You lost the weight — congratulations! Now it’s time to shift your strategy to make it last. All three phases of Ideal Protein are key to keeping the weight off. Many focus on phase 1 of the Ideal Protein protocol but the heart of what we do is Phase 2 – stabilization followed by the 1-year phase coaching support to learn how to keep the weight off.
Maintaining weight loss takes a different approach than losing the weight. You can do it, and you can make it easier by following advice from people who have been there and kept the pounds off for years, and even decades.
Surprise: It’s not all about food anymore.
1. They do it for themselves first
“Your desire to maintain must be driven by something that’s deeper and consistent with your own internal values,” says Scott Kahan, MD, director of the National Center for Weight and Wellness.
Take some time to think about what’s really important to you and how your weight ties into it. For example, you want to be there to see your grandkids grow up, or to take that biking vacation you’ve always wanted to do.
2. They prize exercise
You could lose weight based on your diet alone. But to maintain weight loss, physical activity is an absolute must, says James O. Hill, PhD, co-founder of the National Weight Control Registry, a national database of more than 10,000 people who have lost an average of 66 pounds and kept it off an average of 5.5 years.
Most people in the registry move for about an hour a day, and walking is their preferred activity. If walking for 60 minutes straight sounds daunting, it’s fine to break it up, or do something else you enjoy, Kahan says.
3. They get their baggage in check
Many people turn to food when they’re stressed. If that’s you, learning new ways to handle your emotions is a must.
Want more ideas? Consider booking a few sessions with a counselor who has experience working with people to overcome their emotional eating.
4. They have a coach and support
If you’re a lone wolf, it’s time to join a pack. “Everybody needs some support, whether it’s emotional or logistical, so you stay accountable,” Hill says.
Try teaming up with family, friends, or co-workers to add to your support system. Promise yourself to complete all three phases of the Ideal Protein Protocol.
5. They limit their screen time
Whether it’s your tablet, phone, computer, or TV, screen time tends to be idle time. And let’s face it: It’s so easy to overeat while you’re parked in front of a screen. So give yourself a curfew: You’re only going watch or surf for a certain amount of time a day.
Consider this: The average American watches 28 hours of TV per week, but 62% of people in the National Weight Control Registry, who have all lost 30 pounds or more and kept it off for at least a year, watch 10 or fewer hours per week.
6. They step on the scale often
Most people in the National Weight Control Registry weigh themselves regularly. In fact, research shows getting on the scales daily is a very effective strategy for those trying to maintain weight loss.
“It’s not just weighing yourself that’s important; it’s having a plan for what to do if your weight exceeds the level you want it to be,” Hill says.
In other words, you need to know how to take action promptly if you see those numbers starting to climb, whether that means trimming back on portion sizes or skipping dessert more often. Your Certified Ideal Protein Coach will walk you through the options you have. It’s not about being perfect, but it is about being committed, honest and willing to learn.
7. They have a plan
The world (currently) is not set up to make eating healthy easy.
Having a variety of meal plans for weekends, busy days, crazy days, I feel like cooking days, I don’t feel like cooking days is key.
Having a fridge and pantry full of foods you can eat and easy go-to options is key. Think pre-cut veggies, olives, guacamole, hard-boiled eggs, can of tuna.
8. They keep getting back on the wagon
Vacations, holidays, and stressful life situations happen, and no one eats according to plan all the time. That’s OK. The trick is to get back on course as soon as possible. Make it a learning experience, not a failure. Remember that you can move on from setbacks, and maintenance is a marathon, not a sprint.