How Do You Maintain?

By February 18, 2011 12 Comments

Three months ago you set out a goal to lose “x” amount of weight before your sisters wedding.  You reached that goal and the wedding is now over, now what?  You embarked on a journey to go from a size 14 to a size 6, you reached that goal a year later, now what?

This is a question I get asked often and is something I have done a poor job addressing on this blog and I am committing right now to put more emphasis on.  In the upcoming months I am going to ask some of the woman you have seen on this site who have successfully maintained their results for a couple years to share what they are doing.

I am glad this question has been coming up frequently, because it means that many people are achieving their goals and getting the results.

So why do we make change in the first place?  Tony Robbins says that we only change when our current pain is greater than the pain we believe we are going to experience by making the change.  For example how many times have you heard someone say they will stop smoking and each time they try to stop, they start again; but when the doctor gives them the bad news that they have lung cancer, most never touch another cigarette.

How does this relate to being healthier and maintenance?  Let’s take the example of a woman named Kristen.  She initially wants to lose 30 lbs because her husband says that he is no longer physically attracted to her.  This is obviously very painful and she does what is necessary to lose the weight and that pain is no longer there.  So since the pain is no longer there, the motivation to maintain is much less, and therefore she is much more likely to go back to where she started?  Does this sound familiar?  I have seen this happen many times or heard so many stories similar to this.

The first question that you need to answer for yourself is why did you make that goal in the first place?  If it is a shallow goal or short term goal, you might need to find a new one.

The next thing you need to do is find balance.  Balance is a word that gets thrown around a lot and is one of the most difficult things to achieve.  Very few people have complete balance in their lives.  This is one of my biggest challenges in life.

I have met extremely wealthy people, who don’t have a good family, or are out of shape.  I have met those who have great family relationships, but struggle financially.  I have met many who are amazing physical specimens, but lacking Sprituality or solid relationships.  Balancing all areas of your life is tough.

It is pretty easy to become in unbelievable shape, if that is what you focus on most in your life.   If you do that, other areas of your life with suffer greatly, and having a great looking body, won’t make you happy.

My trainer Joe made a great observation.  He was doing P90X, and was already in very good shape when he started.  In the first 6 weeks, he achieved his most fit body ever.  But as he continued the rigorous 90 day program (90 minutes per day) he began to resent it, and eventually stopped.  For him he had reached a level of fitness that was optimal for him and there was no need for him to get fitter.  The program consumed him to the point where he wanted nothing to do with it.  He became unbalanced.

So once you get to the point where you feel your body is to the point that you are satisfied with, you must find a happy medium.

Decide how much time you can devote to exercise each day or week and commit to that long term.  For example during the period where you were making your transformation you were working out 75 minutes a day, 6 days per week.  Could you maintain that for the rest of your life?  Probably not.  Could you commit to 45 minutes 3 times per week?  Or 30 minutes 5 times per week? Chances are you could.

Next you need to find balance in your eating.  During your transformation period you probably restricted yourself and hardly ever indulged in your favorite cheat foods.  Could you live this way the rest of your life and be happy and satisfied?  Some can, but many can’t.  I still maintain the 80/20 rule.  Eat as close to perfect 80% of the time and the other 20% eat what you want.  You should be able to maintain a healthy body that you can stay consistent with during a lifetime.

I want to also mention that even though you can go into a maintenance plan, you should still set specific goals.  If your physical body is the size and shape you want, strive to run a marathon, climb a mountain, do 5 pullups.  If you don’t continue to set goals, your workouts will become stagnant and your motivation might decrease.

This first blog post on the topic was meant to deal with more the mental side of things, in the future weeks and months, myself and others who have successfully maintained will share more practical tips.

Question of the day: Have you been able to maintain?  If so how have you done it?