This article is a guest post written by Nick Kastrup. Nick owns the blog www.betterstrongerfastereveryday.com which is all about weightloss, fitness and nutrition, and in this post he will explore how you can avoid regaining weight, after having gone through all the hard work of losing it in the first place
It is a sad fact that most people gain back most of the weight they lose within a 5-year period. I know that I certainly fell into this trap the first time around, and our own loveable B.J. has done this too.
However, we both got back on the horse and managed to get rid of our excess weight the second time around, and this time for good. I took a different approach the second time around, and I think that that has made all the difference.
Let me provide you with a little bit of a back story:
When I was a kid I was severely overweight. When I was 12 years old I weighed almost 200 pounds, and I had tried every type of diet there was, and I had even tried seeing a personal nutritionist in order to help me with my weight problem, but nothing helped.
So what did I do? I went to fat-camp. I got my fat ass off to the country-side for 8 weeks and got started on the right path to lose my excess weight. A path I continued on after I got home, and I eventually fulfilled my original goal, and in less time than I had set out to do it in. It was the proudest part of my life up to that point, and I remember basking in the glory of every question even remotely similar to: “Did you lose weight?”
Because yes I did. You can bet your ass I did. And I was now a different person. I was a person who was in control of myself, and who no longer had unhealthy habits. I wasn’t a fat person anymore, I was a guy who was in shape, and I was ready to conquer the world with my new-found confidence.
Literally I went through every step outlined in this article.
Something happened. I started slipping. My habits got worse. I started caring less about what was eating and when. I don’t know when this happened, or specifically how.
When I look back on it, there wasn’t any specific moment or event which happened to me, which made me lose it. It just kind of kept up on me, gradually over time. A most dangerous creeping it was, because all of the sudden I was fat again. Without realizing what had actually happened, I just remember waking up one day and realizing that I’d gained 20 pounds, seemingly out of the blue.
Gone was all the coveted attention from girls. And all the coveted attention from my peers. I was back to being a sad, sorry, fat loner. And I had no idea why.
I started asking myself questions like how did this happen? More importantly, why did I let it happen in the first place? I was such a disciplined and healthy person. How did I go from where I wanted to go, and had struggled to be my entire life to this?!.
If anything I was now sadder than before, and it only made it worse, that I didn’t have any reasonable explanation for what had happened.
As they say however – hindsight is 20/20 – and slowly over time, I realized exactly what went wrong.
I had gotten content. I no longer had anything that I wanted to achieve. I was comfortable where I was, because it was somewhere I had struggled so long to get to. Of course the inevitable result followed. I gained back most of the weight I had fought so hard to lose, and this made me really depressed and sad – probably even worse than before I lost weight – simply because it had literally been the struggle of a lifetime to get rid of it in the first place.
Why most people regain weight
I’m not going to beat around the bush. The reason most people regain weight after losing it, is because they stop setting goals. They get content – just like I did, and they forget that in order to not fall back they need to keep moving.
This leaves us with one inevitable conclusion, namely that the most important key to staying healthy after losing weight is to continue setting goals.
See, the thing is, when we lose weight at first we set a goal that in x weeks, we’ll lose y pounds. This is achievable, and something that we can strive for. It’s tangible and we can feel it as we’re getting closer, and we start feeling better and better about ourselves.
For some reason though, we stop setting goals once we’ve reached our weight-loss goal. This means that we have no more motivation to do the things we were doing when we were losing weight, such as eating healthily and working out regularly, which are great habits, and something we need to stay healthy and fit.
Because we no longer have any goals, we have no more motivation to work out, other than the intrinsic motivation of looking and feeling good. Which for most of us is not enough, and that is why we feel back into our unhealthy ways, and start regaining some or all of the weight, which we fought so hard to lose in the first place.
How you can stay healthy in the long term – and not regain weight
We’ve already concluded that we need to set goals after we’ve lost weight in order to maintain our health, but how do we do this specifically and exactly what kind of goals are we supposed to set?
The only real data I have on this subject is my own experience, which means I can tell you what has worked for me, so in order to give you some good ideas, let me tell you what I did:
In order to prove to myself that I was really over being fat, and that I could hit any major goal, I decided to run a marathon. Which I did. In an absolutely terrible time (4 hours 17 minutes, not that I was counting).
Furthermore I was absolutely miserable the entire time I was doing it, but when all was said and done it was totally worth it.
It was worth it, because I proved to myself that I was now a fit person, who could run a marathon. And if I could do that I could do anything. That feeling of self-mastery, and the feeling that you can achieve any goal you set out to achieve is absolutely invaluable and to me, that is most powerful thing when it comes to weight-loss.
It’s not just losing weight, either. It’s about being able to stay fit for the rest of your life.
For me that is about setting goals that you can hit, keep on hitting them, and then setting new ones, once you’ve hit your previous ones.
Once I hit this goal I started new ones such as being able to do competitive Crossfit, which means mastering a range of highly complex movements. This is a way different goal than just staying in shape, because there is a motivation outside of just wanting to be healthy.
If you consistently set goals that relates to something tangible, like e.g. gaining 10 pounds of muscle in 6 months, or getting to a fat-percentage of 9, you are in a very good place when it comes to staying healthy for life, and keeping your unwanted excess weight off of your body.
The most important thing you can do is to find something that motivates you, and work towards that goal.
Do you want to learn more about the mental aspects of weight-loss? I think you’ll get a lot out of this podcast.
What I have learned on my weight-loss journey and its many ups and downs is that most people will regain weight after losing it. Which is really depressing and sad for that person, but we need not be discouraged.
The most important thing is to keep fighting, and keep on setting goals for you to achieve and hit, and you’ll make sure that you stay on track to be healthy, and in shape for the rest of your life.
And trust me when I say this, there is absolutely no better feeling in the world.
For more content on weightloss, fitness and nutrition visit Nick at Better Stronger Faster Everyday.