A while back, I reviewed a press release of sorts shared by a member from my Facebook page suggesting that “It’s nearly impossible to permanently lose weight.” What a silly notion!
The fallacy in this bogus argument that permanent weight loss isn’t achievable lies in a serious misunderstanding of a critical truth – Permanent weight loss is not a destination, it’s a journey. In order to achieve long-term weight loss, the practice of weight management has to be sustained, indefinitely.
What exactly is weight management? Well, as the phrase implies, weight management is simply the act of maintaining your current body weight. Since over 90% of people who lose weight regain the weight within a 3-5 year period (or less), weight management is typically a primary goal after weight loss.
As a clinically and industry trained exercise physiologist, nutritionist, and research scientist with extensive expertise in weight loss, and one who’s personally battled obesity, I understand what it takes to experience long-term success. It takes some real work and it doesn’t come in a bottle or in the form of a pre-packaged meal.
The 90% of people who enter repeated cycles of weight loss and weight regain are failing to make sensible eating, regular exercise and other forms of physical activity a lifestyle. Weight loss is not a one-off activity; you’re in this fight forever.
Related Article: A Simple Guide to Eating Sensibly
Before you make the decision to lose weight, you need to ask yourself why you’re trying to lose weight in the first place.
Is your decision driven by vanity-related goals like getting rid of stubborn belly fat, looking good in a bathing suit or improving the appearance of your backside? If this is the case, I can almost guarantee your weight loss won’t be sustained. Think about it, if your goals are solely vanity-based, what’ll keep you motivated once they’re achieved?
Now, while there isn’t anything inherently wrong with having such goals, you’ll need to also set longer term goals that’ll help you build the motivation to incorporate weight management as a lifestyle.
Do you want to improve your overall quality of life? Would you like to be a grandparent or even a great-grandparent one day? What is your ‘big picture’? Once you’ve determined your exact long term motivation for weight loss, you can then start setting realistic goals and working towards long-term results.
As a research scientist, I have a duty to be objective when faced with statistics. However, as an empathetic human being with a desire to change the lives of other human beings, its also my duty to factually tell it like it is.
You can certainly achieve long-term weight loss if your mind is in the right place. But, if you don’ believe you can do it, you won’t make an effort to take the necessary steps to do it. The necessary steps take work on your part and, unfortunately, most folks are just not willing to put in that work.
Personally, every morning I wake up with one simple goal in mind – Staying healthy.
Sure, I love my curvy figure so I make an effort to keep it intact by eating sensibly and exercising regularly. But, this isn’t my long-term motivation.
I don’t want to be sick. I don’t want to manage a disease that could have been prevented by way of living a healthy lifestyle. I want to grow old with my husband and live to see my son as he fully develops. I also want to serve as his healthy role model so that he won’t have to face the same obesity problems I faced during childhood.
These goals are on my mind each time I put on my sneakers and go for a run, each time I make the decision to park my car far away from a destination or take the stairs instead of the elevator, each time I reject the urge to bring junk food into the house, each time I decide to prepare a healthy meal at home as opposed to eating fast food.
Pursuing this goal allowed me to lose 65 pounds as an adolescent, 65 pounds after pregnancy, and continually maintain a healthy weight to this day.
Related Article: Intermittent Fasting: How I Control My Weight by Eating One Meal a Day
The notion of one not being able to achieve long-term weight loss is absolute baloney and anyone who continues to fail by buying in to this notion is simply using it as an excuse.
In fact, this very idea prompted me to write my book Leaving Your Fat Behind. My goal in writing this book, and in everything I do, is to teach people how to successfully achieve and manage a healthy and desirable body weight that keeps them in good health and good shape for the rest of their life.
Successfully maintaining a weight loss is all up to you. The same hard work and dedication that leads to short-term weight loss is necessary for achieving long-term results. The 10% of people who’ve lost weight and continued to keep it off (myself included) have four things in common:
- They implemented a dietary weight loss plan involving moderate calorie restriction (a reduction of daily calorie intake by 15-17%) with sensible eating strategies.
- They supplemented their dietary weight loss plan with structured exercise (cardio activity and weight training) and spontaneous physical activity (taking the stairs and sporadic walking).
- They maintained sensible eating patterns after achieving weight loss.
- They continued to accumulate at least an hour of daily exercise/physical activity after weight loss, indefinitely.
Once again, whether or not you’re successful is all up to you. With over 15 years in the game, I can confirm that these four strategies work. But, they require just that — WORK.