I totally know how it is. You set this big and shiny weight loss goal, it feels awesome, and then LIFE happens.
If you’re anything like me (or the rest of the world) this tends to happen towards the end of January.
It probably comes as no surprise that statistics and studies show we humans are pretty terrible at keeping New Year’s Resolutions. In fact many people abandon them by the end of January!
One big reason is because resolutions tend to be SO open ended. Such as “I want to eat healthier” or “I want to ride my bike more.”
This is why I always suggest that we focus on making goals, NOT resolutions.
Having a weight-loss goal, for example, is a concrete outcome that we can point to and say “Yes! I did this!” I mean you either lose weight or you don’t. How measurable is that?
Still, many of us set goals and don’t follow through with those either! We lose focus, other things become a priority, and before we know it it’s a few weeks later and that goal is a distant memory.
If you are wondering how to stay on track with your weight loss goals and NOT have this happen, read on for some really helpful suggestions that will keep you feeling good and moving forward.
Step #1: Don’t Beat Yourself Up!
If being a jerk to yourself actually was useful and got you results, that would be one thing, but it doesn’t.
I mean, even if it did work I wouldn’t advocate for it, but still!
The reality is that we seldom make any lasting and positive change from a place of getting down on ourselves because it feels bad.
Even years into this process and after I already have the results I want, I still “mess up.” I mean, I am human! There are times I still overeat, and it’s OK.
This past week I had something unexpected come up emotionally that I handled by overeating. I knew that I was overeating while I was doing it, and I did it anyway.
You’ll never guess what I overate. It was RICE. I made tacos for dinner with this delicious cilantro lime rice. While I was putting dinner away, and found myself just shoveling mouthful after mouthful of rice in. I was having a day, and that rice just tasted so good.
Afterwards, I felt overstuffed, I felt like crap, and I felt discouraged. I could have beaten myself up then. Or the next day.
The thing is, though, when we talk like jerks to ourselves and say things like “here you go again, you’re just going to mess up all your progress and gain all that weight back” we tend to think “eff it.”
Then we “eff it” eat. We eat all of the things, and stop riding our bikes, and give up.
Instead, I said to myself, “Hey. I was stressed, sad, and uncertain. I did what I needed to do in that moment, and guess what? I got through it. I am on the other side. This is what I need to do moving forward instead to continue to have the results I want.”
I know that next time I need to take a break. Take a step back. Let myself actually label and FEEL the emotions I was feeling instead of trying to escape them or comfort myself with food.
I know that I will still make choices in the moment moving forward that aren’t the best choices, and that’s OK.
This is being kind. It is being compassionate. It’s being understanding while still questioning what happened, and brainstorming how to handle the same kind of situation next time.
You see, I held myself accountable for what happened…but I did it with kindness. This made me want to move forward and keep going.
Step #2: Get a Quick Win By Making Today Just a Little Better than Yesterday
A lot of times when we set goals we think that we need to be perfect. We write a big long list of all of the steps we need to take to achieve our goals.
We get started on those steps, and maybe even complete one or two!
Invariably, though, life happens. You get a last minute invite out to dinner and drinks with friends and find yourself overeating or over drinking.
Or, you are planning to get on your bike three times this week and maybe you ride once, but you get sick. It could be that your kids get sick. OR there is a soccer game you forgot all about right smack dab in the middle of your planned time on the bike.
When you have a setback, what you need is a quick win. A quick one, not a HUGE one!
Ask yourself, “What is one small thing I can do to make today a little better than yesterday?”
This is exactly what I did after the “rice incident.” I asked how I could make today a little better than yesterday. My answer? Get my water in.
Not ride a bunch of miles, cut a bunch of calories, or anything like that. Just get my water in. I knew that I was feeling physically and emotionally a little icky from overeating, and I know how much better my body feels when it’s well hydrated.
It was a quick win to get that water in. It was easy! I felt like I did something positive for my health that was doable and it kept me going on the right path towards Step #3!
Step #3: Keep the Momentum Going
Getting a quick win feels great, and it helps keep you on track. It helps you to build momentum. Once you start stringing all of these little quick wins together, you begin to see results.
It helps you build trust with yourself.
You see, after years of doing this work, I trust that I don’t need to make my “rice incident” into a big thing.
I know I’m not going to overeat every night. That I am not going to try to comfort myself with food every time. Each day I will get a little bit better at recognizing my overeats and my emotional eating.
Sure, there will be more “incidents”, and it will be OK!
I trust that there will be more days where I make good choices than days when I make not so good ones.
This is how you can keep the momentum going. Stack those small, little changes, and over time you will be able and willing to tackle even bigger ones because you trust yourself.
A Final Note
At the end of the day, the only difference between someone who loses weight and someone who doesn’t, is that the person who loses weight doesn’t give up.
Don’t give up on your weight loss. Don’t give up on yourself.
Keep making small changes that over time give you the result that you want.
Remember, you are playing the long game here. All of these small changes that you make, all of these good habits that you build into your life…it will take some time before you see the results.
Be patient. Be kind. Support yourself through the ups and downs. I’ve got you, and I know that you can do this. One small change, one tiny habit, at a time.