I think the problem with so many diets is they fixate you on the end goal. You’re fixated on how much you have got to lose and when you get there. So, it’ll be like a six week plan and you should have lost X amount of weight. Or you target a goal weight. People are so fixated on that goal weight that they actually forget that you have to carry on eating well and you don’t just stop eating well when you reach your goal weight. Unfortunately, for this reason 95% of diets fail and you actually regain that weight within a period of one to five years. I think the reason for that is because it’s a diet, it’s short term, it’s very regimented and it’s really hard work. Therefore, you’ve maybe learnt bad habits but you also haven’t changed your own habits along the way. I’m hoping that here at ShowMe.Fit, we’ve really shown you how to make sustainable changes so that you can eat this way and carry on eating really well, and carry on maintaining your weight for the rest of your life; because this is a life plan. You don’t suddenly stop eating this way and then go back to bad habits. (Watch Kat’s ‘Building Healthy Habits’ talk here). The aim of this talk is:
- What you do when you’ve reached your goal weight?
- How do you approach it?
- How can you relax it without completely putting on all the weight?
- How can you be that 5% of people that don’t regain the weight after a period?
I spoke in my lapses talk about being a little bit flexible. I see a few members have real problems sticking to this diet. I think that part of the problem is that it’s really hard to lose weight and you can sometimes be a little bit too rigid. You might be able to do it short term, for a month or 6 week and then something happens, or something goes wrong. You might have a period where you overeat in compensation for putting in such hard work for that 6 weeks. So, an idea that I’ve had and it’s not it’s not new, is called “interval weight loss”, where you actually focus on losing weight for a month and then for the month after you don’t focus on losing, you focus on maintaining and then a month after that you focus on losing. So, if you become slightly less rigid in that month, it gives you a bit of breathing space, you’re not having a lapse and therefore putting on loads of weight, you would just maintain and long term this sets you in the right way because maintaining is how you should live the rest of your life. People look at me and say, “oh, you’re slim, you don’t need to worry about what you eat”. Actually, I’m always worrying about it, I concentrate on what I’m eating. If I have a treat, I make sure the next day that I don’t have a treat. So, you’re constantly, even slim people or people that have reached their goal weight, they are constantly tweaking, challenging themselves, coming up with new ideas and new ways of keeping that weight loss.
95% of dieters regain but hopefully here ShowMe.Fit is different. We haven’t put a time scale on your weight loss and I think that’s unique in a diet plan or a healthy eating plan. We also don’t stress that you need to be 100% perfect all the time, we know that life gets in the way, we know that you might want a glass of alcohol, we know that you might want a chocolate bar on occasion, we know that you on your birthdays you would have your piece of cake and that’s okay! As Gregg says: “being good most of the time is good enough” and this hopefully teaches you a much less rigid and a better way of maintaining your weight loss. Hopefully you have also learnt some healthy habits on the way and created some healthy habits that you will go with you for the rest of your life.
What should you do if you’ve reached your goal weight or you’re very near to your goal weight?
01) Stick to 3 Meals a Day
You absolutely must carry on sticking to your three meals a day, that’s really important! Those of you who have watched my snacking talk know why, because every time you eat you raise insulin. Insulin is known as your “fat storage hormone”. Even if you eat in between meals something healthy like some hummus, some nuts, carrot sticks and an apple, that will still raise insulin; maybe not to such a degree as chocolate but it will still raise your insulin and therefore if that insulin is not used up, it will cause you to put on weight. So, stick to your three meals a day, try not to snack but also try not to skip meals as well. That’s really important. Skipping meals raises your cortisol levels too much and puts you in a stressed state of mind. If you’re stressed or your body is in a stressed state, it won’t digest food, you won’t be getting the nutrients and therefore you’re not going to lose weight. Also try not to eat too late at night, remember to keep that fasting window between 12 and 14 hours overnight. Our body likes to have a period of time to mop up and clean up the digestive system. It likes that fasting period, any longer than 14 hours I think is too much.
02) Have a Balanced Plate
Also think about having a balanced plate; now hopefully those of you that been here a while know now what a balanced plate is… every meal you must have protein, you must have lots of vegetables and you must have a little bit of healthy fat. Don’t be too scared of putting a little bit of fat in your diet. If you consume a nutrient dense diet, you’re less likely to be hungry and I think the problem with a typical western, a typical British or American diet is you’re consuming a diet very high in fat and sugar but it’s lacking in things like the vitamins and minerals, the protein in the fibre and healthy fats, so you’re hungry all the time because your body is demanding more. Try and stick with having a really balanced plate.
3) Keep Drinking Water
Also make sure you’re drinking lots of water, keep staying hydrated. If you think you’re hungry, try a glass of water first. It’s really important to drink water all the time now going forward.
