Letter M in the ABCs of health! Let’s talk about maintenance weight. Now back in the letter F we talked about fat loss and how fat loss isn’t really the goal, fat loss is not the objective. Fat loss should not be what it is that you are trying to achieve because that is not something that you should be doing for life. As much as you may need to lose some fat, at some point there needs to be a transition from the pursuit of fat loss to the pursuit of something else.
Usually when we talk about fat loss there’s a physical aspect to it, to look leaner, to have more muscle definition. None of these things are going to happen if you’re only focused on fat loss. Fat loss is going to reveal what’s underneath. At some point physically and emotionally and mentally we need to transition from fat loss to maintaining whatever it is that we achieved. We have to transition from consistently pursuing to lose whatever it is – it’s always supposed to be like a pound a week – we have to move beyond that at some point and say, ok, what else can I conquer?
That’s where maintenance weight comes in. Maintenance weight is where the most celebration should happen. Now, I love transformation photos as much as the next person. I take photos, I take progress photos, I think they’re great but here’s the thing: you can have an amazing transformation picture and then simply lose everything you did for a number of reasons, and usually what happens is that instead of creating habits like we talked awhile back, instead of creating habits that are going to transform your health, transform your mindset, transform your body, transform your fitness – instead of taking the small steps to do this at a slower pace and then be able to maintain your results, the tendency is to take the quick fix.
Except, like we’ve talked about, the quick fix is usually very restrictive, the quick fix is usually very demanding, the quick fix is usually something that needs to be very closely monitored so that you can get a very quick result, but that is not sustainable because here is the fact about weight loss, maintenance, gain, whatever you are reaching for: the habits, the actions that were needed to get you to where you are, that is what is going to keep you where you are. So the goal should be maintenance, the goal should be to maintain or improve on something you achieve.
Now it’s tricky to talk about improving weight because here’s the thing: our weight fluctuates a lot. Our weight fluctuates within a day, a week, a year – a lifetime. Our weight fluctuates, so talking about improving in terms of weight, that’s not a very good word, but, for example, in fitness level we can talk about improvement. You get to a certain fitness level and if you want to stay at that fitness level you have to keep doing whatever you did to get there, and if you want to improve your fitness level you need to change something so that you can go to another level. When it comes to fat loss, to lose fat you’re going to have to take some actions, you’re going to have to create some habits, you are going to have to create some guidelines for yourself, you’re going to have to do some things day in and day out to lose this weight. Then, whatever you did to lose the weight is what’s going to keep the weight off, so if your goal is just to lose weight you are dangerously close to the possibility of doing something that you won’t be able to maintain. So if instead of having the weight loss goal, keep your eye on the maintenance goal.
This creates a mental shift because you’re going to start creating habits that you want to sustain. It’s going to change how you look at your body, it’s going to change how why you exercise, it’s going to change how you make your food choices, because it’s not about doing something crazy or excessive or restrictive or pushing too far, it’s about finding something that you can say: ok, these are choices that I can make for the rest of my life. I can say yes or I can say no. So maintenance is a beautiful, beautiful thing.
An important note is that we should always have a weight range, not a weight number. So there is a healthy range for you to be in with your weight and that range is what you want to maintain. That range is where you want to be and you want to find the habits, the lifestyle, the day-to-day choices that are going to keep you in that range comfortably. Now this isn’t to say that it should always be super easy, no, it’s health. It’s usually challenging. Our culture is not designed to keep us healthy, so yes, there will be challenges, but it shouldn’t be a daily struggle, it shouldn’t be a daily restriction, it should be something that you can fit in your lifestyle with joy, that you can fit in your lifestyle with ease, and say this is how I live. This is what I do. And you can say yes or no to certain things that come your way.
So my suggestion to you is to first of all stop thinking of your weight as a static point. If you have weight to lose or if you have weight to gain, stop thinking of that as one static number. Find a range, and this is probably the hardest part. I’m telling you – I struggled with this for years, sometimes it’s still hard. Ok, it’s about finding the range and saying this is a range that is comfortable for me, this is a range that is healthy for me, and then within that range start building the habits that will keep you there, start creating the habits that will give you the health that you want to have.
So maybe one thing that you want is to have amazing muscle definition. Well, that’s great, you’re going to have to lift heavy things, you’re going to have to have a training program, you’re going to have to have a nutrition program to go with that training program because muscle is hard to build and it takes time, so you’re going to have to create the habits of patience, you’re going to have to create the habits of nutrition, and the habits of training to get you where you want to be. And once you reach your goal, those habits that you have created are what will sustain you there.
If you want to lose some weight, you need to lose some fat, awesome. So you need to create some eating habits that are going to change your calorie balance so that your body can start losing the weight, and once you create those habits you are going to have to keep doing them so that the weight stays off, because again… it’s not something that you can go back and forth in.
The things that you have to do to reach a goal or to reach a marker that you want to reach, those things will have to be maintained, so you’re going to have to find a lifestyle and choices that will keep you there.
So in summary, maintenance weight is what should be your goal. Your goal should be to reach a range and then STAY there, not simply to drop a certain weight. This is a game changer!
This changes everything. The moment that your goal is to maintain something after you achieve it, the steps you take to achieve it change. What are you willing to do as a lifestyle, what are you willing to say: this is what I do, this is how I live every single day. That is what defines your health, not something you do once in a year, things you do not once in a month. What are you willing to do every day? Create those habits, not for the weight loss, create the habits for the weight maintenance. Create those habits not for the weight gain, but for the weight maintenance.
What would you have to do to maintain that weight? Start creating those habits and the weight will come down or go up accordingly.
What are the habits that you need develop to maintain the goal you reach? That is your lifestyle. Thanks for watching, remember to like and share. If you want help starting out in improving your nutrition check out my free guide HERE.
Keeping it simple,