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Breaking old habits to keep the weight off for good!

The most common question I am asked is how did I keep the 30kgs off and stop falling back into old habits.

By Alicia Jovcevski, Owner at Bangor

The most common question I am asked is how did I keep the 30kgs off and stop falling back into old habits, and my answer is: I changed my life.

  1. I changed my habits first.
  2. I loved how I felt and who I saw in my new skin when I reached my goal.
  3. I accepted my new self and understood what it took to get there and I knew what I had to do to continue to stay there. I enjoyed my process and transformed my mindset.

Deprivation and unenjoyment simply doesn’t work! Good endorphin feels with your training and enjoyable food absolutely does!

Sickness, injuries and pregnancy have all felt like “set-backs” in my health and fitness journey and let’s face it they are, but looking back, had I not had the right habit change in place I would have fallen off.  I now see them as a re-route to discovering different and more exciting ways to maintaining my weight and my training. If you love the way a healthy and fit lifestyle makes you feel, it becomes your way of life!

When you can’t train the way you’re used to, it does feel de-motivating – a broken hip, heavily pregnant, shingles, to name a few of my most recent ailments but that’s where you call on your trainer to help you achieve the same result in a different setting. Pivot, don’t stop!

This is where I have discovered that if you FALL IN LOVE WITH THE PROCESS – eating well and exercising, you stay the course and the dividends will follow.

Success is the result of daily habits. Never underestimate the value of making small improvements on a daily basis. Those 1% matter! Habits are the compounded interest of self-improvement. The effect of your habits multiplies as you repeat them, eventually they become second nature.

We need to start looking at our current trajectory rather than our current results.

Your health, weight and fitness are a trailing measure of your current eating and exercise habits. You get what you repeat.  Push yourself in your exercise sessions and eat well = health improvement. Stay complacent, don’t challenge your body and eat poorly = health declines.

If you want to predict where your health will be in 10-20 years to come, look at how your daily choices will compound 10 or 20 years down the track. Time magnifies the margin between success and failure. It will multiply whatever you feed it. Good habits make time your friend. Bad habits make time your enemy. Your habits can compound for you or against you.

All big things come from small beginnings – a split decision on deciding to get a personal trainer can change your life.  A goal to be a healthier version of yourself is great but it’s not about a single accomplishment, it’s about the endless refinement and continuous improvement on your health that makes all the difference. Your commitment to the process will determine your progress and success.

Focus on the process rather than a single goal!

Your tiny routines in each and every day at first seem insignificant, but after a while they compound with each other and contribute to your overall improvement. They fuel bigger wins that multiply to a degree that far outweighs the cost of their initial investment.

Motivation is not enough! Motivation is what gets you started, habit is what keeps you going.

Making health and wellness apart of your identity and part of your life is what makes it sustainable. It’s not a destination it’s a lifelong journey.  Anyone can eat well and attend the gym once or twice but if you don’t shift the belief behind the behaviour of why you do it, then it’s hard to stick with the long-term changes. Improvements are only temporary until they become a part of who you are.

Have a goal but focus on nailing the process!

The goal is not to lose weight, the goal is to maintain a healthy and happy weight.
The goal is not to run a marathon, the goal is to become a runner. 
The goal is not to lift weights, the goal is to have a toned physique.

Can you see the difference? We get so pre-occupied about achieving that end goal that we lose our motivation overlooking the small wins during the process! We need to stay patient and put more focus more on that.

A desired outcome goal is great and we need our goals to be specific but fundamentally as important is the key process that when performed consistently, will lead you to your destination. And once that process is engrained into your every day, the achievement stays!

Maintaining weight loss looks like this:

  • Outcome goal – Losing weight (what you get).
  • Process goal – Changing lifestyle habits to eating well and exercising (what you do).
  • Identity shift – Seeing yourself as someone who looks after themselves (self-image and judgements about yourself).

All levels of change are useful in their own ways. The issue is the direction of change. Focusing on what we want to achieve which leads to our outcome-based habits, we need to build identity-based habits which focus on who we wish to become.

Tracking your action!

Tracking your progress is a critical component of goal attainment. The big challenge with process goals is that they’re generally pretty boring and can feel mundane. Usually they’re a grind. They are the small wins that lead to the exciting stuff. It may take months, or even years of chipping away at your process goals before you see the results of the daily grind. If you fail to track this weekly progress it’s likely that you’ll fall off or quit long before your end goal is achieved.

Self-talk shift

Research has shown that once a person believes in a particular aspect of their identity, they’re more likely to act in alignment with that belief. Never shifting the way someone looks at themselves and their old identity can sabotage their new plans for change in behaviour.

The ultimate form of intrinsic motivation (which is the act of doing something without any obvious external rewards. You do it because it's enjoyable and interesting, rather than because of an outside incentive or pressure to do it) is when that habit becomes your identity. The more pride you have in a particular aspect of your identity the more motivated you’ll be to maintain the habits associated with it.

“I now take pride in properly taking care of myself”.

If you’re proud of your awesome health score, great blood test results, low body %, toned physique etc, the more motivated you will be to maintain it.

Behaviour or mindset that is contradictory with the self will not last. You may want better health but if you continue to prioritise comfort over accomplishment, you’ll be drawn to relaxing and watching NETFLIX rather than training. It’s hard to change your habits if you never change your underlying beliefs that led to your past behaviour.

To create intrinsic motivation for long-lasting change, consider incorporating these 3 strategies:

  • Evaluate your motivators and understand your WHY
  • Chase your passion and seek fulfillment to sustain interest
  • Forget the rewards and find lasting contentment

So, to keep the fire going, do something for pure enjoyment of the activity itself, because it’s fulfilling and enjoyable. Once you find your internal generator, you will be truly unstoppable!

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