It’s been fifteen years since I originally began my health journey. In those first fifteen months, I lost over eighty pounds. It completely transformed my life and set me on a new trajectory.
Now I have a career in the fitness industry, and that makes it very easy for me to keep up with my healthy habits. This isn’t the case for many. In fact, the majority of people who lose weight will regain some of it at some point in their life.
This article is what I would do if I were to fall into that scenario.
Whether it was because life got crazy, I got injured, or in some other way couldn’t continue with my daily routines and I packed on a few pounds (okay, more than a few), how would I come back from that?
Here’s exactly how I’d do it all again.
1) Get back to tracking my food.
If I let my healthy habits go, chances are good that the first thing to go out the window was keeping a record of my food choices.
Personally, I find keeping a food log oddly satisfying. I love seeing how what I’m doing contributes toward my goal. I love that it isn’t a guessing game. (This might be the control freak in me talking.) I love that it keeps me accountable for my choices.
This is the first thing I start doing again.
When I first attempted to lose weight, I didn’t pay much attention to my eating. I just focused on being active. I was still eating the way I had been, and I only lost five pounds in the first three months. (With daily exercise.)
Once I started taking my diet seriously, the weight started to melt away. I wouldn’t make the mistake of ignoring my diet again.
Take out the guesswork. Track your eating so you can make informed changes to see fast results.
2) Get the junk food out of the house.
If I’ve packed on a few pounds, I’m sure I’ve developed a bad habit of snacking on junk food around the house. When these things are easily accessible, I won’t stand a chance.
So I’d have to make them inaccessible.
I remember a time early in my health journey, I had just filled my house with a few two-liters of pop. (Soda, for you non-Mid-Westerners.) I was watching some sort of weight loss show on TV, and it inspired me to walk downstairs and pour out each two-liter bottle down the drain.
It was oddly empowering.
Does getting the junk food out of the house mean throwing away perfectly good food? Possibly, and that’s okay. My health is more important than $2.46 of wasted Oreos or Coca-Cola.
Make the unhealthy foods as inaccessible as possible. Make the healthy stuff as accessible as possible. This is one of the best weight loss tips I can give.
3) Stop eating out as often.
Happy hour on Monday? Half-off boneless wings at Buffalo Wild Wings on Tuesdays? Pizza delivery on Friday?
That sounds glorious, and I’m sure I’m back to enjoying myself to the fullest with no consideration of the impact on my wellbeing.
If I want to get back to how good I felt when I was at my healthiest, I need to make some sacrifices. The funny thing is, when I was at my healthiest I understood that this type of “fun” wasn’t actually all that fun. I could easily do without and it didn’t “feel” like a sacrifice.
I would work to get back to doing without the gratuitous and frequent eating out.
And funny enough, eventually I’d stop missing it again.
4) Work back toward an activity I previously enjoyed.
In my glory days I loved lifting weights at the gym. I also loved running a few times a week. I remember how great it felt to know I could run for miles with relative ease, especially since that was unthinkable before I got in shape.
I’d definitely want to get back to this.
I’d probably start with weights. It’d be a lower barrier of entry, easier on my joints, and would get me in a gym-setting again. I’d join a local gym that wasn’t too expensive, at least until I proved to myself again that I’d actually get my money’s worth.
I’d have to join a gym because no matter my intentions, I know I won’t stick to home workouts. There’s just too many distractions and it’s too easy to walk away for me.
I’d slowly build up until I felt confident trying my hand at running again.
5) Work my way back to making exercise a daily habit.
What makes my healthy habits so strong is because they have become a integral part of who I am. If I were to ever lose that sense of identity, I’d want to get it back to reduce the chances of riding the yo-yo train.
For me, this means moving my body in some capacity every day.
I might try to take the opportunity to do other activities like hiking, or look into picking up a recreational sport. This would give me something to do when I wasn’t in the gym or working my way back to running.
Whatever I’d choose, making exercise a daily habit would help me rebuild my identity around being a person who takes their fitness seriously. That makes consistency a no-brainer. (Literally.)
The last fifteen years have given me plenty of experience with which to apply to help me get back in shape should ever I fall away from the lifestyle I’ve grown to know. These are the first things I’d do to help me get back in shape.
The secret is that you can take these strategies and apply them to your own life, regardless if you’ve ever been in shape or not.
There’s the saying, “A smart (wo)man learns from their mistakes, and a wise (wo)man learns from the mistakes of others.”
You can take my fifteen years of experience and apply what I’ve learned to make your health journey faster and hassle-free. If you find yourself wanting to work back to a healthier lifestyle you previously knew, these five actions can help expedite the process for you too.
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