We live in a world today in which instant gratification has become the norm. If information is needed, we can get it online. If we’re hungry, we satisfy those cravings by visiting a drive-through restaurant or vending machine.
Trying to achieve instant gratification when losing weight is sure to backfire and ultimately result in failure. Permanent results should be the ultimate goal when planning a weight reduction regimen.
Many times a person can get side-tracked by the slow rate of weight loss, instead of focusing on reaching an ideal weight and maintaining it. Patience is a key factor in successful long-term weight loss. Without it, decisions can be made that lead to short-term results but long-term disappointment.
A desire to achieve quick results can result in poor dieting strategies. Trying to achieve quick weight loss by following extremely low-calorie diets of under 1,200 calories per day often results in feelings of deprivation, resulting in resuming old eating habits and rapid regaining of weight.
To maintain weight loss long term, calories should be reduced in moderation. Patience and planning are cornerstones of any nutritional plan that leads to long-term success. Following a well-balanced meal plan requires learning and understanding the basics of nutrition. Invest the time to educate yourself about various foods and their nutrition value. The learning process takes patience and commitment.
One thing I learned from trying to maintain my weight long term is that it isn’t always wise to completely eliminate high-calorie foods and snacks. In the short term, it makes meal preparation easier since there are no negotiations about how much to eat of your favorite foods. Avoiding all your favorite foods is not a realistic long-term approach to sustainable weight loss.
Losing and maintaining weight has its ups and downs. It takes patience to endure these challenges. There will probably be days of going off your diet and having to be gentle with yourself for not being as disciplined as you want to be. However, the acts of trying, forgiving yourself for any dieting failures and pressing on to do better the next day are important for establishing healthy patterns and maintaining long-term weight loss.
Patience and persistence are also needed when starting a regular exercise routine. The changes you want to see will not happen overnight. When you establish a sound and reasonable exercise program that you can adhere to on a daily basis, you will be rewarded with long-term results based on gradual effort and improvement.
Find several different methods to measure success other than just the number on the scale. Keep track of your chest, waist and hip measurements, and record changes once a month. Keeping track of your body fat percentage is also a good way of measuring progress. Some local gyms and fitness centers can measure body fat for you, or some local clinics have scales that measure body fat. Keep track of other improvements you make, such as how long it takes you to walk your walking route, how many push ups you can do, or how many consecutive days you exercise. The possibilities for tracking improvement are endless. Make it fun and challenging.
Remember, slow and steady wins the race. Patience and persistence will pay off.
Lee Anne Grace is an elementary music teacher for Tupelo Public Schools. After reaching a weight of almost 300 pounds and failing at numerous diets for over 25 years, she has been successful at losing weight and maintaining her weight loss for three years.