-term, the main change you need to be looking for is something that you can enjoy.
Something that you can derive some kind of pleasure out of.
If you detest the process, you will not be able to maintain it long-term. It is that simple.
So, when you’re hopping on a program. When you are trying to follow some kind of plan. Make sure that it is something that you inherently enjoy.
In the sense that it’s going to be uncomfortable. Because you’re making a change. But the discomfort should not involve a drastic change in the way you eat.
It should not involve eating foods that you’re not used to.
So if you have to start eating foods that you don’t eat, say every single day. Maybe you eat paneer twice a week.
You can try to incorporate a small serving of it every single day instead.
If you’re not used to eating soy products every single day. You could try to incorporate one small serving of soy in your lunch every day to start with.
And not try to do that for every single meal in the beginning.
There are obviously other ways of incorporating protein if you’re vegetarian (like the person I was speaking about earlier is). You don’t necessarily have to fill your plate with paneer and soy products.
If you don’t enjoy eating them, you can always incorporate things like whey protein supplements. Which are much more convenient to consume.
The point here being that: don’t make drastic changes which seem very uncomfortable.
And which completely alter the way you eat. Because these will not be sustainable.
Whenever you’re making changes, you should make them very gradually.
If you’re someone who does not move at all, you shouldn’t try to go from zero to 10,000 steps a day. That’d to be impossible for you.
You want to start from zero to like 2000 steps a day. Maintain that for one week. Go to 4,000 the next week, 5,000 the week after.
Slowly build up to 10,000 steps per day over weeks.
That is more reasonable.
What happens is that people lose the weight after 12 weeks. Then they gain the weight back after a couple of more months.
Then they hop on something else. They lose the weight again.
And it becomes a cycle of going up and down. This is what is termed as yo-yo dieting.
You go up and down. Up and down again. It becomes like a pattern. This is very common and is usually seen in people who hop on restrictive diets.
Diets which completely eliminate some kind of food group. If your diet says no carbs. no refined grains. No processed food at all.
No food from outside. No junk.
No [something food]. That is a restrictive diet. So it completely cuts off some kind of food for you.
If you have a medical condition and your physician or doctor says that these are the foods that you’re not supposed to take. That is a different issue.
That is a restriction for your health.
But if you’re trying to lose body fat. And there is a diet which says you should not be eating these foods to lose body fat faster or more effectively.
That is the kind of restriction that you don’t need to adhere to.
These diets are the reason why people get stuck in the cycle of losing weight and gaining it back.
They then have to go back to some other diet. Lose weight, gain it back. The cycle never ends.
You don’t want that to happen.
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The other reason why this happens is because people tend to look at their weight loss or their fat loss as something very short-term.
They are willing to do everything possible in order to drop that body weight.
And I understand that. Because it has been this extra burden on you for so long.
You’re not comfortable with it. And you have finally decided that:
“I want to get rid of this once and for all. I’m willing to do whatever it takes.”
I understand that. But the problem with this way of thinking is that when you go all out.
And you’re willing to cut out foods, willing to sacrifice everything, These changes don’t last long.
So the question you need to ask yourself before you hop on a program for weight loss or fat loss is:
“Is this something that I can do for the next 15 years? For the next 20 years?
Is this something that I can carry out for that long period of time?”
If your answer is ‘No’. You should not be doing it.
Because if you think of it, if someone says ‘no carbs’.
How are you going to survive for the next 20 years without eating any carbs?
It’s not possible.
When you go out, everything you eat has some kind of carbohydrate in it. Such dietary restriction is not sustainable. So don’t do that.
To summarise. Whenever you see something which restricts you from eating a certain kind of food. Whenever it says no something; no sugar, no refined grains, no carbs.
All kinds of [no something] diets. Don’t follow those.
And ask yourself this question:
“Will I be able to eat this way for the next 15 to 20 years?” And you’ll know the answer yourself.
People don’t gain back weight just once.
If you ask a lot of them:
“How many times have you done this over the past couple of years?”
You’d realize that people have done this over and over. You may have done this yourself two to three times over the past many years.
You may have lost some weight, gained it back. Lost some weight, then gained it back again.
It is not something that happens only once.
And the main reason for this is that you don’t learn from the mistake that you made in the past. And when that happens, you keep repeating the same mistake again and again.
If you look back at your previous weight loss attempt, what were the things that did not work out for you?
