Confidently Make Summer Weight Loss Happen

June 21, 2016 in Exercise, Fitness, Weight Management by Joyce Bunderson

I know that some of us had plans to lose weight and be at out perfect swimsuit weight by now; but others of us didn’t quite make it. Since we’re hopefully not trying to lose weight only for this one swimsuit season, but to maintain a healthy body and weight; it seems that this is a wonderful season to continue working on it. Fresh salads fit so nicely into summer eating and getting out into the fresh air calls to us. So if you’ve not attained and maintained your desired weight by this time of year, don’t give up. Keep making new goals and keep motivating yourself to move in a healthy direction.

It has been reported that many people are disheartened by the headlines about the weight regained by some of the Biggest Loser participants due to metabolic slowdown. I admit that I’ve not watched more than a few minutes of the Biggest Loser broadcast. I fundamentally have a difference of opinion. Losing weight super fast by exercising most of the day and eating specially prepared meals is not part of what I’ve come to embrace as valuable in weight management. This method is inherently not sustainable. I have been convinced, through years of counseling individuals and reading what works sustainably, that making permanent life-style changes is what will work long term – and the long term is what really matters. It seems unlikely that many people can exercise most of the day or have enough money to hire a private chef to cook special low-calorie meals.

I realize that a television show can’t just wait around for real life; while a person learns new habits. But what I do know is that people do lose weight and do really keep it off. I also know that it’s not so attractive to people merely to eat fewer calories and exercise more. But it really does work – as boring as it may sound. I know (and maybe you know too) people who have lost weight and kept it off. None that I know have lost a hundred pounds in a couple of months and kept it off. But the fact still remains, that it is possible to reduce weight and reap the benefits of a lower weight. (A few benefits of maintaining a healthy weight may include: experience less urinary incontinence; decrease sleep apnea; improve blood pressure; improve sexual function; enable some to stop or take fewer medications/less medications; increase mobility; stave off diabetes; improve cardiovascular health and possibly be happier.)

This type of weight loss can happen with or without a TV trainer. Just lace up your walking shoes and take the first step. What makes it permanent is making it part of your new way of living – it doesn’t stop when you reach your target. According to the National Weight Control Registry, people who have lost weight and have kept it off for years continue to do about 60 minutes of exercise a day. An hour six days a week, seems like a big deal, if you’re not exercising. But you can start with what you’re able to do. Eventually you can increase the time. Another technique is to break it into 2 or 3 – 20 minute workouts. It’s good to remember to include some resistance training, using weights or bands, two to three times a week. This helps maintain your muscle mass – which is what helps preserve your metabolism. Certainly, you want to do what you can to avoid a big metabolic slowdown such as the Biggest Loser people suffered.

When you’re in the process of creating a new eating/exercising program, a big part of the challenge is in your mind. You may want to recognize that your calendar may contain planned events that involve unhealthy eating. They may become planned mini-splurges. Some people call this an 80/20 concept. They eat healthfully with calories in mind 80 percent of the time and allow for planned splurges the other 20 percent. For me, I try to have closer to 95 percent of our at home food to be in the healthy category. Then when we go to someone else’s home or to a restaurant, I plan moderation so it won’t be permanently devastating. A quick return to the “at home” eating, leads to a fairly rapid recovery.

It is definitely a process – learning to commit to regular exercise and adapting to different eating habits, but the payoff is that you don’t just gain it back. The fact is that it can be done and you can read about people who have done it a hundred different ways, in the National Weight Control Registry. Years ago, I wrote a number of times about those registered in the National Weight Control Registry. What’s nice about the NWCR is that people lost weight and maintained their lower weight in many different ways. They did not all follow an identical plan. There’s even more research now and they’re discovered some commonalities. You can read about them on the NWCR website. But one of the important facts is that the successful people believed that they could do it. Now there’s a new Thin For Life book by Fletcher, but the story is still basically the same. The biggest take-away lesson is that it’s not hopeless; the way some may feel after reading about those on the Biggest Loser show whose metabolisms crashed and they gained it all back. You can succeed using your own variation on the Boring Tortoise Technique.

So I send you my best wishes, to utilize these beautiful months; find some great place to take a walk in nature and maybe develop a new eating habit or a new recipe.