We spend a lot of time talking about dieting. And reaching a healthy weight. Or reaching health in general. But the fact is, that’s only the start. Once you reach it, you need to maintain it. And unfortunately, many people do not. Hence the dieting industry can be quite a lucrative business as people go from one diet to the next as they lose and then find the weight they once lost.
Here at the Balanced Nutritionist, we don’t want to help you find health and happiness for a short while…. we would like you to leave us knowing you have the skills to hold onto these gifts for life! Want to know the secret to maintain a healthy weight? It is all about habits and mindset. We are so passionate about this topic that we covered it off in a recent podcast on The Nourished Wrap; you can listen in here.
Anyhow, this little blog is a synopsis of the podcast, covering 10 key tips for how to maintain a healthy weight.
If you are at the start of a health journey then begin with the end in mind and consider these tips from the very beginning. If you’ve reached your goal, then these tips will help you maintain your new-found health and happiness.
1. Do not think about this as the ‘end’ of your health journey and certainly do not think about when you can ‘go back to how things were before.‘ Health is a lifelong journey. To be healthy is a serious decision you make every minute of every day. You choose to live in line with the value of health. There is no ‘going back to how things were’ because those habits did not serve you well remember? You need to decide that the changes you have made are going to stay with you (mostly) for life.
2. Perfection is not possible. Consistency is what matters. You may have read tip 1 and thought ‘oh gee I have to be this perfect forever!?” No. Life is about balance. Its what you do MOST of the time. NOT the occasional treats and moments you fall off the wagon. You WILL fall off the wagon. Just like a puppy dog walking along a footpath – there will be exciting smells that drag them into the bushes. For you, there will be birthdays and weddings and family and friends and days or even weeks of stress when TV dinners and takeaways are more frequent. That’s ok. Move on. Forgive yourself. Pick yourself back up. And get back on the wagon when you can.
3. Your health is your responsibility. It is easy to say that you do not have time. Our work is making exercise impossible. Or it’s too cold or too dark or healthy is too expensive. Ultimately…. we are all responsible for making it happen. If it’s important enough… you will find a way. Some of the busiest, most successful people in the world are the healthiest and fittest as well.. and that takes time. We all have the same amount of time in the day. Live according to your values and if health and happiness are one of those – then live in line with that.
4. Self-monitor and self-correct. If you want to remain healthy and happy for life, you need to self-monitor. Check-in with you – are you still feeling good? Well? Are your clothes getting a bit tight? Are you going to weigh yourself once a month to check that you are looking after yourself? Or do you just go by feel? Do you have a loved one, a partner, a friend, an exercise buddy… that you can talk to and unload and admit when you’ve let things slide again, but that you are prepared to get back into things. My husband and I keep each other accountable to little things like our exercise, not going overboard with our love for a glass of wine and eating well…. because its important to both of us. It doesn’t mean we don’t have days off or nights when we may enjoy a couple of glasses… but I know I can tell him if I feel like I am overdoing it and vice versa. And then we can check-in and make sure we course correct. If you don’t know someone you can have this kind of relationship with then maybe seeing your nutritionist or health professional for regular check-in visits ongoing is worth it?
5. Consider changing your environment. If you have a whole bunch of friends who love eating greasy food often, drinking lots and don’t support you to make better decisions most of the time…. you may want to spend a little less time with them. You also want to make sure that the family is on board as well and that everyone else in the household isn’t eating take away in front of the TV every night! Surround yourself with others that have the same healthy values as you. Consider new activities to do with your friends if needed; like day hikes, or coffee in the park in the sunshine instead of less toxic activities. Or consider a gym, walking group, or similar where others are committed to their health and enjoying it as well!
6. It’s not just about the numbers. Health is a feeling. It’s not a number on the scales. Use weight if you like to monitor… but don’t ‘give up’ because that number isn’t the one you want. Consider how good you FEEL. THAT is SO MUCH MORE special than ‘your number.’
7. Get Support if needed ALWAYS. Sort of like point 4 and point 5….. no harm in investing in ongoing support. Like… you may want to have a follow-up appointment with your nutritionist or health professional every 3-6 months to make sure you are on track? Or perhaps you want to see someone more regularly as a trainer every week. Why not invest a little more often? The cost of letting everything go and then starting again from the beginning is far higher! Financially, emotionally, physically, and mentally!
8. Be organised with your time, it’s worth it! Sorry. But healthy is not always convenient. You need to have a food plan. Shop for fresh food fairly often. Spend a bit of time preparing it. Spend time moving. Monitor your work/life balance. Sleep well. etc. BUT... how much time will it cost you IF you do NOT do these things? If you were sick, sluggish, tired, exhausted all the time? A LOT. That is a FACT. So it is worth it. It is soooo worth it!
9. Accept how far you have come and be proud and grateful. Does not matter if you’ve only lost 5kg and you need to lose 60kg. It matters not where you are on the journey… just that you are on the journey! If you just keep focusing on the end and choose only to be proud and happy then… you will be disappointed when you get there. Celebrate all of the little changes you make. It’s not a race. It’s a lifelong journey.
10. Inspire others. Now that you are healthy and happy, you don’t need to ‘lecture’ others but set an example for your children and other little ones in your life, your neighbours, the people at your work who may be feeling a bit rotten. If you can be healthy and happy so can they. And a society full of happy and healthy adults and children would be a really positive, productive, and wonderful one wouldn’t it?
Cheers to lifelong health and happiness!