In this article we discuss arguably the most important part of your transformation – the aftermath. Unfortunately this is where lack of planning, lack of knowledge or a very rushed and severe diet/transformation will come back to haunt people. Losing body fat could be called easy, not putting it back on is the hard part (a lot of you will be nodding and agreeing right about now). This is why the percentage rates of rebound weight gain are so high, and yes I know this series is about transforming your lifestyle which is about more then just your body composition but for most people how they look and their self happiness is the thing they want to change the most. People then state that “we shouldn’t get so wrapped up in how we look” but in my own opinion its all down to perception. That perception assumes that being concerned with how you look is a negative concept. However why cant it be positive? My opinion on it is that taking care of how you look represents you taking care of your fitness, your nutritional quality, and your mindset – which in combination all represent your health. Being concerned with this should indeed be a priority.
So why is maintaining results so hard? Well from what I’ve seen with many people is that it stems from one of two starting points:
1 – Your reason WHY you made so many changes
2 – The manner in which you achieved your results
The problem in the fitness industry (and my pet peeve) is the lack of care for peoples well being, and the enormous care for profit. If your reason why you changed was things such as a holiday, a festival, a wedding, a photoshoot, to copy your favourite blogger you will most likely do severe and unsustainable things with your diet and training – severely under eating and doing unsustainable amounts of training is usually how it goes. What happens when these events are over or the motivation to be like your favourite media inspiration passes? When you don’t understand nutrition or training parameters and you cant sustain what you were doing? Then there is that “anti-climatic” phase. You start over eating again and start binging because you’ve been so restrictive to get your goal , you train less because the amount you were doing made it a chore to train so you’ve lost enjoyment in it and then finally you get so sick of falling off track you throw in the towel completely – BOOM, back to square one. Only this time you have no motivation to start again and your belief in yourself that you can re-start is damaged.
You also then have fad diets and the extremes of fitness and nutrition (linked to my profit comment above). Everyone claims to be the next best thing or that they or their product are the best. A lot of ego, and not enough client care. When the reality is their is nothing special within this industry. The fundamentals of nutrition are always the same –Calorie deficit/surplus (control), a good food relationship, protein intake and food quality, enjoyment and it needs to be something you could do infinitely. The fundamentals of training have been the same – weight training for muscle tissue and strength/performance, cardiovascular work for heart, aerobic and health benefits (note I didn’t say calorie burn – if you only see cardio as something to burn off food you have majorly missed the point) and to stay generally active by moving during the day (8,500-10,000 steps is plenty for most).
However people always want the next best thing, the newest trend, or the quickest result without doing the work – when all it really takes is doing the fundamentals consistently, being honest with yourself and having just enough discipline (not extreme, but just enough) to follow through with what they say they will do to achieve their goal.
If you are to sustain your results you need to place yourself in the right position to do so. Achieve your result by being patient and not doing the extremes. Learn about food, train at a sustainable level and continue to enjoy it, improve your mindset and your mental resilience, learn how to “SAY NO” and stay in line with what you want. You need to have a good relationship with food, you cant see it as good vs bad, or as something you can or cant have, and you cant uncontrollably binge and eat like a child. You need to be in control. A massive help will also be having a form of accountability, get a coach (even coaches have coaches), tell people you are going to do something, proclaim it on social media – something that has to hold you to your word.
But if you go the other route, with severe diets to get the fastest results without any education, if you starve yourself, go on slimming drinks, get tummy toning belts or go down the route of any of those other “money hungry” profit searching fads – you will find yourself perishing on a very negative rock when the long term picture hits. It may be pretty in the beginning, but it could end ugly (weight regain, food binges, no self belief, hatred of training are just a few symptoms to name).
So ill finish on this, PUT YOUR HEALTH FIRST. If this is at the front of all your decision making you wont go too far wrong. Invest in correct guidance and be willing to accept that it will take patience and investment from you.
There is and never will be a way around that – so its best you accept it, and learn to enjoy the ride.