I may not be an expert at many things, but trust me, I’m an expert at failing. I suppose that’s how it has to be though, if you never fail, you never try anything.
If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, you know something about failure. Show me one person who started their diet on day1 and did everything right until the very end. I would like to meet that person, however, I don’t know that they exist. If you keep failing at your weight-loss attempts, good! That means you are still trying! It is not truly failure until that day you give up on something forever. Let’s hope that your health is something that you don’t give up on forever.
So in your journey, the most important thing you can do with a slip-up (let’s stop calling it failure, because you’re not giving up, right?) is to learn from it. If you can figure out why it is that you are slipping-up, then you can use that knowledge to ensure that you become successful. So let’s talk about some of the biggest reasons we slip-up.
1. We look too far ahead. This one is huge. You’ve been working out for months and you have that dress hanging up in your closet that doesn’t quite fit . You have been avoiding trying on that dress because you can’t wait to put it on your new, slim body. So the day comes, you’re ready to put on that dress and you’re so excited! Oops, guess what? it doesn’t fit. You’re devastated so you completely fall off the wagon, because if you can’t fit into that dress after all of you’re hard work then nothing really matters. We’ve all been there in some way or another. Especially for people like me who have the hardest time losing weight. I know people always tell you to make goals, because it makes you motivated, but just because you didn’t quite make your goal, doesn’t mean that you’re a failure. I don’t make goals. I know that sounds awful, but they just don’t work for me. I am driven by being healthy. My happiness is not dependent upon fitting into that dress that I shouldn’t have bought anyway, because it doesn’t fit. Goals may work for you, but go back and think of your past failures with weight-loss; Were any of them caused by you not reaching a goal? The biggest pay off for me was the day that I walked by a mirror and I was stopped in my tracks. I couldn’t believe that was me staring back, I looked so much thinner. Your body is on its own schedule. It doesn’t realize when your friend’s wedding is, or if it’s bikini season. It doesn’t know that you need to be able to fit into a certain dress in 2 weeks. You should expect results if you are pushing your body, but realize that you do not get to choose your results. Take joy in the little things.
2. We listen to our friends and family instead of researching the facts. I hate to say this, but it’s mostly true. I don’t care if it’s your mom or your aunt or your grandfather, know your source! Do you want to know advice I’ve been given? Okay here goes: “Wait til you lose weight to start running, it will be too hard”, “You will destroy your body if you start running”, ” You’re a growing girl, you have to eat a lot or you will stop growing”, “Maybe you’re just meant to be a big girl.” When someone tells you something, no matter how much you respect them, you need to research the facts. It’s not hard. If you’re reading this blog chances are, you know how to use google. You really have to be careful about your sources, but don’t count out blogs, discussion threads, and personal experiences. I found the most relate-able information by reading about people with similar issues and finding out how they fixed their problems. You have to understand that everyone is different, but there is no harm in trying something that worked for someone else. What better learning tool could there be than the human experience. Oh and if I had waited until I had lost weight to start running, I would have never lost the weight in the first place!
3. Sugar. A sugar addiction can seriously derail your weight-loss efforts. It is difficult to break the vicious cycle of sugar addiction, but it is possible! Check out this post for more information: Sugar Addiction
4. Social Situations. Your friends…they love you…but they may not always be the greatest influences. Going to restaurants, road trips, weekend outings, are all wonderful, but they could be thwarting your efforts to become healthy. We don’t like to be different. We would love to eat the foods that our skinny friends eat and be skinny too. Let me tell you right now: Your friend might eat fast food everyday and weight 120 pounds, but that does not mean they are healthy. Remember, your friends need to eat healthy too, regardless of their size. Be the positive influence in the group instead of being a victim of bad influence. So it’s easy to sit here and say don’t do it, but I do have a solution. It is indeed not a popular solution, but it works. I’ve been ridiculed and talked about behind my back because people don’t understand the way I eat. Let me give you an example: I went to the beach this weekend with a bunch of friends and pre-cooked every single meal I ate. Was it popular? no. Were my friends proud of me for my eating habits? no, but you no what? none of that matters. Those that love you, will continue to love you, I promise. I grilled 5 boneless skinless chicken thighs, made my chicken salad, roasted 2 sweet potatoes, packed up some cashews, almond butter, carrots, lettuce, and some dark chocolate. I sat at restaurants and sipped black coffee or water while my friends ate beautiful meals and honestly, it flat out sucked. Now you don’t have to do all that, you can go to a restaurant and make a good choice, it is possible (I’m just poor and it benefited my health and my wallet to eat this way). Here was the biggest challenge: When the girl talk started and the wine and junk food started flowing. I snacked on my carrots, drank water, and treated myself to a spoonful of almond butter. It is possible. Stop making excuses. Oh and guess what? By the end of the weekend, my friends were so intrigued by my eating habits, they started asking me questions about how to become healthy.
5. Not being ready. This is the number one reason. If you’re not mentally ready to lose weight, you will be stopped in your tracks by every single obstacle you face. You have to be ready to let go of your current lifestyle and you have to be ready to let go of the fat. Fat is not our friend, but we do use it as a security blanket. We use it as an excuse, we use it to keep us in our comfort zone. The first thing that you have to reject, when you’re ready, is that food is a reward. I’m not saying don’t treat yourself, I’m saying stop rewarding yourself with food. It starts when we’re kids. We use the potty, we get a piece of candy. We get a good grade in school, we get a piece of candy. This may seem harmless, but it totally affects our relationship with food as adults. Stop rewarding that hour long work out session with a trip to starbucks. Stop rewarding yourself with a piece of cake because you ate healthy all week. What should you do? Have treats throughout the week regardless of your progress. Incorporate it into your life instead of treating it as a pat on the back. Why? because it’s easy to abuse our relationship with food that way. What if we do something good everyday? Should you eat cake everyday? No. If self-control is something you have troubles with, explore the possibility that your rewards are throwing you off track. And most importantly, change your idea of what a treat is. My treats are healthy items that you shouldn’t necessarily eat a lot of and often: Almond butter, a piece of dark chocolate, and honey.
So how do you get mentally prepared to lose weight? Unfortunately it isn’t something you can always just make yourself do. Sometimes it is that trip to the doctor’s office when you get a weight-related un-favorable diagnosis. Maybe it is the day you can’t fit in to a chair, or the day you can barely make it to the mailbox and back because you’re short of breath. Whatever it is, you have to be absolutely frightened of what being overweight can mean for your life. That is when you will change; When your health becomes the most important thing, nothing will hold you back.
Health and Happiness,