Most of you know I’m formerly morbidly obese. Weighing in at 296lbs at 28 is not something I’m particularly proud of, but it’s something I refer back to from time to time to bring up the issue of what it really takes to permanently lose weight.
It’s important because, if you’re reading this, you may know me now. That means you know I now exercise and teach exercise for a living. You also know I’m not particularly perfect. From this, you can ascertain two things:
- First, that long-term weight loss can be your reality too—if I can do it, you can too.
- Second, You know that to be healthy and strong is the ultimate goal, not any sort of false image of photo-shopped perfection (although a little photo-shopping isn’t bad once in awhile, right?!).
Here’s the real deal:
Making it to the finish line never happens. Sure, you can reach your goal weight, but then the job of maintaining that is almost always harder than losing the weight in the first place. There are lots of reasons for that, and the most important one is that you want to live your life.
I know you enjoy certain things…some of us like to have a glass of wine with dinner occasionally. Some of us really enjoy dessert. Some of us are from cultures where food is integral to joy and family and celebration. All of these things contribute to a lifelong struggle. Anyone can go on a short term fad diet, and there are plenty of them to try. Only some find a lifestyle of balance that keeps them in the healthy zone year after year. How is that done?
How to permanently lose weight and maintain a balanced lifestyle:
- It starts with YOU. If you aren’t convinced permanent weight loss can happen, you will rationalize your continued failure. Ok, you may rationalize your continued failure regardless, so that you can continue to do what you really want, which is eat the foods you enjoy but know aren’t working for you, or drink too much alcohol, even though you know it keeps the pounds on, or continue to eat too much sugar (dessert addicts) because you’re addicted and it’s just too hard to fight it. That’s pretty harsh, but it’s true. Following are excuses common to this: “I’m doing everything right but I just can’t lose a pound!”, “I only had 1 glass (know that your trainer knows this means 2-3 glasses) of wine but I just can’t give it up”, “I’m totally exercising! (but you only came once this week and didn’t do your homework)”.Know that until you make up your mind that you CAN overcome the sugar addiction, or the extra portions, or the extra glasses of wine, you will continue to be unsuccessful. Until you truly change your mindset to permanent lifestyle change, you will continue to falter. Once you do, however, you will find success follows you every step of the way.
- It requires SACRIFICE. Yes, you do have to limit that wine to one glass. No, you can’t have dessert every night and lose weight (unless you start to adjust your recipes to accommodate your new needs). Yes, you do need to be showing up daily at the gym, or getting in some form of movement daily. No, you can’t eat every weekend until you pass out and expect to get off that roller-coaster.
- You need a PLAN. If you turn around after reading this article, all fired up and ready to go, and plunge into the day willy-nilly, you will fail. You need to have a plan. You need to address your food and your exercise. Sometimes you can do that successfully with a log—writing everything down can be a great teacher. Others will need a professional to create a plan. Still others can do some research on the internet and create their own plan. Whatever is right for you, be assured you need to have the steps in a concrete format to move forward and be accountable to yourself.
- You need to STICK to your PLAN. Once you have decided what you are going to do, you have to do it. I know it sounds simple, but every day, I hear people say “I know my health is a priority, I’m starting this diet/exercise/plan/thingy today.” By tomorrow, that’s gone by the wayside, and then the following week I hear the same mantra all over again, from the same person, and the same lack of results has occurred. You are responsible for you. You need to take that responsibility seriously. Your health is in the balance. You are accountable to yourself.
- Stop the EXCUSES. Excuses help no one. They don’t help you. They don’t help me. They are just a cop out for not accomplishing your goals. You CAN take charge. You CAN win this battle of the bulge, and so much more.
Written by Melissa Abramovich, ACE CPT, NASM CGT, AAHFRP Medical Exercise Specialist at Elite Sports Club-River Glen
Melissa Abramovich went into Personal Training and Group Exercise instruction after successfully losing 140 pounds through healthy diet and exercise. Her desire to help others drove her forward into a career helping others to make healthier choices. She is an ACE certified personal trainer and now also a Medical Exercise Specialist (AAHFRP), helping clients with a myriad of health issues at Elite Sports Clubs. She holds a Bachelor’s degree, and many group exercise related certifications as well.