Losing weight is hard and demands daily effort, balanced with the realities of birthday cake, holidays, and the surprise box of chocolates that show up at your door.
You need a well-thought-out plan that provides structure, with guidelines to follow when the plan goes awry. Losing the SAME 10 pounds as you were trying to lose last year, and maybe even the year before, suggests a clear flaw in your current plan and approach.
Here is a new mindset to embrace and the strategy to follow to ensure long-term success, even when your food plan does not go exactly as anticipated.
1. Accept that losing weight, and keeping it off, is hard work.
Once you have fully embraced this as a reality, you will be less likely to wonder why it’s so hard to lose weight when obstacles arise and instead you will be prepared to implement the necessary tools as listed below to stay on track.
2. Expect the unexpected.
There will always be challenges. The doughnuts that your boss brings into the meeting, the Girl Scout cookies that your kids bring home, the intoxicating warm croissant that suddenly calls to you while you are in line for coffee. These situations are the norm, not the exception. Be prepared with a technique to manage surprises so you are never caught off guard or unprepared.
3. Follow the five-minute rule.
When you are put in the tough position of making choices, whether it’s to order the salad or the fried calamari, take five minutes before deciding. Walk away, take a break, go drink a glass of water, pop a mint or piece of gum in your mouth. Consider what you have already eaten that day, what is left to be eaten, and whether you can make the food in question “fit” into your day’s plan. Your next question: “Is it worth it?”
If you decide the food in question is worth it, then go enjoy it! Relish the fact that you are enjoying something you love that is ordinarily outside of your meal plan or a “cheat food.” Get on your food plan immediately afterward without looking back. Beating yourself up is unproductive and useless. Move forward.
If you decide against eating it, recognize the strength you mustered to navigate a tough situation. Revel in your newly found ability and be confident in your fortitude to take control of future difficult situations. You took control instead of letting food control you.
4. Intentionally include your favorite foods and treats in your daily food plan.
Conventional diets teach us to avoid off-limit foods without addressing the reality that these tempting foods constantly surround us. Learn to walk through temptation by including a small measured amount of cheat foods” on a daily basis, balancing them in your day’s plan. Mastering this approach will make it less frightening on occasions when doughnuts do fall from the sky. And working in “cheat foods" will ensure that when you arrive at your goal, maintenance will not be a foreign concept because you have been finessing how to balance your choices throughout your weight-loss journey.
Just as with learning any new skill, the more chances you have to walk away, say no, or compromise with yourself to just eat half, strengthens your skill set. Do not fear difficult situations; view these as valuable opportunities to sharpen your new skills, contributing to your getting stronger, more adept, and more self-assured to handle challenges, securing your success and lasting results.