One of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to lose weight isn’t that they don’t know how to do it, but that they don’t consider the importance of making their weight loss sustainable and long-lasting, which is why The Biggest Loser contestants often end up gaining back the weight they lost so quickly, sometimes even more. We’ve all seen this happen on the show. However, there are plenty of things you can learn from The Biggest Loser contestants that will help your weight loss last long after the show ends.
1) Put Weight Loss First.
In order to safely lose weight, you need to make your new healthy habits a top priority. Just as an entrepreneur who builds a business will put it before their family or social life. You should put your health before other habits like watching TV, sleeping in, or eating takeout every night.
Healthy habits like exercising and eating right can also be some of your greatest self-care tools. Regular exercise decreases stress, relieves depression and anxiety symptoms, and gives you a strong sense of pride that only comes from seeing yourself improve.
Focus on building healthy habits that support each other rather than canceling each other out getting seven hours of sleep a night supports dieting just as much as dieting supports getting seven hours of sleep. If you’re struggling with any one habit, try finding ways to increase its positive effects while decreasing its negative ones.
For example, if you’re having trouble sticking with your diet because of cravings, focus on increasing how often you exercise instead of trying to cut back on sweets (which might cause cravings). Or if exercising is too difficult for your schedule right now, focus on making small changes to what you eat instead (like replacing soda with water). You don’t have to give up everything at once — but do give up something.
2) Eat Clean.
In order to lose weight, you’re going to have to change your diet. You can work out as much as you want but if you don’t start eating right it’s not going to help, says ranch owner and fitness competitor Raquel Desamours.
The single most important thing that you need to do in order to safely lose weight is to develop a healthy relationship with food. This means eating small portions of lean protein such as poultry or fish at least twice per day, consuming complex carbohydrates such as oatmeal at least once per day, fruits and vegetables at every meal, and a handful of nuts or dried fruit daily, plus plenty of water daily.
Never drink your calories! It’s easy to consume hundreds of extra calories without even realizing it by drinking sugary beverages like soda, juice, or sweetened coffee drinks. It doesn’t take long for these little extras to add up and derail your weight loss efforts.
Exercise: While exercise is certainly not required for losing weight, studies show that regular physical activity helps people achieve their goals faster than those who don’t exercise regularly. According to Dr. Robert Huizenga (aka Dr. H), if you’re trying to lose fat and keep it off, then regular aerobic exercise is essential. He suggests getting at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio three times per week.
Focus on activities that use large muscle groups and are rhythmic in nature—such as walking, running, swimming, or cycling—as they will burn more calories than repetitive movements like crunches. Set realistic goals: If you’re starting out on your weight-loss journey, set yourself up for success by making sure your expectations are realistic.
3) Identify the Triggers.
If you find yourself falling into a rut of eating junk food every day, make a note of why. Is it boredom? Stress? Low energy levels? Please make a list of your top three reasons for overeating (or whatever else) in order to stop it from happening again.
For example, if you know that when you get stressed at work, your first instinct is to run out for fast food—put stress on your list. Once you’ve identified what causes your bad habits, put plans in place so that next time those trigger events happen they’ll be met with positive behaviors or thoughts instead. If triggers aren’t at fault but low energy levels are draining your willpower, try setting reminders throughout your day to eat well-balanced meals.
This way, even if you’re busy and forget to take care of yourself properly, your mind will remember what’s important. Over time, these subtle cues will help rewire your brain so you associate good habits with healthy thoughts and actions.
Note That Calories Don’t Matter: Studies show that as long as dieters don’t exceed their daily calorie intake goals, any amount of weight loss can be considered successful. So don’t sweat tracking calories or weighing portions—instead focus on making sure your body gets all of its essential nutrients by following a balanced diet rich in lean proteins, healthy fats, fiber-rich carbs, vitamins, and minerals.
It’s not enough to lose weight—it’s important to do it in a healthy way. It may take you longer than 3 months, but you don’t want your dream weight loss plan amounting to nothing but unhealthy weight loss. After all, whether you like it or not, health is wealth!