When you’re actively losing weight, finding yourself in a position where you eat something other than what’s on your plan can lead you to think you’re a failure and that you might as well give up. Nothing could be further from the truth. Here’s an illustration from my life this week, which I hope shows you that it doesn’t have to be that way.
It was all going so well. I’m 14lbs down and on course for another good weight loss this week. And then Thursday happened… with the triple-threat of being tired, it’s late and I can’t be arsed. What was supposed to happen was for me to have a CWP Tikka Curry. What happened was half a pizza, half a garlic bread and half a bottle of wine. Up piped ‘the voice.’ Well, there you go, you’re such a failure. You can’t even stick to a simple plan. What example are you to other people? Might as well just give up and have done with it. I lay in bed the next morning listening to this voice and contemplating my utter failure. And then a memory of Sir Mo Farah last summer popped into my head.
There is no doubt that expectations are high for Sir Mo. He’s the most decorated athlete in British athletics history and he was on course to secure the ‘double-double’ (gold medals in both the 5,000m and 10,000m races in both the 2012 and 2016 Olympics), when the unthinkable happened – he tripped and fell in the 10,000m final. To fall in a race that meant so much to him personally (he wanted to win a gold medal for each of his children and this one was to be his daughter, Rihanna’s), and to every British person watching track-side or via a screen, could have meant that his dream was over. But it wasn’t. He got up and the headlines tell the outcome for themselves.
He tripped, he fell, but the most important thing is that he got up and finished the race. He could have stayed down on the track and wallowed in his fate, speaking afterwards that ‘it wasn’t meant to be’ and all the self-soothing rubbish that gets trotted out in post-race interviews. But he didn’t. This race meant so much to him that there was no way he was going to give up just because of a little trip.
Getting up that morning I could have gone downstairs and started by day ‘as usual’ with Weetabix and toast. But I didn’t. I started it with a CWP Cherry and Strawberry Smoothie and got right back on track. I drank my water, I had my products and yes, the scales might record something different to what I hoped this week, but I am not going to let a simple trip get in my way of achieving my ultimate goal.
One of the best writers about the process of dieting is Judith S Beck PhD. Her books (I have the Beck Diet Solution and the Diet Trap Solution) actively support by underpinning our plans with good, sensible advice for achieving success on ANY diet. She’s a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist and this is the process she writes about for turning things around when you slip up.
Acknowledge your slip. Tell yourself okay, I shouldn’t have eaten that, I made a mistake. (It’s not about condemnation but being truthful to yourself).
Recommit to your diet. Read your plan again. What do you need to do and what goals have you set for yourself? Remind yourself why you want to do this and why this diet is so important to you.
Draw a symbolic line. Don’t give yourself until tomorrow, start right now. Tell yourself Here’s the line where I stop this unplanned eating. Mark it by cleaning your teeth, going out for a walk, painting your nails, taking a bath, calling a friend or your diet coach.
Give yourself credit for stopping. Important! We are so quick to condemn ourselves, we should be equally quick to acknowledge when we get it right. Feed your brain with a good, positive message. I stopped, go me!
Continue as normal. Don’t skip what you’re supposed to have. If you make a mistake at lunchtime, don’t compound it by skipping dinner. You made a mistake, it’s not a big deal. Just pick up where you left off. Do a Mo and get right back on track!
Learn from your mistake. What contributed to this happening? How can you prevent it from happening again? Build up your mental resilience to get through the next time.
So, don’t stay down on the track as the others run on towards their goals, get up, dust yourself off and run on to claim yours!