Diet slip ups happen.
How do you forgive yourself and move on toward that weight loss goal?
It’s simple when you follow my easy steps:
Step 1: Get real about WHY the diet slip up happened
As a Family Physician, weight loss Doctor, and weight loss coach, I hear ALL the reasons for slip ups from my patients and clients. If you find yourself saying the following, you are likely making an excuse, not taking ownership:
- My husband made me eat it.
- Someone brought it to work and I couldn’t resist it.
- My kids were eating it and they wanted me to join them.
- I could never resist it.
- It was a holiday/special occasion/only available this time of year.
There’s a big difference between making excuses and taking ownership of your actions. When you get real about why you had a diet slip up, you have control of it going forward. When you blame someone or something else (including the food itself), you will always be vulnerable to that person or item. Taking ownership means taking control of your own eating.
So often my clients and patients do not want to take ownership of these diet slip up actions because they think it means something negative about them, their ability to lose weight, their ability to be strong, their ability to stick with a plan. It does not mean that. Your brain is just going to the overeating habits you had for years and that will happen – more than once.
I have coached over 100 women to weight loss. And 0 of those women have had no diet slip ups. Even those that reached the biggest weight loss goals. To think that you will be perfect is impossible. It’s what you do after the diet slip up that makes the true difference.
Goal of Step 1: Determine WHY the diet slip up happened and recognize that it came from the habit of overeating. Take the judgment out and forgive yourself – it’s a normal thing that happens to everyone working on weight loss.
Step 2: Come up with an alternative plan for next time you have a diet slip up
When you take ownership of your diet slip up and determine why it happened in the first place, it’s much easier to look at the action as a simple repetitive mistake you’ve made over and over. How do you stop repetitive behaviors? You come up with a plan around them, test that plan, and keep tweaking it until you find what works for you.
Here’s a few of my favorite strategies for alternative plans around common diet slip up times/events/foods:
- Events and holidays: Come in with a simple plan. And make it simple – one plate, stop when I’m full, no seconds. Planning keeps you mindful of your eating, overly restrictive planning sets you up for failure.
- Foods: Drop the food scarcity thinking by telling yourself “I can always have it tomorrow.” Because you literally can. Food is not scarce in America today. You can go back to the same place the next day and get the exact same food. You won’t want it by the next day. Don’t say “no” and instead say “tomorrow.”
- Times of day/week/your life: Your brain may be used to that little food reward for a pick-me-up at certain times leading to diet slip ups. It’s helpful to remind yourself that the ultimate pick-me-up is reaching your goal weight. That feels way better than cupcakes. Ask yourself, “What do I want more, cupcakes or to reach my goal, have more energy, wear cute clothes, etc?” Redirecting your brain to what you gain instead of what you lose can prevent those future diet slip ups.
Goal of Step 2: Recognize the habits behind your diet slip ups and come up with a new simple plan around them. Try the new plan out without judgment, with curiosity, and tweak it moving forward for success.
Step 3: Let it go and move forward
Moving forward from a diet slip up requires belief in yourself, your diet, and your plan. And it’s hard to have belief after you slip up. Especially if you are constantly thinking negative thoughts about what that diet slip up means. If your thoughts sound like the following, you have not let go of your diet slip up:
- I’m failing again.
- See this will never work.
- You will always be fat.
- You might as well just quit.
- You don’t have enough willpower.
Weight loss coaching helps with this step. Here’s more on What is Weight Loss Coaching? for those interested in learning more.
In coaching we focus on taking judgment out of weight loss. Those negative thoughts created the weight you are at and they drive you right back to food to feel better. To create new and lasting weight loss results, you have to learn to move past these old, self-defeating thoughts when diet slip ups happen.
That’s the goal for forgiveness. Instead, focus on the lesson you learned from this diet slip up. When you look at slip ups as simple lessons you need to learn on the path to weight loss success, they gain motivation. They turn into a positive – a lesson you learned to get to your goal. And you can handle those lessons, and learn from them, when you know that you are capable of getting there.
You are capable of forgiving yourself and moving on after a diet slip up. It’s all about how you choose to think about them, your ability to create a plan that works for you, and learning those valuable lessons along the way. These steps will get you there.