Weight Loss Program, Part 8: Maintaining Weight Loss - The Long Term Plan - Activities

By Kathleen Goodwin, RD

ACTIVITY 1: Find a source of support and motivation

One of the biggest components in losing weight permanently is getting support from others, and staying active in a structured program. Remember that the end of this program is not the end of all the great progress you've made. However, if you fail to continue to work at your program, then you won't achieve the results you desire. Many times, when you leave a structured program such as this one, you can easily slip into old habits. Your focus now is to find a new source of group support and motivation that keeps you focused on your goals. It might simply be making a pact with a friend to exercise together four days a week and to be one another's motivator and health companion. On the other hand, you might wish to explore a more structured group program in your area where the focus is on achieving healthy weight loss or maintaining lost weight. Explore the following Web sites, get to know what their group programs are all about, and decide if they're for you. If you like what you see, contact a group in your area and become involved. If you're not happy with the programs below, call your local hospital or clinic to see if they offer group weight loss programs conducted by a registered dietitian. No matter what your choice, create a source of support and structure for yourself that keeps you focused on your goals.


Weight loss suppport groups:

ACTIVITY 2: Re-evaluate short-term goals

In Part Four, you began to create short-term goals for yourself. You created solutions to tackle some of your more pressing exercise, diet and behavior obstacles. If you remember from Part Four, there are 7 steps involved in goal setting. However, you were only asked to complete steps 1-5. This is because steps 6 and 7 can only be completed once you've given your initial goals and solutions some time to take effect. Now that some time has passed, let's review steps 6 and 7 of goal setting:

6) Monitor your progress at regular points in time. Ask yourself how far you've come towards accomplishing your initial short-term goals. After things are going well, say in a month, you might not have to put as much effort into the goals you selected. If things aren't going well, you might need to rethink the strategies you are using and try something different.

7) Set new short-term goals. When you feel you've mastered the previous short-term goals you set for yourself, create some new ones. Remember this is a journey, not a destination. Accomplishing any goal, whether it's weight loss or anything else in life, requires a lifelong commitment. You will always have to set new goals and work on new areas even when you accomplish your big long-term goals. For instance, after you lose the 60 pounds, what goals do you have to work on to maintain your weight? Plenty!

Now is the time to tackle steps 6 and 7. Take the following steps:

  1. Review your initial list of short-term goals. Ask yourself if you've done well in tackling these, and if the strategies you laid out to overcome these obstacles have worked well for you. Can you easily overcome these obstacles now with the strategies you've put into place? Have you mastered these initial problems and obstacles? If your answer is yes, it's time to move on to #3 and create some new goals. If your answer is no, move on to #2.

  2. If you're still having a tough time tackling your initial short-term goals, it's probably time to take a look at some of the strategies you've laid out to accomplish these goals. Perhaps these aren't the best strategies for you. What strategies are and aren't working? Try to come up with some new ways to approach your goals, and some new strategies that may be more realistic or fit into your lifestyle better. Continue to work on these initial goals you've set for yourself with the new strategies you create and give it another month. If at that time you feel you've mastered your initial goals, then move on to #3. If not, it's time to rethink your strategies again.
  3. Congratulations at mastering your initial short-term goals! As you're well aware, the process does not end here! Now it's time to review your food and activity diary to find some new areas where you need to focus your attention. Go back through steps 1-5 in goal creating in Part 4, or complete the self-assessment exercise in Part 4. Here, you'll identify some new obstacles that may be keeping you from achieving your long-term goals, and you'll create some new solutions to overcome them. Remember to go back to steps 6 and 7 of goal creating in a month or so and assess where you're at. You'll continue to repeat this process for as long as it's necessary (and behavior change takes a long, long time!)

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