4 easy ways to keep the weight off
After months of avoiding tempting treats, logging your meals, and exercising several times a week, you’ve finally reached your goal weight…only to return to your old, unhealthy ways and size.
It’s a situation many people struggle with. And it’s two-fold. As well as the emotional effects of weight gain, unhealthy eating and fitness habits can make it difficult to manage certain medical conditions over the long term.
The good news is that adopting a few key strategies can mean better health and consistent weight maintenance over the course of your life.
1. Ask yourself why
The reasons behind someone’s decision to lose weight are many and might include:
- Fitting into a dress for a high school reunion
- Being able to run after a toddler
- Avoiding health issues such as type 2 diabetes or high cholesterol
Whatever the goal, before embarking on a weight-loss regimen, it’s important to identify the reason driving your decision. That’s because your motivation matters more than getting to a number on the scale. By understanding why weight loss is important to you, you’re more likely to stick with it because it’s meaningful to you.
Understanding what’s motivating you to exercise plays a big role in whether or not you will stick with it.
“If you're really going to stay motivated to lose weight, the first thing you need to do is determine what actually motivates you,” says Anne Dranitsaris, PhD, and author of Who Are You Meant to Be? “For example, if you are inspired by your family, focus on how exercising will help you remain in your kids’ lives well into your old age.”
2. Make it fun
If you’re someone who has a hard time getting to the gym, working out with others might make it less of a chore.
Researchers at the University of Southern California found that those who exercised with friends said they liked it more than sweating solo. Another benefit? You’re more likely to make exercise a lifelong habit if you enjoy it.
You don’t have to make complicated plans to meet up with friends. There are a handful of simple ways to exercise with others, including:
- Speed-walking your dog with a neighbor before breakfast
- Joining your coworkers at a lunchtime fitness class
- Hitting tennis balls with your kids on Saturdays
3. Keep your eyes on the prize
As with weight loss, understanding what’s motivating you to exercise plays a big role in whether or not you will stick with it.
And reminding yourself of your reason – whether it’s to be in better shape for travel or to avoid osteoporosis – will help keep you on track when obstacles get in your way.
And they will. Everyone gets the urge to quit. Their reasons may be:
- Hitting a plateau
- Being too busy with work
- Kids’ schedules
- Caring for an elderly family member
By keeping the reason for working out top of mind and making fitness a priority, you’ll be better able to avoid making excuses for skipping out on exercise.
4. Take small steps
While goals like losing 5 pounds in a week, completing a marathon, or cutting body fat percentage in half are aspirational, they can also be difficult to achieve and may leave you feeling frustrated and more likely to give up.
Set small goals instead such as:
- Cutting out your daily bag of potato chips
- Running a mile without stopping
- Losing 1 pound a week
You’ll feel great as a result and will be more likely to stick to future goals you set for yourself.
Weight loss is rarely easy. But if you maintain your motivation, you’ll be better able to meet your goals and stay healthy over the course of your lifetime.
To help you make meaningful, manageable changes to your lifestyle, Blue Shield offers a suite of total health programs called Wellvolution®, which you can enroll in at no additional cost. These programs offer lifestyle-based approaches to health. For example, the Walkadoo® program to keep your body moving, Diabetes Prevention Program to help you lose weight, and QuitNet® to help you quit smoking.
You can also take advantage of the many discounts our plans offer – on fitness equipment, massage, acupuncture, chiropractic care, vitamins, and supplements.
Ready to get in better shape?
Stay fit by adopting a few key strategies that’ll get you moving and feeling great.