People say that losing weight is easy, while maintaining weight loss is hard. Well, people say a lot of things. And since I’m a person, I’m going to say a thing also.
Losing weight is hard. Maintaining it should not be. And if maintaining weight loss is hard, it probably means that you’re eating the wrong things.
Why is losing weight hard?
I can’t imagine how losing weight can be easy. I lost weight slowly over a period of two years. I had a goal in mind, and I never faltered. I’m still not 100% there, but I am closer every day.
And guess what. It was HARD as hell. It remains hard. Because in order to lose weight, no matter how you do it, you are starving in some sense. You need your body to use what it has by not giving it what it wants. And that’s hard.
Before your body starts losing weight, you need to burn through: 1) the glucose in your blood; 2) the glycogen in your muscles; and then and only then will it begin on fat reserves.
Sure, there are harder things than losing weight. And sure, there are things you can do to make it less hard. But it’s hard nonetheless, and I have no doubt that some days you will just want to give up.
Why Maintaining Weight Should Be Easy
How did you get heavy in the first place?
Chances are you ate too much crap. But that doesn’t mean it was entirely your fault. Yes, you made bad choices. You probably either made:
- very bad choices over a short period of time, OR
- slightly bad choices over an extended period of time
But in any event, you were under the influence of the food industry, and also of silly FDA guidelines which don’t make much sense. You were getting unfit in an unfit world. And that’s OK.
Sure – it make sense, from the standpoint of biological fitness, for many of us to overeat when food is abundant. Who knows – you might even be genetically or culturally pre-disposed to this issue. And that sucks.
But pre-dispostion won’t keep a mindful and well-informed person fat. Because your fitness level is based more than anything on:
- the foods you eat; AND
- the habits you maintain.
The foods you eat are based on availability and your habits. And if you’ve been overweight, then the chances are the you probably formed some bad eating habits. And that’s OK. It’s hard to form fit habits in an unfit world.
But now that you’ve lost the weight, you’ve had the chance to build good habits! Or one would hope.
If you’ve truly build good habits – you can relax a little. All you need to do is maintain those good habits and you should maintain your loss. Of course old ways can come creeping back. So stay mindful.
But if you haven’t built good habits – you need to keep working. Not at losing weight, but at building those good habits. Because good habits are what you need to maintain your weight without suffering. Eating well needs to be your preference! And it can be.
Are there factors other than good habits that might make maintenance hard? Sure. You might have sleeping issues, or hormonal issues. Or you might be largely sedentary due to a medical condition. But habits are important. You cannot stay fit without good habits.
Will your metabolism slow with age? Yes. You’ll need to make adjustments for all sorts of reasons: age, varying activity levels, etc. But now all you need to do is fill your body with good stuff, and you will stay at a healthy weight.
Maybe this all seems obvious, or easier said than done.
But it’s important to take notice of the power of habit. And it’s important for you to be able to look at yourself and figure out whether you’ve TRULY formed good habits – or whether, on the other hand, those habits are superficially or weakly engrained.
Because if you think maintaining your weight is hard, then it’s likely that your good habits aren’t strongly engrained in your mind. In this case, it might be helpful for you to think about ways that you can further strengthen your habits. For more on habits, check out my post Why Emotional Eating is Actually Habitual Eating.
Until you ACTUALLY PREFER eating and living well, your weight might always be a struggle. So learning to hack that preference by delving into habit formation might just make your life awesome.
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