Not many people make the decision to lose weight and never touch a cookie or fancy coffee drink, or skip a workout ever again. Life happens, and we indulge in a piece of cake at a wedding, or have a bad day and steal a brownie in the break room at work. No one is immune to the weight loss challenges and temptations that people face on a daily basis.
The beautiful thing about a slip-up is that it gives you an opportunity to practice overcoming adversity and learning from your mistakes. Looking at a set back as a situation that you can learn from can help you get yourself back on track with a better attitude and stronger commitment. Here are some strategies for dealing with setbacks along your weight loss journey.
- Anticipate setbacks. Know that they are coming and that you are not alone in experiencing them.
- Survey the damage. It’s important to meet your setback head on. Don’t just look the other way. That won’t make what happened go away and will only make it more difficult to meet your goals later on. Recognize the setback for what it is: a misstep on your weight loss journey.
- Feel disappointed. Go ahead; give yourself a little time to be upset and acknowledge those feelings. But set a time limit. For example, take 10 minutes to wallow in that disappointment, but then at the end of that time, take a deep breath and move on.
- Size up the situation. Now that you’ve had an emotional reaction to what happened, sit down and look at the situation logically and without emotion. Try to be as honest as possible. Once you understand what happened, you can figure out how to prevent it next time.
- Make a plan for the next time you are in that situation, and recognize the situations that are more likely to tempt you into slipping up. For example, if you know that dessert at a family event is particularly tempting, try and leave before it is served. Or allow yourself to have a small piece, while adjusting the rest of what you eat to accommodate it.
- Don’t give up. The most important thing is to get yourself back on track as quickly as possible. Don’t let one bad decision derail the rest of your weight loss goals. Simply make a better choice at your next opportunity and keep moving forward.
- Manage your self-talk. Don’t let that little voice in your head mess with your progress. Instead of listening to the voice that justifies eating a piece of pizza the next day just because you had a cookie the night before, discover a different voice—the one that encourages you to start making healthier choices at the very next opportunity that presents itself.
Losing weight is a process and a journey. It is not a quick and easy activity that you do for a few weeks until you drop the pounds and return to your former life. Recognize that this process involves learning new behaviors and will take time. Remember to take this one step at a time. You’ll be so happy that you kept with it!