“I lost 25 pounds and yep, I gained it all back. ALL 25 of those babies are right back where I can see them. “ This is the confession of a weight regain-er. Maybe it’s you, maybe it’s the person sitting next to you. Gosh, I hope I’m not sitting next to you. At one point in time, it’s EVERYONE. At least we are in good company… Oprah confesses in her magazine that she regained 40 pounds. So what gives, Oprah? You are our fearless weight loss leader and you have let us down. Personal chef, personal trainer, house in Hawaii, bottomless checking account??? If YOU can’t achieve the dream, how are we supposed to? We eat foods that have the words “value” and “helper” in them and our personal trainer consists of a dusty Sears treadmill that works the graveyard shift as a laundry drying instrument. I guess there is no sense in blaming Oprah. She is struggling through this process like the rest of us and it only proves that money can’t buy you love or weight loss. Along with happiness, it’s an inside job.
Where to go from here? What is next for the weight regain-er? Try the 3 P’s for starters….Perspective, Post-Mortem, and a Plan.
1. Try your very hardest to limit your feelings of frustration, shame, and guilt. I’m not saying “don’t have these feelings!” I’m saying have them for a short time, and then open a window and let them go. Yes, it is frustrating, BUT long-term habits are hard to create. Lapses are to be expected. Smokers try to quit an average of 7 or more times before they quit for good.
2. Recognize that regaining is PART of the process, and eventually will get smaller and smaller. You must keep pushing forward.
3. Think about all behaviors you changed during your weight loss effort. Even if you regained the weight, it is unlikely that your lifestyle has completely reverted to what it once was. You have made progress. Acknowledge the progress in your diet and physical activity that you have made and sustained.
4. Brush yourself off. Take a deep breath. It’s going to be ok.
Ok, Dr. Phil, we’re ready for our autopsy. Put on your rubber gloves, this might get messy. What happened? Answer these questions:
1. What happened in objective terms? (“I am lazy and I have no will power” is not objective). Give the who, what, where, when, and how. Leave out the judgments and adjectives, stick to the facts. Judgments lead to negative feelings, and negative feelings are lousy motivators.
2. Which of your lifestyle changes started to slip away? And over what period of time?
3. What life events coincided with the changes? How did they affect you?
4. Why it was difficult, what were the challenges to keeping up your diet and exercise?
5. How did you handle the challenges? What did you do well? What did you wish you did better?
What is the plan? A good post-mortem (no judgments!) really lends to a plan. A good plan will involve:
1. Re-engaging your supports. Who was helpful to you before? How can you get support from those people again? Never had very supportive people? Might be time to find a buddy.
2. Avoid judgmental people. It is hard enough not to judge yourself, being around judgmental people only makes matters worse. While you have the window open, throw these people out it.
3. Start Somewhere, Anywhere, Just Start. What is the first thing you can do to get back on track? To get started, pick something that you feel is relatively easy to do, and build it up from there.
4. Dig up old diet diaries to reacquaint yourself with how you used to eat when you were in the zone.
5. Start keeping a diet diary as soon as possible. This is a great way to reign yourself in. You may not be as far off as you think.
6. Know Your Weaknesses. They will find you! Jot down your top 3 challenges and keep that list somewhere you can see it. The only way to get a different outcome is to not be overcome by the same challenges.
7. Move Forward. Always. The key is to always keep moving. Don’t stop. Keep pushing forward, you will get there.
Is there anyone out there who regained some or all of the weight? Share your story and your plan to get back on track.
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