April 12, 2011

Recommitting to a healthy diet

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.
Thomas A. Edison 

Do successful weight losers ever get off track and gain weight? You bet they do! My weight fluctuates all the time; it's just part of life. The National Weight Control Registry has found that among successful maintainers we closely monitor our weight and when we find it up a few pounds we take action quickly to use the skills and tools we have learned to stop any further gain and return to our maintenance weight. Is it easy to do? NO! I have found as I age my body's metabolism also changes and I must always try new things and strategies to outsmart those fat cells, such as changing my activity up or tweaking my diet. I recommit every day and every meal to continue the habits of a healthy lifestyle. Perhaps the hardest part of that process is stepping off the path where we fall into old unhealthy habits and finding the motivation to get back on the path of establishing newer healthier ones. I believe weight loss and maintenance should be called "practice" because there is no perfection with it, it is a constantly evolving learning process!

There can be a lot of anger and guilt with the realization that you have become derailed. What is important is that you don't beat yourself up over it! What's done is done--so it happened, so you gained a few pounds, so you ate something that wasn't on your eating plan--all is not lost!! Too often the brain can form an all or nothing attitude, "I ate a few cookies, by diet's blown, so I might as well eat the whole bag!" It doesn't have to be that way. Often it's not the one indiscretion that causes weight loss failure, it's the behavior that comes afterward where a few extra calories can become a few extra pounds because of the negative self-talk we tell ourselves and then try to alleviate those feelings with even more food.

Take it one meal/one day at a time. Be here in the present, don't dwell on the past or fret about the future, focus on your next meal, make it healthy. Bring to mind your successes, you did it once--you can do it again! Eat that healthy meal and relish how good you feel doing something good for your body!

Why someone gets derailed off their healthy eating goals can be as varied and individual as the person themself. What is it that led you away from your goal? Stress? Emotional hunger? Life just getting in the way? Does your environment support your goals? Refrigerator and pantry full of healthy and easy to make foods? What do you need to change? What can you do differently? 

Perhaps you need to go back to the reasons why you made your goal in the first place. Does it still fit how you feel now? Perhaps you went on a diet for a special occasion and that occasion has passed. Now what? Instead of making a goal for the next special occasion choose some reason that matters to you down to your core. For me, I choose to follow a healthy lifestyle because I want to be around for my family for a long time in an active and healthy way. I know how I feel healthy and I know how I felt overweight and sick and those thoughts and goals keep me focused and continually eating healthy and working out even though I don't always want to. Make sure your goals are realistic and attainable.

Now might be a good time to try a new exercise class or activity, or make a new fitness goal. Changing up my workouts by trying new activities, making the ones I do more intense (or easier!) helps keep me from getting bored or overworked and the new challenge inspires and motivates me.

Turn to your support system. It's easy to be part of a group when you are succeeding, but it's the times you aren't that you need support the most. Don't be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help.

Put yourself first and believe you can do it! Then go something that makes you feel good that doesn't involve food.


  1. I think attitude is the most important element in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and your attitude is spot-on. Slipping from time to time is expected (and probably good, strangely enough, so there aren't feelings of deprivation), but not getting out of control is crucial. Consistency & moderation are things I strive for (and usually attain, but not always ;-))
    Good post!

  2. Nice post! Dedication and optimism in my opinion will definitely keep one on track and from your post those are 2 qualities that defines you.

  3. I agree that you should have a solid support group that will help you in a way in keeping you on track.