As I sat in my home office in Plymouth, MN (in between personal training sessions), my attention was grabbed by the familiar Facebook prompt: “So-And-So mentioned you in a comment…”
Curious, I entered the productivity killer of social media to see why I had been tagged in a comment. A woman named Libbie asked about how to keep weight off. She said she’d yo-yo’d the same twenty pounds for years, and that was driving her insane.
What does it take to achieve long-term weight loss? How can we make success sustainable? The trick is to be purposeful in fortifying our healthy standards. While the blueprint looks different for everyone, here are three ways to best position yourself for your weight loss success to last.
Personal Trainer Tip to End Yo-Yo Weight Loss #1 : Demote Your CEO
When an organization wants to change directions or raise their standards, they often times fire their CEO.
We all have a CEO. Who is yours? Is it your friend, spouse, or sibling? They are our partner in crime, our sharer of treats, our…Chief Enabling Officer!
The greatest challenge in raising our standards (and keeping those standards) is that we often are surrounded by people who don’t raise their standards with us. That’s our CEO. They are the one trying to convince us that we deserve a night out when we promised ourselves we wouldn’t go out for apps, drinks, or dessert. They are the one texting you a photo of them at your favorite restaurant, asking if you want to swing by. Your CEO likes you just the way you are…in part because it is close to the way they are.
To maintain weight loss in the long run, we need to marry the higher health standard we’ve been dating. Make it permanent! Make it official! And who is standing in the way of our permanent improved relationship with our health? Our Chief Enabling Officer! I’m not suggesting you disown your sibling or best friend. I am suggesting that you re-work the rules and roles of the relationship to guarantee your success.
Change your schedule to force yourself out of your CEO’s most enticing standing offer. Is it apps and drinks at Trivia Thursday? Join a group fitness class for the next ten weeks that meets on Thursday nights. Is watching the game with him going to result in a caloric and gluten tsunami capable of wiping out your entire week of clean eating? Watch the game at your place while you cook clean food for the upcoming week.
Maybe you invite your former CEO to join you at the fitness class and clean cooking. Maybe you don’t. Either way, it’s important for you to recognize who your CEO is, which rules you need to change in the relationship to guarantee your weight-loss success, and what new role they will best serve in your life. You may have room for them as your CMO (Chief Makeover Officer…when you have earned a non-food reward like a massage or pedicure).
Losing weight is hard work. You deserve every opportunity to maintain your progress. Demote your CEO to make sure you can protect your new, healthier standards.
Personal Trainer Tip to End Yo-Yo Weight Loss #2: Get Yourself a Bulldog
The best way to fortify your healthy standards is to find and hang out with a bulldog. You know who I’m talking about. They are the one who has standards that intimidate you. They are the one who can do things in the gym you only wish you could do…or can’t imagine yourself doing. You admire the strength of their discipline (and discipline, by the way, is the muscle we must strengthen most when we want to make lasting health change).
Maybe it’s a personal trainer like myself (I typically serve the western suburbs of Minneapolis). Maybe it’s your friend that we don’t see as much since they raised their health standard (does that make us their former CEO???). Find someone who has the type of standards and discipline you want. They are the type of person that takes accountability seriously. You start slacking off? They will get in your face about it. You keep slacking off? They won’t have time for you. They are, after all, a bulldog.
Your bulldog won’t let you skip a workout. They will text you to ask if you stuck with the lunch you brought to work instead of partaking in the pre-diabetes party your co-workers like to call “Flatbread Friday!”
Your bulldog should deliver the discipline, accountability, and consistency to help you fortify your healthy standard. If you want to end your yo-yo weight loss, get yourself a bulldog!
Personal Trainer Tip to End Yo-Yo Weight Loss #3: Integrate Fresh Ideas Into Your Program
Variety is not only the spice of life…it is the self-imposed road less traveled that keeps us traveling down the healthy path! A new recipe and a fresh set of exercises can go a long way to keeping us on track. A bit of variety allows us to stick with what works without finding ourselves so bored we stop doing the work.
What’s missing from your food plan? Do you need a good soup recipe as the temperatures turn colder? Is it a sweet tooth that begs for you to find a Paleo blueberry crumble (I love the one in Diane Sanfilippo’s book “Practical Paleo”)?
I’ve done the math. There are 1.2 gazillion recipes on Google, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook. Make it a point to integrate a new recipe twice a month or more. A fresh idea keeps us engaged, delivers fresh energy, and helps keep our eye from wandering from the game plan we know is working for us.
As you may have experienced, new and different exercises can surprise our body. Recently, I did a hamstring exercise I hadn’t done in awhile. During the exercise, I could REALLY feel my hamstrings getting good work. I was excited about how good it felt to engage my hamstrings in such a way. And then I was sore. For eight days! I REALLY surprised my hamstrings!
I’m not saying the goal is to be sore for days on end because of a new exercise. What I am saying is that our bodies can get into a groove with our exercise routine…and sometimes that groove turns into a rut. By integrating new exercises here and there (safely…and in moderation…lest we get sore hamstrings for EIGHT STINKING DAYS!), we can defend against a stale fitness experience.
New ideas provide the variety we need to keep us engaged. By keeping our program fresh, our journey keeps us engaged, which helps us fortify our healthy standard!
Winning with weight loss for the long term is no easy task. If losing weight requires raising our standards, then keeping off the weight requires fortifying those standards. If you can create distance from your chief enabling officer, find yourself a bulldog, and keep your program fresh, you will be on the path to cutting ties with yo-yo weight loss.