You made it! This is the last step in the Millennial’s Guide to Healthy Living on the Go. I hope by now you have a few takeaways for implementing healthy habits into your own busy lifestyle. If you missed the first three sections of this guide check out Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 before scrolling down below.
… No really. You can’t handle part 4 until you’ve experience 1, 2, and 3.
Part 4: Maintenance
So, you’ve hit your goal — now what?
Celebrate with cakes!
What kind of celebration is that?
A small piece of cake with a side of veggies?
Now you’re talking.
The key to maintenance is creating a healthy habit but also allowing yourself to cheat once and a while. Depriving yourself can only work for so long, and then you’re bound to crack.
Once you’ve hit your goal it’s really hard not to fall off the wagon and start eating like crap again.
There’s no such thing as perfection, especially when it comes to a healthy lifestyle. The goal is to continue the healthy behaviors you’ve learned until you don’t need to think about it anymore. You just do it.
For me, exercise has become intuitive, and I’ve gotten to the point where I need it every day to maintain my energy levels. As an introvert, I’ve come to value my time at the gym as valuable alone time. With such a busy schedule, the gym allows me to think to myself and recharge.
I’m not quite there with my eating habits yet. But I have noticed that when I do eat poorly for an extended period of time. (i.e. the holidays or vacation). My stomach starts a protest, and I feel both sick and lethargic. This has deterred me to a certain degree, but I’ve still got work to do.
I also find that after prolonged periods of unhealthiness, I start to crave veggies and fruits. This is the key to maintenance.
You hear it all the time with the big diet names, and Weight Watchers is no exception — it’s about a lifestyle change, not a quick fix. Crazy fad diets don’t work because you can’t keep up with them long term.
If you do choose to employ a diet or exercise plan to take off the weight, make sure its something you can sustain long term. Or if it’s a jump start program, have a separate plan for maintenance.
When you do choose to go off plan — whether it’s missing a workout or satisfying a burger craving — you should still feel in control. You should actively decide to eat a piece of cake on your best friend’s birthday rather than scarfing down 3 pieces in the kitchen while no one is looking.
Weight Watchers, specifically, gives you extra “Weekly Points” in addition to your daily allotment. You can distribute them throughout the week, if say, you’ve got an evening sweet tooth. Or you can save them up for the weekend and have one full day of eating whatever you want.
When I did Body for Life a few years ago, they offered a weekly “free day” for you to eat all of the unauthorized foods that you desire.
Take a day off once or twice a week or allow yourself a small treat each day. The same goes with exercising, set a schedule and stick to it, but allow yourself a few off days. I usually work out Monday through Friday and take the weekend off, but you might prefer a mid-week break. Find out what works best for you.
This cheating allows helps you not to feel deprived of your favorite foods and give in to your cravings in a controlled way.
Once you recognize that you can’t be perfect, you can truly start living a healthy life.