Many people who start a diet never “finish” the diet. I know this first-hand, because it took me approximately 632 diet attempts before I finally made it down to my “healthy, happy” weight. I also know it from talking with and helping people who are trying to stay on track with their current weight loss attempt.
It’s so easy to start a diet – and for many people, myself included, it’s so easy to quit the very diet that you were so enthusiastic about in the beginning. Although I quit my diets for a variety of reasons, one problem I often had was my tendency to let a few “regained” pounds stop me from continuing my diet.
My diet thoughts would go something like this: “I’ve done pretty well this week, so I can have a king-sized Snickers bar.” I’d eat the bar, then eat some ice cream to go with the bar, then eat some pretzels to get some salty flavor after I finished the ice cream and then I’d go to bed. I’d repeat said episodes a few times throughout the week, and when I went back to my Weight Watchers meeting the very nice woman at the scale would smile encouragingly at me and say, “I’m sure you’ll do great next week – you did fine this week.” I’d hope that maybe I maintained, but no – inevitably there was a gain.
So, I’d swing through McDonald’s after my weigh-in and repeat the same eating cycle for week 2. After yet another gain, I’d just throw my hands up into the air and quit. After all, my diet wasn’t working anymore – so why feel deprived?
I often wonder what it is about seeing a gain of a pound or two gets so many of us all bent out of shape. If I handed you a box of margarine that weighs one pound, you wouldn’t think anything of the weight. But if I told you that that one pound of weight could be the catalyst for you to change your mind about losing weight and getting healthy – you might think I was crazy. After all, a pound or two isn’t that much.
My point is – it isn’t that much. A pound or two of weight regain needn’t be the reason for anyone to turn their backs on their weight loss attempt. Instead of letting a pound or two turn into five or 10 pounds, try and put that small gain into perspective.
First, it’s not that much weight. If you put the brakes on the weight regain when the first pound or two comes back – it will be much easier to continue forward down your path. (Little disclaimer here: I’m not talking about normal, hormonal weight gain – I’m talking about weight gain that has happened by eating more than you intended and weight gain that is sticking around for a couple weeks, rather than normal fluctuations.)
Here are some strategies that I employ to put the brakes on weight regain – both when I was losing weight and now in maintenance.
♦I weigh daily. (Beat me up - it works for me!!)
♦If I see a gain, I honestly analyze what’s been happening both from an eating and exercise perspective. (Honesty is the key for me – because I’m an expert at justification – just ask my husband.)
♦I go through the pantry and throw anything away that has magically appeared. This could be something relatively low-calorie like pretzels or a definite hard-to-control piece of chocolate cake.
♦I make sure I wear only the closest fitting clothes I have. No exercise pants around the house – no looser “that time of the month” pants. (This helps me remember that a pound or two can easily multiply itself.)
♦I remind myself over the next few days that no food is worth going back into morbid obesity for. No food.
I’d encourage you to not let a slight gain set you back. Be honest with yourself, analyze what’s going on with your life right that minute and have a plan in place that will work for you.
Question: How do you avoid letting a small regain from setting you back? Diane
A special shout-out to Gina, whose sweet husband Jeff told me about her 50 pound weight loss! Congrats and keep up the good work.