There comes a time in every weight loss journey when setbacks happen. It is inevitable. Whether you have a celebration to go to, a vacation to happily go on (where eating may be more than your normal), or you just have an emotional day and all you want to do is eat ice cream and french fries instead of your normal healthy plates…the scale will go up at some time.
But, there is happy news on the other side…it doesn’t have to keep going up. I think that is the difference between those who are successful at keeping their weight off and continuing on their healthy journey, and those who return to an unhealthy lifestyle and let the pounds creep back on.
So, here are my tips, as I’ve had many setbacks, plateaus, and disappointing times on the scale the past 18 years.
- Don’t let the scale be your judge. I had a sweet friend of mine point out my addiction to the scale about 5 years ago. I was hopping on it every day and knew that no matter what the scale said, it was going to determine how I felt, looked, and ate that day. She invited me to know freedom from the scale (not just freedom from bondage to food), and to find my rest in my healthy journey in other more stable things: like making healthy goals, choosing healthy options, and noticing other telltale signs that I’m losing weight. The scale can be so oppressive! Don’t let it run your life!
- Don’t completely derail. If you see the scale creep up, or your favorite skinny jeans are fitting more snug than they were last week, or you just know that you’ve picked up some unhealthy habits lately – don’t continue. You can choose today to stop those unhealthy habits again before they take root. Go buy some fresh produce. Drink some green smoothies. Cut out sweets for a few days. Drink fewer diet sodas and trade them for water. I’m a comfort eater and I know that my tendency is to overeat when something goes wrong in life. My mister has been a good encouragement to me and he knows that I will feel even worse if I eat a lot. So, he encourages me to talk about it or do something else rather than eat unhealthily.
- Accountability. I think with every struggle that we have in life, accountability is something we all need. Whether it is running (find a running buddy), eating right (write down your menu and share it with a friend), spending money (share your budget with someone and have them hold you accountable to overspending). If we admit we have a problem to a friend, we can have the encouragement we need to fight through these discouraging times. Know yourself and then pick a friend accordingly. If you know that you aren’t encouraged by being yelled or belittled, than don’t pick a friend who is going to tell you how wrong you are. I’m most encouraged by people telling me how far I’ve come and giving me some healthy options than I am by people putting me down. Know yourself. Then you will be able to tell a friend what you need.
- Look back on your journey. I have a picture of my husband and I in our bathroom. It was taken last November (almost a year ago) and I was almost 30 lbs heavier than I am now. Each time I look at it, I see how far I had come from my pregnancy weight, and I see how far I’ve come to where I am now. I don’t like how I look in that picture so I know I don’t want to return to where I was then. So basically, see how far you’ve come and know that you want to keep going!
Don’t be too hard on yourself when setbacks occur. And they will. Instead, keep going!