By: Suzannne Doerries RD, LD

As you know CFR’s Transformation Challenge just came to an end. We had some phenomenal results! Between the 48 people who came in for their final weights and measurements, 286 pounds and 274 inches were lost! Can you believe that?! You can tell by the massive number of inches and weight shed that this was a period of high intensity as far as exercise and nutrition were concerned. People were focused and dedicated to a healthy lifestyle for the eight weeks of the challenge. But, what happens when challenges like these end? Are people able to maintain this level of commitment? Should they?

First, let’s start at the beginning. Why should you join a transformation challenge?

  1. A start and end date- It is nice to have a designated period of time for you to really try to focus on healthy changes.
  2. Motivation- You are working for a prize. Thought of winning $1,000 can help keep that sweet tooth at bay and get you off the couch.
  3. The opportunity to learn how strong you are- This is a time where you can see how hard you can push yourself. You
  4. Encouragement and support- Trainers, dietitians, and fellow challengers will give you help keep you going! You may even make some new friends!
  5. The resources to learn healthy eating and exercise habits- Most transformation challenges give out nutrition information and have workout programs to participate in.
  6. The chance to meet people who are also working towards the same goal- It is so much easier to eat healthy and workout if you surround yourself with people who are trying to do the same.
  7. The opportunity to experience how good nutrition and exercise can make you feel- You can see how great you feel once you are consistently eating healthy and working out.
  8. Confidence as you advance towards your goal- Who doesn’t get more confident when they fit into a smaller pair of jeans?!

Now back to what should happen when a transformation challenge ends. This is the tricky part. Creating a healthy lifestyle is a process. A transformation challenge is only a small segment of a long term change. It is not the change; it is meant to help you on your way to something bigger and better. Notice it does not say lose a bunch of weight and inches and then regain it. However, it is not uncommon that once a transformation challenge ends, healthy habits practiced during the challenge are forgotten causing people to regain all of the weight they lost, if not more.

CFR’s Transformation Challenge lasted eight weeks. During this time, most people pushed themselves to work out more and have an almost perfect diet. But most people cannot make that period of high intensity last forever. Just because the challenge ends does not mean all of your efforts should end or that you need to continue with that same intensity. We want to prevent the all or nothing approach from taking over. This will only cause you to undo all of the success you accomplished during the challenge.

It is important that you choose the times when you really want to focus on nutrition, exercise, and results, and the times you just want to maintain the results you have achieved. After a transformation challenge, a time of high intensity, it is okay to go into a maintenance phase, NOT a regain phase. The thing that matters is that you plan and keep your goals in mind. Do not leave it up to chance. This is a good time to refer to a previous blog post written by Steve Long titled “Developing a Yearly Training Calendar.” It goes over making a REALISTIC yearly calendar to keep you accountable and help you accomplish your goals.

It’s ultimately not about eight weeks of results; it’s about creating a lifestyle and long term results that will make you feel good both mentally and physically for the rest of your life. For those of you who rocked CFR’s Transformation Challenge, remember what you learned about yourself, nutrition, and exercise. Keep your end goal in mind and use all of that added knowledge to continue to grow. I hope it was a great kick start or got you out of your lull. You have worked so hard for your results. It’s okay if your next phase is a maintenance phase; just don’t let it be a regaining phase. Here’s to your continued success!

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