This the fourth blog in the series on maintaining weight after you have completed a weight loss program. This is probably a bigger issue for most people than losing it in the first place. Today, I’m going to talk about what I call Course Correction. This is an integral principle of being able to maintain weight and why it is a pillar in all my programs. During my clients weight loss phase of their program, I teach them techniques to make course corrections, where they know how to adjust their plan to activate more fat burn.
This knowledge empowers them for the future when they are maintaining weight because they will know exactly what they need to do to make small adjustments to their lifestyle in order to shed a few pounds before it becomes a larger amount or continues to increase. Because, you know, let’s face it, life happens and whether the weight gain is a mindful choice such as being on a holiday or a gain because old habits and cravings sneaking back into daily life, having strategies to correct is very empowering.
Critical to successful weight maintenance, is having a plan and structure as you move into the “maintenance lifestyle mode” particularly in the earlier stages after one has completed a weight loss program. This maintenance lifestyle mode should allow you more freedom and choices, but still eating well majority of the time, because there’s no magic wand. When one has a goal of being healthy then that means eating well most of the time, I call it, the 80 20 rule. 80% of the time eating a healthy whole food diet with some indulgences or overconsumption only 20% of the time. Assuming you’re doing that, that’s great because you can maintain your weight and stay on a path of continued health and wellness. But again sometimes life events happen to us despite the best of laid plans. It can simply be a change of routine that throws our healthy habits into a bit of chaos.
Wellness Health Life Disruptors
I’ve seen this happen with people who have been maintaining it for quite a while and then a change disrupts their healthy lifestyle routines:
- A different job,
- A longer commute (remember when we did that?)
- Retirement or another big lifestyle change
- Change in family routine (we’ve all been there)
- elder care
All the anchors they had, the patterns they’ve established, the things that kept them grounded so they didn’t really have to think too much of what they had to do about maintenance are suddenly thrown off balance. These anchors meant the healthy habits were second nature and then there was a change and one or some of the anchors became unhinged.
If a person doesn’t mindfully recognize the change this disruption is going to have on their routines and habits then they may not make the necessary adjustments and the result is that they could gain weight.
The other major contributor to weight gain during maintenance is increase in stress particularly if you are a stress eater.
Let’s face it,
Covid has resulted in a lot of people, who were probably able to maintain weight quite well, gaining weight and then calling me.
They have all said the gain has been due to change of routine along with stress, emotional and boredom eating… everything. As a result, they’ve put weight on, even though maybe they were able to maintain it quite well prior to that.
Another time for weight gain is celebrations and holidays, which are part of life and a great part of life. A few years ago when we had a big family trip to England and we came back I was up six pounds. It was the nature of the food, eating more of it, eating out and more alcohol.
So I definitely needed a course correction when we returned and fortunately I had my course correction strategies well established so I knew how to do it. For that reason I was not too concerned about my gain while travelling. I was able to thoroughly enjoy the trip including the food and not feel I had to deprive myself or feel guilty.
So it’s these types of things that can happen as part of life and next thing you know, your weight is up. What do you do about it? That’s the importance of having a way that you can do a course correction.
How to make Course Corrections
- The first critical step in making a course correction, is to face the truth. This is why I strongly recommend to continue weighing yourself when maintaining weight as part of your routine. It doesn’t need to be daily, but you need to have some sense of what’s happening, because if you’re not weighing yourself and your weight starts to creep up, next thing you know, it’s 10 up pounds and that is not fun.
It’s a lot easier to catch yourself when your weight is up 3-5 pounds rather than facing a gain of 10. So, first of all, weighing yourself regularly so you can catch it before it becomes overwhelming and discouraging will help with making course correction.
- The second part of course correction is that you need to embrace an attitude of focused intention to lose weight again. It may only need to be for a week or two inorder to shed a few pounds but you need to fully jump back into that mindset around your food. No more 80/20 rule. Go for it – 100%. Many times people want to shed those extra 5 lbs but they do not fully commit to the idea and take the necessary steps.
They are too casual about it and less precise regarding their food. The result is they do not make progress, and eventually get frustrated and may even give up resulting in more weight gain. So if you see it climbing, just embrace the mental attitude that for the next couple of weeks you have a goal to lose weight. Create your plan, create structure and go back to all those strategies that helped you lose weight previously.
- This is also why it is so important to choose a method for losing weight that will give you clear simple strategies that you can easily implement again in the short term for course corrections.
Intermittent Fasting and Course Corrections
Intermittent fasting is the cornerstone of my weight loss programs and one of the major benefits of using intermittent fasting is that it is also such a powerful strategy for making course corrections during maintenance. When done properly during weight loss, you train your body to be fat adaptive meaning effective at using fat for fuel. You can tap back into that fueling system on an as needed basis for course correction. This strategy definitely provides structure to make course correction easy to implement because you know when to eat, what to eat and how much.
Just stick to that for a week or two, depending on how much you need to lose and you will shed those extra few pounds with certainty and predictability. This is what I teach my clients as we transition from losing weight to maintenance. This is also the strategy that I’ve personally used now for seven years. It’s very easy. It’s very straightforward.
Once you shed those few pounds you’re back into the maintenance lifestyle again and you can go back to your 80/20 pattern!
Having a structured simple way to do a course correction is a great tool to have in your toolkit. That means you can have a lifestyle where you don’t need to worry and fret about putting on a little bit of weight because you know exactly what to do to turn it around without having to do like a full blown diet program again. History does not need to repeat itself and you can stop that yoyo pattern.
If you’re losing weight, make sure that you know what you would need to do if you have to make course corrections down the road, because inevitably it’s part of life. We all want a lifestyle where we don’t have to micromanage our food and we don’t have to obsess about our weight. So that means being able to be flexible, but also knowing what to do when you need to rope it in. Once you master that you’ll be fine and you can enjoy a life with Freedom In Your Body.
I hope you found this information helpful.If you want to learn more:
- You can book a complimentary call, and discuss your challenges, and obstacles, and together we can determine if my program is right for you.
- You can also go to my Facebook page, @DrSherBovay, where you can find and join my Private Facebook group, The FastLane Mind Body Reset Mastery Group. Here, I host Facebook lives and frequent posts where you can engage and learn more.