Recapping Weeks 13 and 14 of Kathie J. and Larry’s weight loss journey

In Chapter 9 of State of Slim, we address the difference between weight loss and weight loss maintenance. A lot of people don’t understand this difference, and it’s one of the biggest reasons I see people regain the weight. These are people who will successfully lose 20 pounds but gain it all back because they only focused on losing the weight and not keeping it off. They re-lose the weight, then re-gain it, in that up-and-down pattern we call the yo-yo.

 Losing weight and keeping it off are not the same thing. Being in weight loss is like swimming up a river and weight maintenance is like treading water. If you try to swim up river forever, you will get super tired — so tired that you will lie on your back and float back down the river (i.e., you gain back all the weight). Instead, you need to learn to stay in place in the river once you lose the weight. That’s Week 14: understanding the difference between the two, and the behaviors associated with maintenance.

No one I work with in my clinic is ever ready to go into maintenance — and it’s no different with Kathie J. and Larry. People always want to lose a little more. But scientific studies show us that six months is about the max that most people can lose weight (there are some exceptions). After that time, you will get so tired of being in a negative energy balance, of restricting your diet, that it will start to backfire: Your body will fight back and so will your mind.

If you get tired, spend about two to three months maintaining your weight. When you feel strong again, try going back into weight loss.

Kathie J. & Larry’s Progress

When you’re by yourself, you probably don’t think, “I want to go out to happy hour every night of the week.” But when your friends or co-workers are going out different nights of the week, it feels normal to join them. This has a major impact on your eating habits, and often, we don’t even realize it.

In State of Slim we work on changing your social environment. The first step, as always, is awareness. You need to understand who is influencing your behavior. Only then can you decide whether you need to make a change about who’s influencing you.

Think about it like you’re climbing a mountain: There are people ahead of you and people behind you. The people higher on the mountain reach back, give you a hand and pull you up. The people lower on the mountain will either pull you down, or they’ll ask you to pull them up with you.

To really help Kathie J. and Larry make a change, I had them make two lists: One for the positive people that are helping them, and one for the people who are influencing unhealthy behaviors. It’s important to remember that these lists have nothing to do with what kind of person they are; you’re not judging people as “bad” or “good.” You’re simply becoming aware of how your environment influences you. Once you’re aware, you start to think more consciously about how you spend your time. Maybe you start hanging out with the co-workers who go on a run at lunch rather than the co-workers who go to happy hour. Or maybe you spend time with friends who hike on the weekends instead of hanging out with friends who encourage unhealthy eating and drinking.

You Can Be an Influencer

It seems like they just started their journey — I can’t believe it’s already Week 14! Looking at Larry and Kathie J., you’d think more time had passed. They seem happier and they have really become new people in how they think and what they do. It’s so cool to see their transformation. They are really starting to feel like State of Slimmers.

In Weeks 13 and 14, we are setting them up for their forever journeys. Since they started losing weight, I told them they had to begin with the end in mind. Now, here we are.

Week 13 is about paying it forward — helping others to help yourself keep the weight off. Keep following Kathie J. and Larry to see how they’re inspiring others to follow them on their path.

Your Takeaway:

If catch yourself wanting to stay in weight loss, but you’re getting tired, you’re wondering if this is working, and you’re getting frustrated, it may be time to move into weight-loss maintenance. Remember: What you’re doing for weight loss is not something you can do forever; it’s something you do for a short period of time.

Follow and support Larry and Kathie J. The more you connect, the easier your journey will be.

Learn more about the State of Slim at the CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center