What Does it Really Take to Permanently Lose Weight?

Most of you know I’m formerly morbidly obese. Weighing in at 296lbs at 28 is not something I’m particularly proud of, but it’s something I refer back to from time to time to bring up the issue of what it really takes to permanently lose weight.

It’s important because, if you’re reading this, you may know me now. That means you know I now exercise and teach exercise for a living. You also know I’m not particularly perfect. From this, you can ascertain two things:

  • First, that long-term weight loss can be your reality too—if I can do it, you can too.
  • Second, You know that to be healthy and strong is the ultimate goal, not any sort of false image of photo-shopped perfection (although a little photo-shopping isn’t bad once in awhile, right?!).

Here’s the real deal:

Making it to the finish line never happens. Sure, you can reach your goal weight, but then the job of maintaining that is almost always harder than losing the weight in the first place. There are lots of reasons for that, and the most important one is that you want to live your life.

I know you enjoy certain things…some of us like to have a glass of wine with dinner occasionally. Some of us really enjoy dessert. Some of us are from cultures where food is integral to joy and family and celebration. All of these things contribute to a lifelong struggle. Anyone can go on a short term fad diet, and there are plenty of them to try. Only some find a lifestyle of balance that keeps them in the healthy zone year after year. How is that done?

How to permanently lose weight and maintain a balanced lifestyle:

  1. It starts with YOU. If you aren’t convinced permanent weight loss can happen, you will rationalize your continued failure. Ok, you may rationalize your continued failure regardless, so that you can continue to do what you really want, which is eat the foods you enjoy but know aren’t working for you, or drink too much alcohol, even though you know it keeps the pounds on, or continue to eat too much sugar (dessert addicts) because you’re addicted and it’s just too hard to fight it. That’s pretty harsh, but it’s true.Following are excuses common to this: “I’m doing everything right but I just can’t lose a pound!”, “I only had 1 glass (know that your trainer knows this means 2-3 glasses) of wine but I just can’t give it up”, “I’m totally exercising! (but you only came once this week and didn’t do your homework)”.

    Know that until you make up your mind that you CAN overcome the sugar addiction, or the extra portions, or the extra glasses of wine, you will continue to be unsuccessful. Until you truly change your mindset to permanent lifestyle change, you will continue to falter. Once you do, however, you will find success follows you every step of the way.

  2. It requires SACRIFICE. Yes, you do have to limit that wine to one glass. No, you can’t have dessert every night and lose weight (unless you start to adjust your recipes to accommodate your new needs). Yes, you do need to be showing up daily at the gym, or getting in some form of movement daily. No, you can’t eat every weekend until you pass out and expect to get off that roller-coaster.
  3. You need a PLAN. If you turn around after reading this article, all fired up and ready to go, and plunge into the day willy-nilly, you will fail. You need to have a plan. You need to address your food and your exercise. Sometimes you can do that successfully with a log—writing everything down can be a great teacher. Others will need a professional to create a plan. Still others can do some research on the internet and create their own plan. Whatever is right for you, be assured you need to have the steps in a concrete format to move forward and be accountable to yourself.
  4. You need to STICK to your PLAN. Once you have decided what you are going to do, you have to do it. I know it sounds simple, but every day, I hear people say “I know my health is a priority, I’m starting this diet/exercise/plan/thingy today.” By tomorrow, that’s gone by the wayside, and then the following week I hear the same mantra all over again, from the same person, and the same lack of results has occurred. You are responsible for you. You need to take that responsibility seriously. Your health is in the balance. You are accountable to yourself.
  5. Stop the EXCUSES. Excuses help no one. They don’t help you. They don’t help me. They are just a cop out for not accomplishing your goals. You CAN take charge. You CAN win this battle of the bulge, and so much more.

Melissa Abramovich Headshot

Written by Melissa Abramovich, ACE CPT, NASM CGT, AAHFRP Medical Exercise Specialist at Elite Sports Club-River Glen

Melissa Abramovich went into Personal Training and Group Exercise instruction after successfully losing 140 pounds through healthy diet and exercise. Her desire to help others drove her forward into a career helping others to make healthier choices. She is an ACE certified personal trainer and now also a Medical Exercise Specialist (AAHFRP), helping clients with a myriad of health issues at Elite Sports Clubs. She holds a Bachelor’s degree, and many group exercise related certifications as well.

Drink Water for Weight Loss

By Dory Karinen, Personal Trainer, Elite Sports Club-West Brookfield

There’s so much more to water beyond just quenching your thirst! And as the weather heats up, there’s no better time than now to use weight-loss as an excuse to stay properly hydrated!

Water Glasses

8 glasses a day keeps the fat away.

As incredible as it may seem, water is quite possibly the single most important catalyst in losing weight and keeping it off. Although most of us take it for granted, water may be the only true “magic potion” for permanent weight loss. Water suppresses the appetite naturally, hydrates your body, and helps the body metabolize stored fat. The kidneys cannot function properly without enough water. When the kidneys can’t function properly, they deposit everything into the liver. The liver’s function is to metabolize stored fat into usable energy. If it is doing some of the kidney’s work, then it is not working at 100% capacity and more stored fat stays as stored fat. Water reduces fluid retention in your body. When your body doesn’t get enough water, it perceives this as a threat to survival and begins to hold on to every drop of water and every drop of fat. More often than not, when you feel hungry, it is because your body is dehydrated, not food-starved.

Water Facts:

  • You can survive for weeks without food, but only days without water.
  • 60-70% of your body is water.
  • Obesity decreases the percentage of body water – to as low as 45%.
  • 8-12 cups of water are lost daily and must be replaced.
  • Thirst is often misinterpreted as hunger.
  • By the time you feel thirsty, your body may already be dehydrated.

Water is critical for all bodily functions, especially when you are losing weight.

Water is required to maintain muscle mass. Muscle is the “furnace” for burning fat and calories. You need to maintain your muscle mass while losing weight. In fact, every chemical reaction in the body, including the breakdown of body fat, requires water. Water also helps rid the body of waste. During weight loss, the body has a lot more waste to get rid of – all that metabolized fat had toxins stored in it that must be eliminated. Without adequate water, waste products just stay in the system.

Water helps to suppress the appetite naturally and is the best treatment for fluid retention.

When people feel hungry, they may actually be thirsty! Drinking more water than recommended does not cause bloating or water retention when you have normally functioning heart and kidneys. Excess water is very quickly eliminated, and allows the body to function properly. If you have a consistent problem with water retention, too much salt may be to blame. Processed foods contain a tremendous amount of salt. The more salt you eat, the more water your system needs to get rid of it. If you don’t get enough water you will feel bloated. But getting rid of unneeded salt is easy – just drink more water! The more you drink the more ya shrink!

Drinking Naturally Flavored Water

Water is such an integral part in our overall health and wellness. Often people complain that they don’t like the “taste” of water. Instead of purchasing processed and sugar-filled bottled “health” waters, or adding crystallized (sugar) flavoring, consider adding fruits like berries, or lemons to your water. Or you can even try mint & cucumber for more of a “cocktail” flavor!

Our certified and educated staff at Elite Sports Clubs are a wealth of knowledge when it comes to this and other topics! You are always welcome to consult our trainers & Registered Dietitian for health & nutrition advice. Interested in becoming a member at our clubs? Stop in for a tour of any of our 5 Elite Sports Clubs locations. We look forward to seeing you soon!

How many glasses (or ounces) of water do you drink each day? Do you drink it plain, or add in some healthy “flavors”? Tell us in the comments!