When Is The Right Time To Enter Maintenance?
When our patients first start our program, they typically are extremely motivated and excited to start on their weight loss journey. Patients begin our program with full intentions to reach their goal weight prior to transitioning into the maintenance program. However, over time, it is human nature to become bored, unmotivated, and ultimately develop “diet fatigue.”
Diet Fatigue and Maintenance
This is usually the time where patients contemplate going into our maintenance program even before achieving their goal weight. While this option may be tempting, it is not always the best choice. When we see returning weight loss patients that have regained weight, we ask them what they plan on doing differently compared to the last time. The majority say “I wish I would have stuck it out and reached my goal weight prior to going into maintenance.”
There is something very powerful psychologically about setting a goal and seeing it through until the end. It creates a sense of self confidence and it ignites ongoing motivation to keep the weight off and continue with a healthy lifestyle. When one gives up too soon on their goal, this can create feelings of shame, a decline in self-worth, and lack of control. These negative feelings make it easier to fall back into unhealthy habits and weight gain.
There are a few scenarios where taking a break from weight loss and going into maintenance is necessary. Sometimes the stress in life can be too heavy and one must take a break from the program. We always urge these patients to continue with maintenance so they have ongoing support and accountability. We remind them to think of this as a temporary leave of absence and to pick a date to return to weight loss. Patients sometimes want to focus more on their fitness and the calorie restricting in weight loss is too low to support the vigorous exercise they wish to do. We tell these patients that they can still do some exercise while in weight loss and that vigorous exercise will be safer and more enjoyable at their goal weight. Our clinic has a wonderful exercise physiologist that is available to our patients to help them come up with an exercise plan that is compatible with weight loss.
How to Best Deal With Diet Fatigue
When diet fatigue sets in it can be very difficult to keep up with the demands of the weight loss program. Sometimes switching diet options can help or trying out some of our delicious recipes to help create more variety. Unfortunately, there are reasons for leaving weight loss that cannot be avoided such as medical issues, financial hardship, etc.
There are many different reasons one may want to leave the weight loss program before reaching their goal and we urge these patients to speak with their medical provider and behaviorists when they are considering this option. We do everything in our power to help you reach your goals and we are your number one advocates and cheerleaders. We also encourage all of our patients to remind themselves of their reasons for doing this program and often that can help people recommit to the program.
Weight loss is a difficult journey and we are here every step of the way. We want our patients to value themselves and not give up on themselves. Reaching a goal that we set for ourselves is a perfect example of prioritizing oneself and this leads to ongoing self-care in maintaining a healthy weight.