Maintaining weight loss is not for the faint of heart.
There are a million ways to lose weight, but only one way to keep it off.
Maintenance is best done using, among other things, data and accountability.
We need basic information on a regular basis so we can note our progress. One of these useful data points is the number on the scale.
So, what do you do when the scale is moving in the wrong direction?
And the answer makes all the difference.
It’s the difference between yo-yo dieting and maintaining. It’s the difference between hopelessness and freedom. It’s the difference between punishment and grace.
Here’s my best advice on what to do when the number on the scale drifts up:
1. Don’t panic
It’s just a number and it can’t hurt you. In fact, be thankful for it because it’s telling you something is off and needs attention.
2. Write it down
This is important. Hopefully, if you’ve been maintaining a while, you’ve been documenting your weekly weight, so you’ve noticed the trend. But even if this is the first time you write it down, it’s a powerful way to acknowledge the reality of today.
3. Watch your day
Time to become aware. Have you been logging your food? If not, now is the time to (re) start. If you have been, go over your last week or two and see what’s up. Often you’ll notice a new habit or more “out” meals than when the scale was where you like it.
What are you going to change? Do you need to breakout the food scale and measuring spoons and cups? Do you need to bring your lunch from home more often like you used to do? Do you need to reinstate walking Wednesdays? Notice where things may have gone awry and rein it back in.
5. Stick with it
Keep doing what needs to be done for as long as it needs to be done to get that number back to where you want it. All the work you put in now when the number is only starting to drift will be worth it. Dealing with 3 pounds is a whole lot different than dealing with 8. Your clothes still fit and you can get it done in weeks rather than months.
The truth is: this is what maintenance looks like. Constant tweaking so you stay in your narrow range.
Supposedly it’s much like flying an airplane.
You set a destination then keep correcting the flight path with small redirects until you make it. Leaving the plane pointed in a slightly off direction over time can get you to Florida even though you were aiming for New York.
Don’t land in Florida. You’ll have all the wrong clothes.