Her discouragement was obvious as she described her struggles over the past year.
“I don’t know what went wrong!” she said. “I worked so hard to lose weight, and I was thrilled when I finally hit my goal.
But now, look at me! I’ve gained it all back plus a bunch more. I do great when I’m dieting, but I guess I’ve never learned how to maintain.”
Maybe she’s right. When she signed up for a program that delivered pre-packaged food, she was grateful that she didn’t have to plan meals or cook. Perhaps she didn’t learn how to follow a healthy eating plan on her own.
But as we talked, it became clear that it wasn’t lack of knowledge that caused her to re-gain weight. She knew it all. She could recite the calorie content of almost any food, she understood how to monitor target heart rate and
Dieters have a lot of common themes. Here’s one you’ve probably said at least once. “I do great when I’m dieting, but I always gain the weight back.” Your excuse? You’ve never learned how to eat right or how to maintain.
It’s easy to blame a lack of knowledge for your struggles. And you may be right. Maybe you haven’t learned enough about good nutrition, meal planning and consistent exercise.
But here’s another possibility. Instead of saying you haven’t learned how to maintain, look at the opposite side of this statement. I’ll bet you know exactly how to NOT maintain or how to NOT eat right. You also know which of your activities or behaviors DON’T keep the weight off. So here’s the solution:
Make a list of things that contribute to NOT maintaining your weight or staying on your diet plan. Here’s a list from one of my clients:
* Let my exercise program go. Stop taking walks
* Watch a lot of TV, especially in the evenings
* Drink more alcohol, use it to relax
* Spend time with my eating and drinking friends
* Skip all my self-care or nurturing activities
* Never say NO to a party or a fun gathering
* Convince myself I don’t care about my weight
* Stop reading weight loss or personal growth books
* Talk to my mother every day (she always makes me want to eat)
Now take this knowledge about what gets you in trouble and flip it the other way. In other words, do the exact opposite of everything that doesn’t work. You’ll immediately have a great maintenance plan.
Write down ten things that cause you to NOT maintain or stay on your diet plan. Then flip the list by stating each item in a positive way. For example, you might say that you always exercise three days a week. Read this new list every day, and remind yourself that you absolutely DO know how to maintain your weight.