Losing 100 Pounds – Finding a New Way of Living

I assume that if you want to lose weight, you want to keep the weight off too. Otherwise, what’s the point of doing all that work? The secret is changing your lifestyle, not just “going on a diet.” I’ll talk about that today.

In the previous post in this series, Learning What Works, I talked about sorting through all the conflicting advice to figure out what works for you. This post discusses the last of the five phases I went through. It’s the phase I still consider myself to be in–a new way of living. As a quick recap, here are the 5 phases I’ve identified:

  1. Gain the weight.
  2. Understand the impacts.
  3. Get on the path to weight loss.
  4. Learn what works in losing weight.
  5. Find a new way of living.

You May Not Want to Lose Weight Quickly

You can find a lot of people selling you ways to “lose weight quickly,” but you’re probably wasting your money. As frustrating as it may seem, the real key to a more permanent weight loss is to lose weight slowly and consistently. Many studies have shown that slower weight loss is more likely to be lasting weight loss. Rapid weight loss often leads to rapid weight gain shortly afterward.

You can’t maintain your loss if you can’t integrate the changes into your normal lifestyle. Both your body and your mind need to get used to a new way of living.

Studies say you should aim to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week, on average. Some weeks may be a little more; some a little less. When I was losing weight, I consistently averaged 1.5 pounds per week. That seemed very reasonable, and I looked forward to getting it off safely but fairly quickly. In hindsight, however, I wonder if that was still too fast, even though it fell within the “recommended rate.” In some ways, I might have been better off losing it even more slowly.

Get It and Forget It?

Getting to your goal weight isn’t the end of the line. Losing weight isn’t a one-time thing. You can’t just assume that once you lose it, you can go back to your old habits and be fine. It doesn’t work that way. It really doesn’t. You have to remain aware of what you’re doing every day.

It’s like decluttering your house. You can go through a big effort and get rid of all the excess junk in your house that has accumulated over time. However, if you’re not careful about stopping clutter from piling up again, you’ll soon find yourself in the same mess. Yo-yo decluttering in your house is bad enough, but yo-yo dieting is much worse. It puts a real strain on your body and makes it harder to lose weight in the future. It can really mess up your metabolism.

Change Your Likes. Change Your Life.

Changing my likes and dislikes is one of the major secrets to my success at losing weight and keeping it off. I didn’t just “go on a diet.” That phrase implies a temporary change that you put up with for a while. To most people, the very notion of a diet conjures up images of deprivation and pain. It’s not fun. No wonder we “go off our diet” so often. Then we wonder why it’s not working.

Instead, work on changing your lifestyle. Develop new likes and dislikes for food and physical activity. That way, you don’t need to think so much about being “on a diet.” For example, I made the following changes in my life:

  • I used to eat snack chips and white bread. Now, I eat fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains instead, because they make me feel better and they’re more satisfying.
  • I used to drink a lot of Coke and Diet Coke. (I hesitate to admit how much I loved Cherry Coke. I would drink one every morning instead of coffee.) Now, I drink water instead of soda because I prefer it. I can’t even touch a Coke now because it tastes awful to me.
  • I used to sit on the couch and watch TV. I couldn’t even walk around the block. Now, I exercise because I love it and I can. I’m even a triathlete and runner.

You definitely need to eat better and exercise more in order to lose weight. However, when I say diet and exercise are important, I really mean improving your nutrition and the amount you eat on a regular basis. I found the following two dictionary definitions of the word “diet” as it relates to food:

  1. what a person or animal usually eats and drinks; daily fare
  2. a special or limited selection of food and drink, chosen or prescribed to promote health or a gain or loss of weight

The second definition of diet is what helps you learn discipline and how to eat a new way. However, it ultimately comes down to changing your diet as defined in the first entry. It just becomes the way you like to eat.

What are you doing to develop a new lifestyle you love? Please let us know by leaving a comment.


Creative Commons License photo credit: E. E. Piphanies

Articles in the Series:
Losing 100 Pounds – The 5 Phases
Losing 100 Pounds – Gain It First
Losing 100 Pounds – Waking Up to Weight Gain
Losing 100 Pounds – On the Path to Weight Loss
Losing 100 Pounds – Learning What Works
Losing 100 Pounds – Finding a New Way of Living

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  • Losing 100 Pounds – Finding a New Way of Living | Declutter My House — November 3, 2010 @ 1:03 am

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