“I’ve lost 100 pounds over the last year!” Marla erupted.

I believe my jaw literally dropped. This was 20 years ago when Americans weren’t as obese as they are now and Marla was the first person I’d ever seen who had lost that amount of weight. She looked terrific and I heartily congratulated her.

I ran into her six months later at church. It was obvious she had gained a significant amount of weight back. A year later, she had gained all the lost weight back (and probably more). I felt genuinely sad for her. Through the grapevine, I learned she attempted suicide. I moved and don’t know what  happened to Marla.

Whether you struggle with 10, 20 or even 100 pounds, losing weight is the easy part. It’s permanent weight loss that’s so incredibly hard. When motivation is high and you’re on a diet and exercise regime you feel great. People are cheering you on–both in real life and online. Losing weight can almost be addicitive.

Invariably though, when you reach your goal, motivation slackens and people move on. The likes on social media become fewer and your family gets used to your new self. You feel  you “deserve” some treats and cheat days. You start skip your group training classes.

Little by little, the scale creeps up.  Losing weight permanently seems impossible. That’s because it is; 95% of people who lose weight gain it back. For those of you who didn’t pass math, that’s a dismal 5% success rate.

If you’ve recently lost weight, what can you do to make sure it’s permanent weight loss?  Here are three steps that can help you stop the weight from creeping back up.

Step 1: For Permanent Weight Loss Find A Diet You Can Live With FOREVER

The biggest mistake dieters make is to go right back to their old eating patterns. I’ve done it myself. It’s true, old habits die hard!  As Einstein said, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Yet people trying to keep their weight loss permanent, do the same thing over and over and fail.

The truth is, you have to find a way of eating that you enjoy, that leaves you satisfied and that you can live with forever.

For some people that will be Weight Watchers .

For others, it could be Keto, Paleo, or simply counting calories.  Honestly, it all works and every person has to discover what works best for them. I  enjoy Weight Watchers and Atkins. But you may hate those programs. That’s cool. Experiment and find what YOU like. Once you’ve lost the weight,  You must stick with the maintenance portion forever. Let me repeat–FOREVER.

That’s why it’s critical you find an eating pattern you (mostly) enjoy.

Female eating healthy diet for weight loss

Step 2: Exercise For Permanent Weight Loss

There is no way around it. The most successful people who maintain a weight loss exercise for about one hour per day.

If you love to workout, skip to step #3.  If you hate to exercise, we have you covered. It’s not all that bad. Studies show that even just walking for an hour helps. No need to spend strenuous hours at the gym. So if you absolutely won’t go to the gym, buy a good pair of walking shoes and get out there most days of the week for about an hour.

As beneficial as walking is, for better fitness and muscle building, you need to add strength training.  Strength training keeps your metabolism up by not only burning calories but adding lean muscle to your frame.

We here at Flex15 believe the best way to do that is with a combination of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)  and resistance training. Our classes run a little under an hour and give you the very best workout for burning a ton of calories and building beautiful, lean muscle. Our small group training classes give you individual attention in a fun class setting. Give it a try.

Step 3: Find Your Forever Motivation

Likes on Facebook and praise from your co-workers and family can’t be your “forever” motivation.

After a while, they don’t care. They have their own lives and their own issues, and your weight loss or fitness level isn’t that important to others. That’s why you have to find an authentic reason for losing and maintaining your new weight. There is no wrong or right motivation. It could be for a variety of reasons:

  1. Health concerns (diabetes, heart disease, joints).
  2. To move around and function better in everyday life.
  3. Your job may depend on it.
  4. To feel better. Being heavy is often uncomfortable.
  5. Pure vanity. You simply want to look better (there’s no shame in that).
  6. Maybe you just like yourself better when you’re fit.

Don’t get caught in the trap of losing weight for someone else’s reason–even if it’s your doctor’s. Studies show that scare tactics don’t produce long-term results.  If they did, nobody would smoke, be obese or drive badly.

Nope, you need to go beyond losing weight because your doctor or your mom wants you to.  Getting a pen and paper and writing an old-fashioned pros and cons list can help sort your feelings. What are the pros of being overweight? What are the cons? It’s likely one con will strike a chord.

Think about why that con is striking a chord. Why?  For me as a personal trainer, my job literally depends on it.  Not only would being overweight impact my ability to get clients, on a deeper level, but I would also feel like a fraud. And ashamed of myself for giving advice that I can’t keep.

So for me, my forever motivation, at the deepest level, is about avoiding shame. You may have a similar motivation or you may find that pathetic. It doesn’t matter. That’s what works for me.

Don’t be one of the 95% that gains all their weight back. Take the steps now to ensure you are one of the few that has permanent weight loss!

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