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We’ve all been there.
You’ve worked hard to keep your willpower strong and held on as temptation after temptation crossed your path, whether it’s the call of your favourite packet of potato chips, a bowl of the most delicious chocolate mousse known to mankind or your grandmother’s mouth-watering apple pie.
And most of the time, you probably did incredibly well and felt rather proud of yourself.
But then one day, the call of temptation becomes too strong.
Someone at work offers around doughnuts and before you know it, you’re stuffing three into your mouth at the same time, and then spend the rest of the afternoon racked in guilt. Or you have one of the worst days of your life EVER and you just can’t resist the call of that entire box of chocolate truffles your partner gave you for your birthday.
It doesn’t really matter what it is.
All that matters is that you messed up. You failed. You’re useless. You can’t do this thing, you’ll never lose weight and you’ll always feel this fat and ugly.
At least that’s what your brain will likely be telling you.
But here’s the thing- we all trip up.
We all act in ways that we later regret. We all make the wrong decision at some time in our lives- it’s part of what makes us human and it’s how you deal with it that counts.
In this article, I’d like to show you how ‘screwing up’ doesn’t mean you’re a useless excuse for a human being, and how you can turn it around to help you achieve long-term success on your weight loss journey.
1. Forgive yourself
Acceptance is everything when it comes to surviving a diet screw-up. Firstly, you must understand that you’re not some kind of useless freak who completely lacks willpower and is simply a failure. This kind of stuff happens sometimes. No one is perfect, no one is immune and everyone makes mistakes sometimes.
It doesn’t mean that you’ll forever carry more kilos that you’d like. It doesn’t mean you’ll have to suck in your tummy whenever you’re in your bathers, or wear (unsexy) contouring underwear for the rest of your life. Or that you have to go on feeling fat and frumpy. It just means that you’ve tripped at one of the hurdles this time. Now all you have to do is get up on your feet, dust yourself and get right back on with the race.
Ironically, this is often easier said than done. We’re often so much harder on ourselves that with other people. We demand so much more and we don’t settle until we achieve that. And whilst perfectionism can be a really admirable quality for a person to have, you should never use it as a weapon against yourself.
Remember, you’ve probably been eating in this way for pretty much your whole life so it will naturally take time to change. Don’t expect yourself to run before you can walk.
2. Why did you screw up?
Working out exactly why you screwed up is vital. Not only does it help you to understand yourself better, but it also highlights the areas in which you might need a little more support. So ask yourself “Why did I screw up?” “What did I do that was so bad?” “What drove me to eat that [insert junk food chosen]?” Understanding the thought processes behind your eating habits will show you whether you fall into certain patterns that trigger overeating.
And whilst you’re at it, you should also ask yourself the question: “Was it really that bad?”
Because all too often, what we think is a big mistake isn’t that much of a big deal at all. A ginger cookie or two isn’t ideal if you’re trying to eat better but it won’t kill you. It won’t undo all of the hard work you’ve invested this far. Relax, forgive yourself and move forward.
3. Consider if you’re being too restrictive?
Are you being realistic about your diet or eating plan? Are you giving yourself enough calories from each of the food groups or could you do with relaxing your strict rules a little?
We all need food to fuel our bodies. If we starve ourselves of either calories or nutrients, our bodies start to fight back and demand food. We become obsessed by food, we fall in love with food and we believe that it’s the answer to all of our problems. (It’s not.)
Despite what you might think, this diet business isn’t supposed to feel like torture. You’re not supposed to lie in bed at night trying to ignore those painful pangs of hunger. You’re supposed to feel more vibrant, more energetic and watch those kilos peel off effortlessly. If this isn’t happening, then it’s the wrong eating plan for you.
- Think about how you normally handle failure
We usually feel close to quitting at least once or twice after we’ve had a binge. We think we just can’t do it and often simply believe that this will be another one of those failed diets to add to the list.
But take a moment to consider what you usually do when life gets tough. When you fell off your bicycle as a kid did you give up entirely on ever riding a bike, or did you persevere until you’d mastered it? When you find something at work challenging do you throw in the towel and resign or keep pushing through somehow.
Then why aren’t you doing this when it comes to your new healthy lifestyle? Why are you thinking about quitting? Why is this any different to riding that bike?
5. Review your whys
Finding your unique ‘why’ you can become more focused on the final goal and far less likely to trip up on the way to achieving it. When it comes to dieting, that fatty, sugar-filled food seems less appealing and more like a barrier between you and the body of your dreams. There isn’t a battle of willpower and failure can’t even come into the equation.
So find your motivating reasons, pin them up somewhere obvious like on your fridge door and refer to them often to keep you on track.
6. Switch your relationship with food
And lastly, you absolutely must change the way you think about food. Think about nourishing your body, filling it with energy-giving nutrients, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Thinking about the healing and growing properties of food and allow yourself to benefit. This kind of self-love will be the one to pay off handsomely in the long-term.
It needn’t be the end of the world if you fall off the wagon and ‘screw up’ your diet. I repeat: it doesn’t mean that you’re a failure not that you should simply give up. What matters is that you pick yourself up, brush yourself off and get right back on track.
Remember why you’re doing this, take time to nourish your body with the food it needs and learn to love yourself that little bit more.
Do this any you’ll soon transform your body and your relationship with food so that you really can achieve that long-term weight loss you’re looking for.