Your answers to these questions may be long or short. I’d encourage you to shoot for about a paragraph about each question. The purpose of the resulting document is to celebrate your success and to give you something to think about if you find yourself in relapse. A success story was part of the intervention kit used in the STOP Regain study.
Why were you overweight?
Some of us have been chronically overweight for as long as we can remember. Some experience a trauma or illness, or life event and find ourselves overweight. Many medications can cause excess weight as a symptom. Very often we start to carry excess weight as we age (technically, as our muscle mass decreases).
When did you decide to do something about it?
For many of us there is an “ah ha” moment when we realized enough was enough, or we had a paradigm shift that we could make a change where previously we had not. The NWCR identified such moments as a predictor of success in long term weight management.
How did you lose the weight?
What was your initial plan or strategy? Did it change as time went by? What would you tell someone just starting out? Is there maybe something you would have done differently?
What is different about your life now?
Recognizing that weight loss does not in itself fix everything, what are some specific things you couldn’t do before that you can do now? What feelings and attitudes are different? Are there behaviors that are different?
Find a picture of you before you lost weight. You may not have had one taken (I got very wiley about avoiding cameras when I was at my high weight). I wound up capturing images from video footage. Have a nice picture of yourself at goal.
Your Maintenance Plan
Think of the FANS acronym:
What is your balance of cardio and strength? Where will you work out? How will you fit it into your day?
Key predictors of success included fewer depressive symptoms. What is your support system like? What kinds of challenges to do think are likely, and how will you respond?
What do you eat, when and how much? Do you have a plan from your weight loss, or a maintenance plan from some other source? Do you monitor or track quantities, or do you avoid particular types of food? Do you get enough water, and how?
Do you have a system for tracking weight, food and fitness and how will you use it to keep yourself accountable?