Lifetime success in health and weight management involves not only changing the way we interact with food but also changing our mindset. Unfortunately, many of us continue in the attempt to get healthier without taking the time to reassess our strategies. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us have been forced to develop new strategies to adapt to a new “normal” when it comes to our eating and lifestyle.  What may have been a good routine 4 months ago all of a sudden didn’t work anymore.

We must stop and ask ourselves questions about what might have worked in the past, why, and what could we put in place now to help our minds and bodies keep healthy. We constantly need to remind ourselves that we are our own personal experiment when it comes to “what works” – the worst thing we can do is compare our journey to someone else’s.  Especially during these uncertain times, it’s more important than ever to look at a few things to put in place to make you feel grounded in health

When it comes to losing weight, we tend to change plans often if we don’t meet our often unrealistic expectations in a short period of time. When these expectations are not met, we might give up without examining what caused us to stumble, or we may simply not have given the body enough time to really respond. In these situations, we need to pause and examine: how consistent we’ve been and for how long; whether there have been any positive changes aside from just weight; and also what small thing might be impacting our body. When we build upon consistency as a foundation, and continue to add positive changes along the way, and we can achieve successful long-term health and a better lifestyle.

We need to take time to examine past behaviour: what has worked and what has been a stumbling block? Did hunger, cravings or food addiction cause us to stumble? Or perhaps, were we drawn to eat through boredom, loneliness or stress? Did certain situations sabotage our attempts at healthy living or weight loss, such as having to work at home and not moving as much? With answers to these questions in mind, we can create and document fresh goals for the future, breaking them down into short- and long-term goals. We can then include with these goals a long-term maintenance strategy by considering “What will I do once I reach optimal health and weight?”

We should also anticipate mistakes, keeping in mind that mistakes are important because we learn from them. When problems arise, take a step back to examine what went wrong and develop a strategy for similar situations in the future. In these situations, we can temporarily change goals from weight loss, to weight maintenance. Events that are not part of our regular routine are not a reason to give up. We should pause to reassess the situation and develop a strategy to move on. Through this pandemic, many people have had to develop completely new strategies to manage stress, lack of movement, food cravings and expectations. The goal should always be to create a foundation for long-term healthy living.  Everything you do now, and the resilience you build through learning what works best for your body, will ultimately compound into a healthier future!

You can do it.  Keep trying, no matter what. Don’t ever give up!

Dr. Doug