Reaching ‘Target’ is a goal that we all strive towards. We ‘Food Optimise’, we measure our healthy A’s and B’s, we count our syns, we scrutinise our social events, we make sure that nothing gets in our way. In theory we all know ‘how’ to get to target but what about ‘staying’ at target?
The Big Day
The ‘Big Day’ arrived. Everyone clapped and cheered. Photos were taken of the momentous occasion. I was awarded a ‘target badge’, a ‘target certificate’, a ‘target book’ – everyone congratulated me and then I sat in my chair. That was the moment I realised that my focus for months – even years – had been to reach a certain weight goal. I had made it. Now what do I do?
I didn’t need to lose weight anymore, I needed to stay as I was – but how do you do that? All along the journey I had been telling myself what to eat, what not to eat, how to cook this and how to cook that… Listening to tips about how to lose weight and I had now arrived! But I didn’t need to lose anymore…
A New Day
It is a bit like going on holiday. You have done the packing, the planning, the journey and you have arrived at your holiday. Now you are meant to relax and enjoy it. If you are anything like me, I need a day to realise that I am on holiday, let alone start to enjoy it!
When you reach ‘Target’, you don’t suddenly become a new person. You don’t suddenly look slim. Your mind is still in weight loss mode and you sort of feel lost because you don’t know what to do next!
The target book helps – we have been schooled to know that we can read up on Slimming World and know what to do. However, it doesn’t change how you feel as you are still the same person; you have just achieved your target weight loss goal.
Many people, including myself, initially feel that you can eat anything, and everything will be the same! However, our bodies will put on weight if we go off plan. I discovered this when I went out for a meal and ate the full three courses. Fortunately I had gone under my target and so I had just enough leeway to keep inside the target range of 3 lbs above or below the designated target. Phew!
Tips To Help Stay At Target
It is at this point that we need the help of others in group who have reached and maintained their target weight. I spent ages grilling one particular person in group called Bindi. She and her husband had been at target since before I joined the Bluebrook Park group.
The tips I received were to keep varying things. Make sure you have about seven or more different breakfasts, plus a wide selection of meals and lots of snack options. Basically, you stay on plan and check that you are maintaining. Eat a lot of varied food and lots of speed. You can add an extra Healthy B and a few syns but always remember that your weight can go back on. The regime eases but the framework is still there.
The most important thing for me was to realise that Slimming World is a complete life change. It is a permanent change to my eating habits and not a temporary blip. It doesn’t mean I can never have something that I love to eat or drink – but that I need to allow for it as I had done when following the weight loss journey.
If you have a ‘flexible Syn’ day, you need to food optimise to ensure that it doesn’t mean you add a lot of weight. It is a controlled way of eating. You have to keep your new good habits, or the old ones will come back and before you know it you have fallen off the wagon and gone back to your old ways of eating and drinking and the pounds are creeping back on.
Initially I was quite obsessed with my weight and needed to know I was staying inside my top and bottom weight range. In group we are always encouraged to only weigh in group as the group scales are calibrated and give an accurate weight.
Now you are at target you don’t need to have an accurate weight, you just need to know if you are going up or down or staying the same. You don’t need to weigh every week and are allowed to fluctuate – so long as you stay in your target range. I now use our home scales to keep an eye on my weight but still go to group regularly to make sure I follow the “plan” and help and encourage others to get there.
If you have an event or a holiday coming up, there is nothing to prevent you from food optimising so that you go to the lower end of your target range. You then have a little more leeway while on holiday. There is nothing more upsetting than relaxing and realising that you have put on extra pounds while on holiday.
Yes, you will come back to the weighing scales, but you can limit the damage by trying to food optimise while on holiday by making good choices, but you have a little safety net to help protect your weight loss so that any increase is minimal and less likely to be much outside your target range – although you will have a short time to get back in range.
Before and After Photos
Make sure you have before and after photos so show how far you have come. It took quite a few months before I started to realise that I looked slimmer – no matter how many people told me. I was still dressing as if I was carrying extra weight. We can’t all afford a new wardrobe, but it is important to look at what we are wearing and dress to suit the new shape we have achieved.
You cannot really look good in size 20 clothes if you are a 14! Neither can you look as good in a size 14 or 12 if you are really a size 10 or 8. It does take a bit of time to get used to seeing the new you and being the new you. Usually it is a good idea to take a good friend or family member you can trust to help you when you start to get your new clothes. Sometimes a new hair style can help too as it gives us a new lease of life and more self-confidence.
It is also important to enjoy the benefits of your weight loss. Make sure you get out doing the things you were too big to enjoy before. Join events where people don’t know you. Maybe take up ballroom dancing, join a rambling or other walking group – even start to join in family events that you didn’t have the energy to do before.
You have really worked hard to get to target and it is really important that you enjoy it and all the benefits that it brings. You have been given a new lease of life and need to live life to the full. Be proud of what you have done and let everyone see the difference it has made to you.
Staying To Group
Most important of all – keep going to your group and they will help you to keep on track while you can encourage them to get to target too. If you need another goal – aim for the Diamond Member Badge. You can only get this by staying in target for a year – and the best chance of that is to stay to group. I can’t wait to get my Diamond Member Badge in July. After a year, you will really know you have created a new way of life and can be super proud of yourself.
No longer do I have to choose clothes that hide my shape and disguise my weight. I can now choose clothes that I want to wear. I can do activities that I want to do without fear of not having enough stamina. I can share in family life and enjoy life to the full knowing that I have taken steps to ensure my weight is no longer an issue.
I have worked really hard to reach my target weight. I fully intend to enjoy it to the max! I’m also not going to let anyone steal my target. The ball is in my court. No excuses. I am in control. It is up to me to maintain my new found ‘Target Weight’. I am determined to enjoy my new found freedom. I encourage you to enjoy it too when you attain your desired target weight.
(Thanks to my wonderful wife Karen for writing this blog post)