If you took a survey to determine the biggest weight loss struggle you’d find the same result - sustainability. In fact, I surveyed those on social media and current weight loss clients and the answer was almost unanimous. “I know what to do to lose weight initially, the real struggle comes with keeping the weight off long term.” Earlier this year, both my mom and I had the opportunity to put ourselves through the Skinny Up! Protocol. We had differing goals, however, we were in agreement, we wanted to feel better and we wanted to find something that worked after the initial eating plan was complete. You can read about my journey here and here. You can read about mom’s here. In summary, I lost 15 pounds in three weeks and mom cycled through a few rounds of the protocol, bringing her current weight loss to almost 50 pounds. In her testimony she shares about how sustainability would be key. She was a self proclaimed yo yo dieter. Lose weight, gain it back. Lose weight again, gain more back. Can you relate?
So here we are, on the other side of success.And I can tell you, this part requires ownership, which happens to be the formula for sustainability. The more I learn about me and how my body works, the easier I can manage my own health without constant outside support. For me specifically, learning how to maintain weight while building in healthy, lean muscle is the path I’m forging. I know what to eat, how to slim back down if I have a cheat weekend, and how to gradually add in exercise and sufficient rest to build without feeling too heavy. Mom is also adding in light exercise, though she feels mobile and empowered because she knows what to eat and is continuing to learn what size of portions her body needs.
No matter who are or how your story reads, here are tips to implement as you transition from protocol to regular day to day:
- Weigh yourself daily, or not. So yes, weigh yourself daily. Also, if it is going to absolutely wreck your day to see what you already know (you can feel the weight of last night’s splurge), and need to skip a day for your emotional well-being, then skip a day. And take the responsibility of knowing you may need to implement a steak day - immediately, or tomorrow - when you decide to get back on the scale and gauge the damage (or possibility of your body quickly metabolizing with no damage!) Regardless, the scale will be a fantastic tool in reading the information your body has for you.
- Pay attention to your body’s cues. You’ll notice in the Lifestyle and Live Phases of the Protocol (both follow the Retrain Phase) you have the responsibility to monitor and identify which foods will be cautions for you for the rest of your life. During Reduce and Retrain, you were clued in on what to look for, how to start noticing what works for your body individually. So going forward, you’ll be paying attention to what your body needs. And this is beautiful and empowering. You have the control and constant feedback from your body, which gives you the ability to shift at any moment (what you’re eating, how much you’re sleeping, how much stress you’re allowing in your life).
- Journal, remind yourself what you’ve learned so far. Remember all you learned during the Reduce and Retrain phase? Keep a journal of what you’ve learned so you can reference it when you feel stuck or need to problem solve when you see a few more pounds on the scale. All you are learning now about yourself will support you in sustainability moving forward.
- Invite people in - to your life, your journey, your success. We are all in this together. The more you learn, the more you can share with others, and in turn the more support you will have around you, which always aides sustainability. If you want to live a healthy lifestyle for good, invite healthy people into your life, or those who have similar goals.
- Add in one variable at a time. When you make a change, pick one thing at a time. For example, if you want to see how your body reacts to potatoes, eat a potato and weigh yourself the following day, journal how you feel, pay attention to your body. If you, on the other hand, eat a potato and also eat ice cream, and you lift weights, and you sleep five hours instead of eight, you will not know which variable has contributed to weight gone or the difference you’ll see in your body. Change one thing to see how you react and then add in something different next time.