Getting started all over again

All it takes is one bad day, or one bad week of eating and we feel like a failure. The internal dialogue becomes negative. ‘I’ve messed up again’ or ‘This always happens, there is no way I’m going to lose weight’.

Most people I see have been on multiple diets throughout their lifetime. I agree, it feels like a lost cause, but it struck me today when a new client said, “I guess I’m going to have to think about food for the rest of my life”. This is true. We cannot develop a healthy lifestyle and then simply forget about it and go back to our old way of eating, or a sedentary pattern of living. If we want to be healthy and stay healthy, we have to work on it daily. With time, the work becomes automatic, and the effort that it takes in the beginning becomes easier.

We need to start each day with the same pattern of thinking we had when we began ‘the diet’. If you have had a bad day, or stress hits you, of course you will go off track. That is expected. It’s normal. What we cannot do however, is let that negative fatalistic thinking creep in to the point where we truly give up. We must realize that at some point in the future we will have to tackle our weight yet again.

The faster you can get back on track, the more likely you are to be successful. Be prepared to ‘start again’ every day. Try to eliminate the emotional aspect of success or failure and focus on the practical, solution oriented side. By that I mean, don’t let one evening of poor eating choices become a failure in your mind. Rather, accept what happened and begin thinking about how you can turn things around tomorrow. All it takes is one or two good days of eating, and we’ve forgotten about that one set back.
As I’ve said many times, identify your weak times. Is it when you come home from work and you snack as you get dinner ready? Is it evening time and snacking in front of the TV?
Try then, tomorrow, to not snack during those danger times. We aren’t really hungry, we are mindlessly eating out of fatigue or habit.

The best solution for evening snacking, at this time of year when it is still light, is to get out of the house for a walk or bike ride. Don’t simply plunk yourself in front of the TV. The body craves movement; more so, your brain needs movement. We are more energized after activity, clearer thinking, in a calmer state. The hardest part about this is getting yourself to go outside when your head simply wants to do nothing. Once outside, if you can obligate yourself to do something for 10 minutes, you will find your energy returning, and barring illness or injury, you will likely get at least 30 minutes of some sort of movement in.

Expect setbacks, but also expect that you will get back on track as quickly as possible. Look for solutions for your danger times of eating. Get outside – move more!

You can do it. Yes, it’s lifelong, but it is worth it for your health. Don’t ever give up.
Dr. Doug