Moving… just because you’ve reached your goal weight or you’re maintaining it doesn’t mean to say you should stop moving. I very much work and use the word “move” and not exercise because I know that not everyone can exercise, and I understand that it’s more about just how you move throughout the day. It could be getting up from your desk if you’re working from home every hour to go and have a quick walk around the house, go and make yourself a cup of tea, walk around the garden, you should be doing 30 minutes a day. I actually also think it’s really important to maintain your muscle mass, which means body weight or some kind of weight exercise, especially as we get a bit older, we need the muscle. When you lose weight, you will lose some muscle as well as fat. In order to maintain that muscle, you need to do some weights. Why is it important to maintain muscle? Because as we get older, we naturally lose our ability but also muscle burns more calories. So, if you have more muscle, just sitting down, you’ll be burning more calories than you would if you didn’t have any or as much muscle.
Where’s the flexibility? Where can you do things a little bit differently?
1) More Flexibility
You can obviously have a bit more flexibility! Try some non ShowMe.Fit meals and experiment a little bit but what you need to make sure is, is you’re keeping your blood sugars stable. So, making sure you’ve got the protein and lots of fat.
2) Eat Out/Takeaways
You might want to eat out occasionally and have a takeaway, that’s fine but if you’re in a maintenance mode I would not do it more than once a week. That eating out could be a restaurant, at a pub or getting a takeaway but I wouldn’t do it more than once a week if you want to maintain your weight loss.
Now alcohol kind of depends on how much you’re drinking. I know some people have completely given up alcohol and some have moved to alcohol for one night of the week and they’ve limited themselves to one glass or one beer or one pint. You could start to edge that up. If you’ve gone from no alcohol you might go to one night a week, you might have 2 glasses. If you’ve lost weight having one night of alcohol, then you might be able to introduce two. It kind of depends on where you are. So, yes you can have a bit of flexibility by introducing or adding a little bit more alcohol.
Then obviously you want your treats. You can, if you’re in maintain mode, allow yourself some treats… however, you have to be quite careful with treats because they’re high in sugar, they’re hyper-palatable as I’ve spoken about before. A lot of the processed food is hyper-palatable. Some food manufacturers want you to be unable to stop at one donut, they want you to be able to consume two chocolate bars because they have manufactured these food products to make them hyper-palatable so that you constantly want them all the time. Be really careful about limiting your treats. I would say no more than twice a week. I’ve put here what I term as a treat, so I’ve put things like ice cream, chocolates, biscuits, burgers, pizza and bakery goods – I’m talking about your muffins or donuts, your pastries and cinnamon buns or whatever you might get from the bakers. I wouldn’t have that more than twice a week. If you’re consuming something like that treat, keep it to straight after that mealtime because then you’re having less of an insulin race. If you want a sweet something after a meal, make sure you keep it as close as possible to that mealtime to you will have the protein and fats and fibre from that meal which will slow down the absorption and stop the blood sugar spiking quite so much. You’ll be able to allow yourself a few treats but again probably no more than twice a week. So that’s once a week for eating out and takeaway, twice a week for a treat, maybe introducing one more day of alcohol but that’s kind of if you want to maintain. Otherwise, what will happen is you’ll start to put on the weight and then one week will turn into two weeks, three weeks and then it can be really difficult. You need to make sure you’re maintaining that weight.
I think you need to plan for a setback. You will gain a little bit but it’s very, very common once you reached your goal weight to actually put on a little bit and it’s completely typical. It’s actually really difficult to keep sometimes to your goal weight. I fluctuate a few pounds here and there, I don’t really weigh myself, but I can tell I tend to probably weight a little bit more in the winter and the autumn months and then I would naturally take off the weight a little bit more in the spring and summer. That’s normal but you need to have a plan for a setback, so you know that you’re going to put on a little bit of weight, but you make sure that you keep that in check. Don’t let that few pounds go to half a stone, go to a stone because it’s really easy for that to suddenly put you in an inflammatory state and then it’s much more difficult to reduce the weight when you go over a certain number of pounds. Keep checking in, keep measuring, you might still want to do your monthly measurements with a monthly scales or working out how your clothes fit, however you’re doing it but just keep checking in. If you do put on half a stone, get back onto that weight loss plan as quickly as you can. Go back to being less flexible, to the beginning. Go back to three ShowMe.Fit meals a day and making sure you’re moving enough but also what you might do is you might want to allow a little bit of flexibility. So, one month you’re in that really strict ShowMe.Fit plan and then a little bit less, you’re a little bit more flexible and then you might want to go back to a month of ShowMe.Fit. So kind of cycling it a little bit is a really good maintenance tip. I’ve given you various ideas for what you can do to maintain but it’s something you are always going to have to bear in mind, is this is for the rest of your life. This is how we should all be eating for the rest of our life.
