I read a post by Lyman Reed titled “What To Do When You Quit”. His post is in regards to a book that he had begun reading and a series of posts he planned to write (based on the book).
Although his post does not deal with diet or weight loss, his points made me think of how we can apply them to our motivation to lose weight.
I have had several stops, starts, and restarts throughout my life where weight loss is concerned. I have a body that will quickly gain weight if I overeat on processed foods and fail to exercise. There have been times that I have become despondent and quit trying to lose weight, mainly because I was still eating the foods I was addicted to and therefore was not getting out of the cycle of eating them and wanting more.
Getting back to Lyman’s post, he outlined 4 points that he used to decide if he would pick his book back up and continue with his original plan. Below I have listed his original points (bold, with a pronoun change in numbers 1 & 2), and under each are my words that apply to the topic of re-motivating yourself to get back on track after having quit (or wanting to quit) your weight loss plan:
- Decide if you still want to work on it. Perhaps you simply aren’t ready to tackle the issues that are underlying your overeating, binging, and/or lack of motivation at this time in your life. You may be aware of what you are eating to cover up (for example, many people who have been abused overeat), but for your own reasons, you don’t wish to look at it right now. If so, that’s perfectly all right, you just aren’t there yet.
If instead, you have gotten off track and quit your weight loss program because you began eating addicting ingredients again and have gotten into the cycle of eating more and more (because it’s never enough), and then eating more in an attempt to make yourself feel better for overeating in the first place, then you may decide that you do still want to forge ahead and make changes in your lifestyle.
No matter where you are at (only you know that), if you decide that YES, you are ready to truly commit to yourself, your health, self-confidence, self-esteem, and overall well-being, then go on to the next step.
If your decision for now is NO, then you can always come back to this post in the future and re-evaluate when you are ready. Please remember, either place is neither “good” nor “bad”, it’s simply where you are today, and the more that you can release any thoughts of self-criticism for what you are or are not doing, the better off you will be today.
- Get clear on what it is that you want. After deciding that you want to recommit and move ahead, what do you want? Are you setting a goal to lose 20 pounds, lift your backside, strengthen your legs for downhill skiing, increase your upper body strength, or shape your body into the sleek form of a dancer’s body?
You must get clear on exactly which goal(s) you are going for, as well as what is motivating you. If you need help with this, you could refer to one of my earlier posts, “What is Your Motivation to Lose Weight“.
- Get a plan together. So, how are you going to accomplish achieving your goals that you outlined in step #2? Is your diet plan healthy? Will you be losing muscle tone, water weight, or only fat? How many days a week will you be working out? How will you fit your work outs into your schedule? What will you eat each day, and how much water will you be drinking? Is your weight loss plan a temporary diet, or are you making lifestyle changes that you can stick with?
You must have a plan of action, a road that you are taking to get to your next stop (your goal). It is also very helpful to set up small stops along the way, so that you have measures of small achievement and accomplishments rather than only one goal that is in the far-off future. Plan for success; remember that “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”
- Go! So, you are committed, you know what you want, and you have a detailed plan of action. Now what? Should you wait until next week, tomorrow, or Monday? No! Start today, right now. Don’t wait until the time is right or perfect, start today with what you can do. If you still need to go shopping for whole foods to cook up, you can still start drinking water instead of soda immediately. You can get out and go for a walk around the block. The point is to start with something right now.
Of course you will need to implement your full plan and be consistent in order to see results, but there is no reason to wait until tomorrow once you know where you are heading. If you take the route of “the last supper” before starting your “diet”, this is true diet mentality. I’ve done this before and it’s a big mind game. Instead, realize that you must make lifestyle changes in order to maintain lasting results, and get on your way now.
These points will help you either decide that you will take a different route for the time being, or get back in the swing of losing weight. Either way, you will have clarity of mind rather than wishy-washy confusion and a lack of commitment to weight loss.
Remember, it’s fine if you aren’t ready to commit at this time. It is more important that if you decide to quit for now, that you continue to feel good about yourself and your decision. Negative self-thoughts will only exacerbate your situation and lead to overeating if you are an emotional eater.