Strive to Thrive

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How to Ensure That You'll Be Trim for Life

Some weight maintenance plans that will ensure that you don’t backslide.

Have you ever lost a lot of weight and were “committed” to never regain it again, but you didn’t have a plan? If so, you are just like more than 80% of people who lose weight only to put it right back on. I have now maintained my weight losses for three years and it feels great. Just as there is no one silver bullet for weight loss, there is no one silver bullet for maintenance either. Sometimes it can be motivating and refreshing to try a variety of different plans or approaches to maintenance. My brothers and I have tried a number of approaches that have been effective, but each has its pros and cons. However, each of them contains the essential elements I have focused on for successful motivation: pain, pleasure, and accountability.

Our Basic Maintenance

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Currently, I report to my brothers every Friday, and if on a certain Friday I weigh more than 135, I am “On Notice.” Essentially, it’s kind of like getting a verbal warning at work that you need to shape up or you’ll be shipped out. Just admitting to my brothers that I have gone over my threshold is not a pleasant thing for me to do and I try to avoid doing so at all costs. But, while being strict about this, you do want to allow some time for repentance. So, I put myself on notice and then I have a full week to revert back to strict dieting measures to get the weight back down to < 135. If by the following Friday I have not returned to < 135, then I must write a check for $100 to each of my brothers—that’s $200, not a comfortable fee to have to pay. However, the objective isn’t to make someone else pay up, but for each of us to stay under our threshold weight, so neither brother will cash the check unless by the following Friday I am still not <135. So, essentially, we give ourselves two full weeks to repent and do a course correction. Yet, having to 1) admit to having gone over your threshold is an uncomfortable hit to your pride and is typically enough to get you back into gear. However, if the heat hasn’t been turned up hot enough at this point with the threat of paying out, then 2) having to actually write and send a check that you know will be cashed at the end of the week should really get that water boiling under you in a hurry. If this is not enough to motivate you to get back under your threshold, then it probably means that you should make the check amount much higher.

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This method worked well for us, but it did create some problems: It was very easy to do some short-term yo-yo dieting on this system, gaining weight and then crash dieting to lose it again in time. It was also easy to take several cheat days in a row right after our deadline had passed. To learn how we changed our plan to deal with these challenges, and how you can implement different penalties to deal with problems in your own plan, check out my book Four Truths About Weight Loss That Nobody Tells Younow available for purchase in Kindle or Hard Copy. - Or you can visit www.fourweightlosstruths.com to learn more and to download a Free copy of the Introduction and Chapter 1.

Conclusion

Ultimately, you need to set up a strong weight maintenance plan if you want to even have a chance at maintaining your losses. A key element of this plan needs to be pain—make it so painful to go back to how you used to be that you will never regain those former pounds. Weekly accountability with your team is a must—design your system accordingly.  You may need to check back in with each other and make adjustments from time-to-time, so don’t be too inflexible. The key is to make the system doable, so that you all stay fully engaged. A successful team accountability program will keep you moving forward for a lifetime of great health! Check out my book, Four Truths About Weight Loss That Nobody Tells Youfor more ideas on how you can create a plan for accountability to keep you on track for lasting weight maintenance.

Nathaniel Lambert, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor at the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University. 

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