I also wanted to make sure you don’t fall into, and this is really common, falling into the week and weekend mentality. A lot of people fall into this even if you’re on a diet, they will have cheat days. Now quite often that cheat day, I always find turns into a cheat weekend. Once it’s become a cheap weekend, then quite often it’ll start Friday lunchtime, it’ll edge closer. So that cheat weekend then becomes, “oh it’s nearly the weekend, it’s Friday, brilliant, right I’ll order a takeaway Friday night and I’ll have some beers and then I wake up Saturday morning, I’m a bit hungover so I have some bakery goods and then, oh I’ve slipped up, I might as well just eat loads and I’ll order another takeaways, I haven’t got the energy to cook.” You fall into this habit, it’s really common. I want to make sure that you reign that in a little bit. If you’re going to have a cheat day make sure that it’s just one day and it’s not a whole weekend. Quite often if you are too rigid in that week… again it’s that whole diet/non-diet mentality where you’re really good for the week and then you’ve been almost too good and too rigid and too difficult to stick to, so then you go to the weekend where you let loose and sometimes, when you let loose too much it can just sort of carry on. They found that successful dieters, and they did some studies about who is successful, and they found that those that are the most consistent, behaving in the same way again and again are the ones that are much more likely to stick to their weight. They consistently eat well, they move around. If we have got 21 meals in a week, it’s about consistently eating for those twenty meals and then maybe one of them off plan: not 15 on plan and then 6 not. It’s consistent, you’ve got to be if you want to maintain that way, you’ve got to be 90/95% eating well, not 60% eating well or 50%, it has to be most of the time. You have to just keep eating well. I think that’s the beauty of ShowMe.Fit, there are so many really good meals on there. It shows that diet food and healthy food isn’t boring, it isn’t expensive, it doesn’t have to take hours in the kitchen either, you can spend hours in the kitchen, but it doesn’t have to be and I think this is why this is such a good plan actually. It helps so many different people learn how to cook and how to be healthy in the kitchen. What’s really good with people that are successful in maintaining their weight loss is they don’t diet. Therefore, you don’t have your patterns of fasting and overindulgence or being really good all the time and not allowing some flexibility. We’re very, very keen not to call this a diet because we want people to learn to eat this way for the rest of their life
What’s really important is that you keep challenging yourself… don’t just reach your goal weight and think right, that’s it, brilliant and sit back on the sofa. Think about where you can take this. I’ve seen some lovely stories on the Facebook group of people that some of them aren’t weighing anymore because they’re just going by how they how they feel and they’re all feeling healthier, their skins looking better, they’re sleeping better but also some people say: “well I’ve actually reached my goal weight/I set out to lose two/three stone but actually I’m going to push it a bit further, I’m going to get my body fat down, I’m going to see what I can do.” Or people are looking at different challenges, non-weight/non-scale related challenges. They want to walk more, they want to do some kind of gym goal, it could be putting yourself in for a race if you are running. If you’ve done the couch to 5K, the park runs are apparently opening up soon, could you go for a park run? Could you then consistently do that every single Saturday and try and beat your time? There’s loads of races opening up now, could you join a race and do one of those for your runs? If you’re looking at different challenges, there’s walking challenges, there’s running, there’s fitness challenges. Whatever sport you’re into you could probably challenge yourself. Constantly think about what can you do. It could be a challenge of one new recipe a week or what healthy habit can you pick up this week? Get inspiration from what other members on the Facebook group are doing. I think it’s really important just to keep challenging yourself. I challenge myself all the time, whether it’s in the gym, whether it’s doing X amount of spinning classes, whether it’s increasing my mileage on my runs or my speed. I’m constantly challenging myself, whether it’s eating, exercising, sleeping, learning new things. I think that’s really important, it’s almost like you’ve got to keep at it, this isn’t like the end of a journey once you reach your goal weight. You’ve got to carry on going and keep working at it otherwise you’ll just you end up where you started. I don’t want you to think “oh God, this sounds awful, this means that I’m never going to get to my goal weight, I’m never going to feel like I’ve achieved.” Once you get your goal weight it does become a little bit easier to just maintain it because you’re already there, you haven’t got to lose weight. Losing weight is very much the hardest part, yes maintaining it is still a struggle and you still have to work at it, but it isn’t quite as hard as actually losing the weight in the first place. So, don’t get dispirited by the fact that I said it you have to keep at it. It’s not the end of the journey when you get to your weight loss and I think that’s hopefully what we’ve been teaching you at ShowMe.Fit, that this is the way you should be eating for life. It is for life, it’s not a quick fix. Hopefully that has helped you all.