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Learning to Embrace the Ups and Downs Of Your Weight Loss Journey

Author: Tammy Taylor, CPT

You wake up in the morning, earlier than usual, with hopes and aspirations of beginning your day in a more thoughtful and intentional way. Let your new health journey begin! You make a protein packed breakfast, pack your lunch for work, get in some morning stretches, and do a bit of calming meditation before you begin your daily regime of waking your children up for school, feeding and walking your dogs, or prepping for an early work meeting. You think to yourself, today is going to be a great day

However, while driving your children to school you unexpectedly, not only spill coffee all over yourself and your car, but also all over your son’s favorite sweatshirt. This results in scowls of disapproval from your all-knowing teenager and forces both of you to have to circle back home to change; which of course makes you inevitably late for work and the school drop off. 

Despite this minor set back, you feel assured that today will still be a great day. After all, your morning had started soooo well. You are determined to stay on your healthy path! As lunch time rolls around you say “no” to an invitation to go out for lunch with coworkers, confidently knowing that you have your freshly packed lunch waiting for you. But wait, oh no! You just remembered that you as you were rushing out the door, you left your lunch sitting on the kitchen table. That’s okay, you say to yourself, you aren’t really that hungry anyway and you have tons of work to catch up on. So you decide to skip lunch and continue with your day. 

Finally the work day has ended and you are headed home. Now the commute begins. Along your way you see bill-boards with happy people enjoying juicy burgers, fries, and an assortment of other temptations. Your stomach begins to growl because you remember that you haven’t eaten since your protein packed breakfast this morning. Somehow, you manage to make it past all of the fast food restaurants by repeating your mantras, My health is my wealth and, Don’t give up most, for what you want now. You make it home, resisting all temptation.  

When you walk in the door you discover that despite multiple conversations about your health goals, your partner has brought home a pizza because they had to work late and weren’t able to help with dinner. You throw your hands in the air out of pure exhaustion and decide to have not one, but three slices of pizza.  

The next morning you make your way into the bathroom to face the scale. And just as you feared, the number has gone up by 2lbs! Now, instead of feeling energized and invigorated by waking up early, you are feeling tired and defeated. Your inner dialogue has shifted from let my new health journey begin! to, what’s the point I’m NEVER going to lose this weight.

This is the moment that you need to pause, reflect, and problem solve

Pause —acknowledge your feelings, allow yourself some grace and repeat this mantra out loud:Ups and downs are a part of any sustainable weight loss journey. I am making life-long changes as opposed to extreme changes that won’t last! 

Reflect on your day, trying to be as objective as possible. Make a list of all the positive changes you made in your day versus areas you need to improve. For instance, your “positive change” list from the day above would look something like this; you woke up early, did your stretches, made a healthy breakfast, meditated, packed a lunch for work, utilized your mantras, and were able to resist temptation twice! Now, let’s take a look at what the “needs improvement” list may look like; you forgot your lunch due to a hectic morning, decided to skip lunch, and had three slices of pizza. When you look at these two lists it is easy to see that there were far more positive changes than things that need improved! 

The final step is to problem solve! Retrace your steps. What are some possible solutions to the problems that you encountered in your day? Be creative and come up with as many solutions to each problem as possible! Perhaps, in order to avoid being famished by dinner time and over eating pizza, you could enlist on of your children to help remind you to bring your lunch, or stash some healthy snack options in your desk drawer or staff refrigerator, “just in case” your original lunch plan falls through. 

A spirit of resilience and determination are the key ingredients for reaching any long term goal. Stay the course and embrace the journey. Winston S. Churchill says it best, “Success is not final; failure is not fatal; It is the courage to continue that counts.”