The first five pounds came off so fast, so easy! Then reality sets in and we have a small loss or no loss at all. Right behind reality often comes its twin, discouragement.
I read this statement on “The Doctor’s” website about feeling discouraged,” Every moment presents a new opportunity for change. The past moment no longer exists; forward motion is the only path I can take.” I like this statement, we have to learn on our journey at each feeling of discouragement helps us to make a change/adjustment that we need to make to keep going! If you never face any discouragement, then you will not know how to handle it when it comes along. And it will come!
There are some strategies you can incorporate to help you not become discouraged.
- Take the long-term view – do not expect to “wake up” skinny one day, you didn’t gain it overnight and you are not going to lose it overnight.
- Get a diet buddy— Find a friend to encourage you and support you as you are both on your journey is a win-win for both people. Remember one small thing, it is not a competition, you are only competing with yourself NOT your friend! Share your struggles, recipes, frustrations, etc. with your diet pal. Programs such as Weight Watchers have weekly meetings for encouragement. There are online support groups as well. I found a couple of fabulous groups on Facebook which focus Weight Watchers and have found wonderful support and encouragement there.
- Allow yourself some treats – failure and discouragement will come quickly if you do not allow yourself a treat now and again. I have found a few things I like as “treats” and try to allow myself to have them within reason.
- Be realistic – Two pounds a week maximum is considered healthy weight loss anything over that and you risk many health complications. Know that you will not lose the same each and every week. It could be more or less; just keep moving forward so the scale can keep moving downward. If you are not a contestant on the “Biggest Looser” chances are you are not going to lose 14 lbs a week! Just for the record, even they do NOT lose that much in one week! The show is edited and contrary to what we see on TV, there are often 3 weeks or so between their weigh-ins!
- Small Steps – Set some small short-term goals. In my journey, I set 5 lb. goals and focused ONLY on the five pounds in front of me. Otherwise, I would have been very discouraged, overwhelmed and not kept going! The more you weigh, the more you can lose each week. If you are not extremely overweight, you can expect your weight loss to be more like half a pound a week than the two pounds a week spectrum!
- Avoid Comparisons – lose weight for your health not to emulate a celebrity, or friend. Just because Angelina Jolie weighs 110 lbs. (not saying she does, just an example!) does not mean that you should! Talk with your primary care physician to determine what is right for you and your body type.
- Do not weigh daily while trying to lose! Checking your progress is great but daily weighing can lead to frustration, discouragement and a great deal of anger! Weighing yourself once a week is recommended to check on progress. Don’t stress over not reaching your weekly goal one week. Sometimes our bodies just have minds of their own, especially us women’s bodies!
- Variety – Try to incorporate one new food, spice or recipe each week so that you are not eating the same things over and over again! Food boredom can lead to discouragement and a feeling of deprivation.
- Avoid negative weight loss messages –Talk to yourself only in positive uplifting terms! Avoid words such as; lazy, weak-willed, pathetic, messy, and sloppy, a cow, helpless, trashy, etc. If you do not treat you nice, why would you expect others to treat you nicely? Give yourself a pat on the back with each success you have! Keep a positive attitude!
One of my personal goals is to keep a healthy lifestyle and to learn as much as I can from this process so I am not prone to have to repeat it on this large of a scale!
One of the hardest things in life we need to learn is honesty. This honesty transpires to every aspect of our lives. If we cannot be honest with ourselves, then who can we be honest with? If we lie to ourselves, who will tell us the truth when we need it the most? How can we ever know the truth if we lie to ourselves all the time? When we over-eat, we can either admit what we have done or deny it ever happened. When our pants get too tight we can chose either to believe that the washer shrunk them or we have to face we have not been eating properly. When we are fighting indigestion on a more frequent basis, we can either chose to make dietary changes or take increased amounts of medications to settle our stomachs. How were choose to look at things determines our “personal” honesty.
When we want to lose weight, we have to make some tough choices appropriate life changes to accomplish the goals we choose to set. Once we have chosen goals, we must make an action plan to reach those goals. An action plan might look like this:
My Ten-Step Action Plan for Success
- Plan out my meals and snacks each day.
- Research what proper portion sizes for all types of foods.
- Keep an accurate record of everything I eat and portion sizes.
- Weigh and measure my food to insure I am getting proper portions.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables each day.
- Increase the amount of movement I get each day.
- Incorporate healthy fats into my foods daily.
- Have at least two dairy servings a day.
- Take a multi-vitamin every day.
- Drink at least 8 glasses (8 ounces each) of water each day.
If these ten items sound familiar, they should if you are a Weight Watcher! One of the basics of Weight Watchers is to track/record everything you eat, the amount and the points plus value. Honesty about what and how much you are eating is essential to the program and your personal success. “Fudging” about what and how much you have eaten in your tracker, only hurts you. There is an expressing “your body keeps an accurate record of what you eat, no matter what you write down.” You can write down that you only had one doughnut but your body knows you ate six and the scale will reflect the six doughnuts not one.
Once you have set up your action plan, the next step is to follow it every day. Some days will be better than others. Some weeks will be better than others, but that is ok as long as you keep trying. You will not fail unless you choose to quit. Sometimes even quitting is not final, sometimes it is only temporary. Life can get in the way, there are things we can control and things we cannot. How we choose to react to the things we cannot control will help determine your success. Set your strategies.
My Success Strategies (planning for the unexpected)
- Always have healthy snack choices on hand in your desk drawer.
- Keep some quick meal choices in both the pantry and freezer.
- Keep your refrigerator stocked with great choices of fruits and vegetables.
- Keep a variety of lean meats in your freezer.
- Plan for the possibility of eating out; select 3 or 4 local places where you know the menu choices and their points plus value, so you can be successful when you choose or have to eat out.
- Make a grocery list and stick to it (this helps your budget as well!).
- Focus on whole foods.
- Eat fewer processed foods.
- Prepare my own foods when possible.
- Study foods and know the best choices in many categories.
No matter how much life gets in the way, do not give up. Keep moving forward toward your goals. You are worth it.