Was it that you were hating the way you ate?
Was it that you were trying to do too much exercise, which was interfering with your quality of life? That you were not able to devote time to things that you actually enjoyed apart from the gym?
Was it because you were made to do things which you did not enjoy?
What did not work for you? Ask yourself that. Think about it.
Write it down.
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You lost weight. Great!
But what was it about the process that you did not enjoy?
You need to look into that and make sure that the next time you hop on something.
Look at the process. And see if it involves doing the same things, which did not work for you the last time.
Does it involve the same kind of foods, same kind of routines, same kind of exercise patterns? The things that you hated last time? The things that did not work out?
If those are the same, then you should not be doing it.
Because if you keep doing the same thing and expect different results. It won’t happen.
You will still hate the process the second time. And you will go back to the same physical state afterwards.
Don’t repeat your mistakes.
Look back. Reflect upon what did not work for you. And before you start something new, see if that involves similar processes. If it does try to avoid that.
When people hop on a program. When they get into an exercise routine. They have this idea of doing as much as possible.
They want to be a walking 10,000 steps a day, going to the gym six days a week.
They want to be eating healthy.
They want to do everything at once.
And I’ve talked about this before that you don’t need to do as much as possible. Just the bare minimum necessary.
Another thing I want to add to this perspective is that when you are making a lifestyle change, try to think of it in this way:
There is no ceiling to it, right? You can always be doing more.
If you have an off week, you may go swimming twice a week. Go to the gym multiple times a day.
If it’s holiday season, you have more time. You can do more outdoor activities. If you’re in a very disciplined mood, you could be tracking your macros, tracking your protein intake, tracking your step count.
Doing everything right.
That is your ceiling. There is no limit to that.
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But what is your floor?
Do you have a baseline below which you will never come back?
Have you set that for yourself?
Have you set your personal bare minimum standard? Ask yourself that.
This is something that people overlook.
People are always looking forward to doing more. But they have not set the minimum standard.
“What counts as progress if I’m not able to do anything? What is my floor?”
Your floor could be:
“If I’m not able to track calories. If I’m not able to track protein intake. If I’m not able to track anything regarding my nutrition. I would still eat a big serving of protein in every single meal of the day.”
“I’ll eat a serving of vegetables in every single meal of the day.” That could be your baseline.
So even on the worst days. When you’re not able to track your nutrition, not able to do any of the things that you’re supposed to do.
You would still make an effort to eat protein in every single meal.
You’ll still make an effort to eat a serving of vegetables, every single meal.
And you can also set another baseline for yourself. That:
“Even if I’m not able to exercise at all throughout the week, I would still make an effort to do 4,000 steps a day.”
Very reasonable. It’s not crazy high.
So set your own baseline for yourself and make this your own standard of success.
Even on the worst weeks, don’t come below your baseline.
And if you’re able to maintain this throughout the year. Even after you’ve lost weight. You will not go back to where you were before.
I guarantee that.
And even if you did gain back some weight. Because it was a very high stress period, or because you had some event come up. You had some kind of unforeseen thing happen.
You would still not gain back as much as you would if you did not set these standards for yourself.
So set a floor and it would make the process much easier.
You will not get stuck in that cycle of losing weight, gaining it back, losing weight, gaining it back.
If you have one takeaway from this live, it should be this:
Set a baseline standard for yourself below which you will not come down.
The last topic that I wanted to cover is:
If you’re going to invest in something for your weight loss, don’t invest in a product.
There are so many of these supplements, slimming belts that you can buy.
These are all products, right? Products for weight loss.
I’ve even seen some creams that you need to rub on yourself. That’s supposed to promote weight loss.
Whenever you see a product and you are tempted to buy it. Resist that temptation and save your money.
Instead use that money to buy some good quality food. Something that has more protein and use that protein to fix your diet.
So the last point is when you’re trying to lose weight, don’t invest in products.
Instead. Reflect back upon your process. What you did last time.
What did you not enjoy about the process? And try to pinpoint those things.
The next time you start with another process, make sure those things are not part of it.
You’ll do great.
If you have been trying to reach your weight loss goals for a while now, but are struggling a bit in the process.
It’s probably because of a lack of consistency, a lack of guidance or a lack of support.
If you’d like a 24×7 support system to hold your hand and guide you through the process till you get to your goals, you should consider 1-on-1 coaching with Workday Physique.