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I had a restless night the other night so I got up to watch late night TV and these so called “Big losers” don’t impress me, for numerous reasons. For example, weight is not fat. “Weight” could be composed of mostly lean tissue, or it could be mostly water weight. In fact, I would go a step further and point out that rapid loss of bodyweight correlates very highly with a greater chance of relapse, weight re-gain and long term failure.
So what does impress me? What gets my attention?
I pay attention to what the “long term maintainers” have to say – those are the people who have maintained an ideal weight for over a year. Preferably even 2-5 years or more.
The difference between losers and maintainers
As I was researching the subject of long term weight maintenance recently, I was surprised at the huge amount of research that’s already been done in this area.
Some major differences emerged between losers and maintainers:
First, a significantly higher proportion of successful maintainers reported exercising 30 minutes or more daily, and they also reported adding other physical activity to their daily schedules (recreation, sports, physical work, etc). In addition, more of the successful maintainers included weight training in their exercise regimens than did the losers.
Reducing sedentary activities (TV watching, etc) was also a significant difference between those who successfully maintained and those who did not.
The next big difference that separated the successful maintainers from the unsuccessful was in their “self-monitoring behaviours” including:
· tracking calories
· tracking body weight
· planning meals
· tracking fat
· measuring the amount of food on their plate
Unfortunately, these types of self-monitoring behaviours, especially weighing and measuring food and counting calories, are among the most avoided and even criticized weight control techniques. Some weight loss “experts” even claim that it’s detrimental to count calories, weigh yourself or measure and weigh your food.
However, these self monitoring behaviours are being identified more and more frequently in the research as part of “the difference that makes the difference.” I agree, and they have always played a major role in my own program.
THE TOP 5 STRATEGIES TO BE A SUCCESSFUL MAINTAINER
1. Increase your total daily activity level, including formal exercise as well as sports, physical work or recreational activity. Exercise improves weight loss, but more importantly, it is critical for weight maintenance.
2. Decrease sedentary recreational activities by cutting back on TV watching, computer games and web surfing. Take up physical recreation such as sports, boating, biking, walking, hiking, gardening, physical hobbies and playing with your kids, if you have them.
3. Include weight training as part of your formal exercise program, throughout the fat loss phase and even more seriously during maintenance and follow all the training tips set out.
4. Track and monitor everything! Use your challenge Diary to progress your food and training program(it’s less forgiving and won’t lie) and be part of our awesome community via the forum.
5. Avoid excuses (like it’s too cold to train) and maintain positive beliefs and attitudes towards your environment and what you perceive as “barriers.” For example, say, “I can always make time for what is most important to me” instead of, “I don’t have time to exercise.”
THIS is the type of advice I’d suggest you listen to the most: Advice about how to lose body FAT, not body WEIGHT, and how to maintain an ideal body weight and body composition over the long haul, not how to lose weight as fast as possible