No matter how amazing it feels to meet your goal weight, eventually the magic wears off. No more scale rewarding you at the end of the week. No more measuring tape giving you a pat on the back at the end of the month. No more loose clothes falling off your body, or definition emphasising your fantastic new figure. The rewards stop coming, and things go stale…
You MUST maintain your motivation to maintain your weight. Motivation drove you through weight loss or weight gain, but don’t forget its importance once you meet your goal. Now it’s more important than ever.
Here are 5 ways to maintain motivation to maintain weight.
1. BEFORE Photos
Forget history and you’re doomed to repeat it. Always remind yourself of where you’re coming from. On the outside, you’ll look like ‘normal’ people who have never had a weight problem. Inside it’s a different story. On a mental level, maybe you’re always fighting the urge to binge or pushing yourself to be active. On a scientific level, you’ve got more fat cells than your ‘naturally slim or skinny’ friends, and those extra fat cells NEVER go away.
BEFORE photos will remind you of how things used to be. They show the unfashionable clothes you used to hide in, how you hated to be photographed, and how overweight or underweight you used to be. When you forget why you’re exercising and counting calories, BEFORE pictures will remind you why being healthy makes a big difference.
2. Diary Entries
Pictures can show the difference, but they can’t tell it like words can. Two photos won’t tell the daily struggles, times you fell off the wagon, methods used, and other major changes because they only show two moments of the journey. At times like this, you need words.
On websites like 3 Fat Chicks and Sparkpeople, you can start a weight loss (or gain) diary. Recently I fell off the wagon and read my diary entry from 5 yrs ago. It made me so proud to see how far I’d come, and suddenly I could appreciate the short journey that lay ahead to my ideal goal weight. It was like reading a different person’s thoughts and feelings.
I don’t want to be that person again. Do you?
3. Wear Old Clothes
Some maintainers ditch their old clothes ASAP. They don’t want to regrow into their clothes, so they get smaller outfits that show weight relapse before it becomes regain. I completely agree with this mindset, but highly recommend that you keep at least one type of clothing from your starting weight e.g. a skirt, a shirt, pants, etc.
When you feel tempted to fall off the wagon, try on those old clothes. See how they hang off you. See how roomy they are. You might be able to fit another person in there with you! Stand in front of the mirror and see how big you used to be. Ask yourself, “Do I want to fill out these clothes again?”
4. Measuring Tape
Did you clear out your old wardrobe? No problem.
Instead of rummaging at the back of your closet to find old clothes, just use your measuring tape. Place the measurements where they were at your starting weight and see the difference. Remember how much those inches meant to you on the way to your goal weight. Also consider how many more you might ditch when you lose those last jiggly bits and get some nice, toned muscle definition.
5. Set New Goals
Weight loss and weight gain involve goals: gain 1lb a week, lose 30lbs before your wedding, gain an inch in the bust, drop three dress sizes, etc. These goals kept you going and going and going until you met your goal weight. Now you’ve met your ultimate goal (weight), what now?
Set new goals. It doesn’t have to be weight related, but you MUST have something to work toward. Fitness goals might include decreasing your body fat percentage, increasing your muscle mass, running a marathon, improving your endurance level, etc. General life goals could include saving up for excess skin removal surgery, a holiday after six months of maintenance, a new item of clothing for every month you maintain (remember to stay on budget), and much more. BEFORE one goal ends, find another so you’re never left in limbo.
Those are five ways to maintain motivation to maintain weight. Many sources of inspiration are those that helped you during weight loss or weight gain, so keep using them during maintenance and you’ll keep fit forever.
Another tip? Don’t wait for your motivation to fizzle out before you motivate yourself. It’s harder to relight that spark inside you than it is to keep that fire burning. Good luck, maintainer!