Feeling discouraged? How to Keep a Healthy Outlook

Joyce Kavaras, RD, LD

Joyce Kavaras, RD, LD

July 12th, 2013

When it comes to weight management, there are many variables that play into a person’s success - genetics, environment, established habits, health conditions, and medications to name a few. But one key component that is often overlooked is a person’s thinking habits.

When it comes to weigh-in day, I hear things like, “I had a bad week, I didn’t stick to my plan. I overdid it this weekend at a party. I’m frustrated, I only lost one pound this week. I am not losing, I’ve been stuck at this weight for weeks!”

These feelings no doubt need to be expressed because it is important to acknowledge and address them rather than repress or hide from them. However, there are additional elements that need to be added here to prevent the typical guilt, frustration, give-in/give-up cycle that often accompanies these “downer” emotions. Before you know it, you’re back to the old habits and back where you started or worse.

Here’s where you can make a change. All those negatives - guilt, anger, frustration, and feelings of failure - not only bring you down and your weight up, but they also zap your time and energy. Who needs that? We have enough to struggle with in life! The fact is life is full of ups and downs and our weight loss/management journey is no different. We will have to deal with parties, stressful days, frustrations, set-backs, and plateaus. Changing habits is hard work! By accepting reality and then coming up with strategies to change our thinking around the less desirable behaviors is how we move onward and upward to lasting success. The tips that follow will help you get on the road to happier living.

  1. At the end of the day look at what went right, not wrong. Acknowledge all the choices you made to better your health, no matter how small. Did you move more? Did you eat a healthy snack? Did you eat more mindfully for one meal?
  2. Forget failure and problem solve instead! What can I do to eat healthier at my next meal or snack? When I am stressed, can I do some deep breathing for a few minutes or take a short walk around the office? Can I take a 10-minute walk after dinner?
  3. Ax the guilt. It doesn’t fix anything and can lead to more eating when it gets out of hand. Sometimes guilt serves as the perfect excuse to “go ahead and indulge anyway since I already messed up” making it seem like there is no other option. This is a mindset that keeps us mired in the status quo and does not promote emotional growth or help us in meeting our lifestyle change goals.
  4. Acknowledge all the good you do each day in all areas of your life, not just in the weight management arena. You are so much more than what the scale says!
  5. Lastly, look back and see how far you’ve come in awareness of your choices, adjusting your thinking, and changing your behavior! All of these have gotten you where you are today, and doing any of them means success. Remember to celebrate each success – big or small! You have worked hard and deserve to give yourself the credit you’ve earned.

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