Maintaining Momentum

14 01 2013

Sam ZizziTo Maintain Your Success . . . . or to Renew Your Efforts, here are a few tips:

Make your health a high priority in your life. When you reach a level of commitment where your healthy lifestyle is just as important as family and work – and in fact helps you be better at home and work – then decisions get a lot easier. Time for exercise holds the same weight in your weekly calendar as a doctor’s appt or work meeting. Food preparation and planning time get worked into each weekend. It becomes natural.

Stick with it, even when you encounter barriers or disruptions to your routine. Life is not a straight path, so don’t expect it to be. When we interviewed some of our “biggest losers” in the program, they all experienced struggles and conflicts but were able to stick with their habits over time by keeping mindful of their stated goals. So what if you fell off the wagon for a couple weeks due to a vacation, illness, or other disruption. Pick up the pieces and write your comeback story!

Keep yourself accountable. Keep track of your food and exercise every day. Logs and journals don’t work if you don’t use them daily. Weight maintainers are mindful of their intake and output each and every day.

Find support for your goals. In addition to keeping yourself honest during this process, you may need to seek out some help from family members, friends, or PEIA staff members during this process. Find an exercise partner if you need one or join a group exercise class or start a “salad group” at your workplace. There a many ways to surround yourself with people who support your goals, and by taking time to seek out positive support, you will find the process more manageable and less stressful.

When in doubt, work out! In a review of weight management research, the number one factor consistent among long term weight loss maintainers was regular physical activity (>5 days per week of 60+ minutes). Many of the successful participants in WV report “walking daily”, regularly attending a gym (3+ times a week), and finding other ways to sneak physical activity into their schedule. All the small changes really add up, and keep you focused on healthy choices every week.

Mix up your routine. Finding new types of activities to do once you get comfortable with your basic plan can help long-term motivation. Variety keeps options open for gym- and home-based exercise, and keeps motivation high. Don’t be afraid to ask your personal trainer or exercise physiologist to switch up your routine, or to provide some options for home-based activities.

Develop new food skills. For weight maintenance, most participants indicated that the food changes are harder to stick with compared to exercise. Get your RD to help you develop the skills you need to fit healthy eating into your family, work, and social gatherings. It can happen, other people have done it. Why not you??

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