Is there anything more difficult than weight loss? The honest answer, perhaps unfortunately, is yes, weight maintenance.
Once you have committed to the journey of weight loss, you are given a prescription from your 20/20 team to follow and in some ways it’s as easy as just following along. You aren’t even thinking about tempting foods, where you’ll go out Friday night, or what your exercise routine will be that week. The decisions have been made: your stage, your calories, your workouts, etc.
Now I know there are plenty of you that are thinking, ‘Are you CRAZY? I can’t call this easy!’and you would be right. But my point is this: when you are following such a structured plan for weight loss, the thought of going into a territory of less structured ‘maintenance’ is scary. It’s unknown, it’s new, and it is only something that you can clearly define once you’ve started to live it and see the results.
If you are like many others, and find the idea of the unstructured weight maintenance transition scary, this blog is for you. I’m here to help. While I cannot predict your future, I can tell you that there is one common theme that has resonated with many successful alum. And hey, listening to the advice of successful weight ‘maintainers’ does not sound like a bad idea at all.
So now that you are dying to know what the so-called ‘single most important thing’ for success is, well now is the finale. Drum roll… it is the ‘Red Light Number’ Plan (RLN for the sake of this blog). Properly designing and executing such a RLNP is the answer to your prayers. Or at least close.
The RLNP is a plan that you ideally create with someone from your team when graduating (your dietitian, counselor, etc.) but it can be done at any time. Here’s how:
1. Assign yourself a ‘red light number’ – this number should be 3-5# above your goal weight. If you are still losing weight, it will be 3-5# above your current weight each week.
Ex: goal is 150#, red light is 155#.
One client says, “The smaller the red light number, the better. In my case, it’s 2 lbs. One pasta dinner can put me over thatnumber easily. And the other necessary thing is to have a strict personal rule: if I go over the +2 lb number, I immediatelygo on Stage 4 until I get back to my number, starting with a breakfast shake.”
2. Create a specific action plan that will help you reset the weight gain. Remember, you can utilize exercise, nutrition,tracking, sleep and steps in your plan. It can also help to add a check-in with someone from your team, say emailing yourtrainer to tell them what’s going on and what your plan is. Accountability goes a long way!
Ex: Stage 4 of the meal plan + 8,000 steps/day + weighing and measuring everything again + emailing my trainer foraccountability
3. Check your ‘number’ (your weight) once a week. After all, how will you really know if you have to execute the plan or ifyou can keep doing the same routine?Note: there are some people that will come up with a different plan with theirdietitian for monitoring weight, and that’s perfectly okay.
The same wise client who keeps her red light number at 2 points said, “Yes, I do weigh myself daily unless I’m traveling.”
And not a step, perhaps, but important nonetheless: forgive yourself for hitting your red light, and accept that it is a part of life. After all, as we said before, you do not know how the ‘fun foods’, different exercise routines, travel, etc. are going to impact your weight. So plan to hit your RLN at some point, don’t feel guilty when you do, and refer straightaway to your RLNP. After a few days, and seeing your weight recalibrate, you will feel successful with managing whatever comes your way!