How to commit to a healthy lifestyle
When the fat loss phase is over, the next challenge is to keep if off and transition into a new lifestyle. Here are some mental training tactics to make sure that you adopt lifestyle habits for LIFE and NEVER regain the lost weight. Please note, this article focuses on MENTAL training only. If you need more advice on eating for maintenance, you’ll find that on the nutrition page.
Don’t fall prey to peer pressure. You may have friends or family members who eat badly all the time and never exercise, and this might tempt you to ditch your healthy lifestyle in order to keep pace with them. Remind yourself that you CAN be social, enjoy life to the full, and maintain your health. You can dine out with friends and eat healthy (delicious) meals, you can limit but not completely curtail your alcohol intake when you go out, and you can always find time to exercise. Tell yourself: “I am a leader, not a follower.” Be the one to set a good example and positively influence others. Be the only person in your social circle with real willpower and commitment. Be the person others envy. Who knows? You’ll probably end up being the person who inspires others to start doing what you do.
Keep in mind your emotional reasons for fat loss and remember WHY you initially wanted to lose weight. For some of you it may be an aesthetic choice, because you want to wake up every morning, look in the mirror and see a fat-free body of which you can feel proud. Others may be doing it for health reasons, because you want to grow old while staying in great shape and remain fit and healthy to watch your grandchildren grow up. Wake up every single morning and tell yourself why you’ve done everything you’ve achieved so far, why you will CONTINUE to do it, and why this is MORE important than anything else. Establishing emotional links to your achievements will eventually create subconscious habits. Keeping close tabs on your emotions will help to highlight that these personal goals are far more important - and bring far more value to your life - than eating pizza every night.
Remember that exercise and healthy living are habits for life, no matter what you do or where you are in the world. This includes outings, dinners, parties, vacations, etc. If you unconsciously overeat every time you dine out, or if you travel abroad for two weeks and indulge your appetites every single day, you’ll discover that unwanted fat will eventually creep back unnoticed. Be AWARE of everything you eat and strive to make healthy choices, no matter where you are or what type of vacation you decide to take. You may worry that having to focus on your health constantly will prevent you from enjoying life or living it to the full – a fear some people have expressed to me - but you’ll eventually discover that exercise and eating right will bring more joy to your life than you’ve ever imagined. One of my favorite quotes is: “nothing will ever taste as good as being lean feels.” Most people who express these types of worry have never experienced and enjoyed what being lean feels like.
Always celebrate and feel proud of having achieved results, no matter what your current size or shape. You may have burnt a lot of fat but still have a belly, or not yet have achieved the size you want to be. Feeling unsatisfied and unhappy might eventually demotivate you and encourage old habits to creep back into your life. You might think to yourself: “I’ll never be thin anyway, what’s the point of all this?” Remember that getting the body of your dreams requires A LOT of work and dedication, and that fat loss is MEANT to be slow. Don’t be discouraged if you’re not yet at the weight you want to be, and don’t ever compare yourself to others. If we search for it long enough, we’ll always find someone leaner or fitter than we are. Compare yourself to you and ONLY you, and look at how much you’ve improved or changed. Staying positive and believing in yourself will encourage you to keep going and get you where you want to be, even if it takes a lot of work. Remember the saying: “Rome wasn’t built in a day”.
An enhanced lifestyle
Try not to see healthy food and exercise as something restrictive, but rather as enhancing your life. If you maintain a fit and healthy lifestyle, everything else in your life will improve too. Imagine waking up every single day with lots of self-esteem, feeling like you are on a constant emotional high. You’ll feel good, look good, and have the confidence and discipline to achieve all your goals. Your personal relationships will improve too, whether with friends, family members or significant others. Physical health promotes mental health, meaning your performance at work will likely improve, as will your relationships with colleagues. Your relationship with yourself will also improve. You’ll be proud of who you’ve become and love the body you’ve worked hard to create. So when it comes to maintaining your new body and transitioning into a healthy lifestyle, tell yourself: “I’m going to keep this up because if I do, EVERY aspect of my life will be better.”