Weight Loss Lapsing, Learning and Moving On

Screen Shot 2014-04-20 at 7.16.08 PMEvery now and then somebody makes up her mind to lose weight and gets all the way to goal without a single lapse. While it’s possible that some people are able to set their mind to lose weight and stick tight to their plan, it’s not common.

Maybe you are one of those people who puts your mind to something and you follow through 100%. Funny thing about losing weight, the lapses aren’t a bad thing, They’re actually a good thing because the learning which is necessary to maintain a loss happens during the lapses. When things go to smoothly you’re not learning how to live at goal, just how to get there!

Are you trying to lose weight and running into a few problems? Are you trying to lose weight and finding it impossible? Does it seems like you never get enough days of “clear sailing” before a situation or people get in your way?

A day or several days of overeating isn’t a big deal. A holiday, a vacation, or visit from a friend, even some emotional upheaval might trigger an episode of eating too much and moving too little. As soon as things get back to normal, the incident is over, and the weight loss efforts are resumed.

What happens when the challenge to get back on plan persists? Why is it so hard for some to get back on course? Here are some common reasons:

Negative self-talk
Unrealistic expectations
Overly restrictive/extreme deprivation
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NEGATIVE SELF-TALK
We all make mistakes, but how do you talk to yourself after you make a mistake? Telling yourself you’re, “weak, worthless, pathetic, don’t deserve to have what you want,’ ensures that you will live your life weak, worthless, pathetic and you won’t ever be able to get what you want. Beating yourself up for mistakes is, in itself, a mistake! On the other hand, are you the person who gives forgiveness to yourself because “it wasn’t your fault”? There’s nothing wrong with being kind and understanding towards yourself but there is a problem is the message you repeat after every mistake is, “it wasn’t my fault; I couldn’t help it; I’m not responsible for that, I’m the victim.”

UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS
It’s not realistic to think that you can stick to your diet perfectly. Slip-ups are part of the process. A little slip-up isn’t an indication of failure, it’s an a reminder you’re human. It’s not realistic to think you can decide how many pounds you want to lose weekly and make it happen just as you planned. The more weight you want to lose and the faster you expect to lose it, the more unrealistic your expectation. You might also have unrealistic expectations about how the weight will come off your body. You might want your lower half to slim down but you don’t have much on top and what you have you want to keep. If the top seems to be getting smaller and you don’t see equal or greater progress in your hips and thighs it can be discouraging. Not appreciating the progress you’ve made can stop you from making further progress.
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DEPRIVATIONScreen Shot 2014-04-20 at 7.06.59 PM
All or nothing sets you up to swing like a pendulum and get nowhere. Heavy-handed restriction on food choices and servings sizes is an appealing approach. It’s simple, it’s logical, it’s easy to stick to because it’s so regimented. Why, then, does it rarely work? Because it’s simple, logical and overly regimented! Weight loss is not simple. It takes work putting all of the elements together and if you’re looking to lose weight and then keep off that weight, it’s not going to be a matter of rules to live by. Eat this, don’t eat that works for a while but sooner or later you want to “eat this, and this, and this, and a whole lot of that!” Once that barrier has been broken down it’s very hard to erect again. Your head understands the logic of regaining that tight control but your body fights your brain because it doesn’t appreciate being deprived. Forget about rules and focus on balance and moderation and learning the skill of flexible restraint.Screen Shot 2014-04-20 at 7.05.11 PM

If you are trying to recover from a lapse right now try to identify where your challenge is coming from. Is it from one of the above common sources? The best way to recover from a lapse – big or small – is to learn from it. Figure out what happened. Learn why it happened so that you can learn from it. This helps you avoid it in the future or if not avoidable, at least minimize it. Adjust your self-talk, your expectations, or your weight loss program or all three. It may take a lot of lapsing, learning and adjusting but as long as you keep your goal in mind you can move on to reach success!

Jackie Conn

About Jackie Conn

Jackie Conn is the general manager of Weight Watchers of Maine. She is married and has four grown daughters and four grandchildren. Her experience with her own weight management journey and raising girls has given her insight into the struggles families face with weight, healthy body image, food and physical activity. She has been a regular guest on Channel 5 WABI news for more than ten years and appears monthly as a guest on FOX network morning program Good Day Maine.