How to Reset Your Diet After a Setback 5 practical ways to get back on track when you’ve fallen off the wagon. BY LINDA SPANGLE, RN, MA
If you've fallen off the wagon with your weight loss program, it's time to turn things around.
“ Overcoming a setback doesn't have to take a long time. When you feel ready to get back on track, think of it as pushing the reset button on your life.”
After a long stretch of staying on a diet or exercising regularly, we sometimes just stop. For whatever reason, we aren't inspired or just can't get the momentum going again.
This is what's known as a "setback." We all go through them, and it's easy to let them pull us down for a while.
Sometimes a difficult loss, such as the death of a parent or injury will cause you to go through a setback. But other times, you can struggle because of simple things such as tripping over your kids' toys. Whether you are dealing with grief or a sprained ankle, a setback can make you lose your motivation and cause you to temporarily give up on your weight-loss program.
Overcoming a setback doesn't have to take a long time. When you feel ready to get back on track, think of it as pushing the reset button on your life.
Here are five tips to help you recover from a setback.
1. Allow a grace period. This is a time to let yourself be human, so cry as much as you want. Pound your frustration out on your pillow or a punching bag. Be angry or discouraged or depressed. When you're ready to move on again, you will know it. At that point, the grace period is over, and you need to choose to get back on track.
2. Take a break from the scale. Any time you feel weak or vulnerable, postpone weighing yourself for at least a day or two. Instead of fretting about your weight, focus on healing and recovery. Stay off the scale until you get back into a healthy balance, both physically and emotionally.
3. Return to what worked. Make a list of things that have worked for you in the past, including any routines or activities that help you stay committed to your program. Pull out your tracking notebook or sign in to your online program. Create a list of reasons why you want to lose weight. Use it to remind yourself that you really do care about your goals and your health.
4. Start with small steps. With your exercise plan, use what I call the, "Ten Minute Solution." Make a deal with yourself that says you only have to exercise for 10 minutes, and after that, you can quit. Then go do it. Sometimes, at the end of the 10 minutes, you'll be relieved it's over and you'll stop. But other times, you'll discover that getting started made you feel better. If so, you might choose to keep going longer. Either way, you're a success!
5. Give yourself a pep talk. Pretend you are a weight-loss leader or a loving parent. Picture this individual speaking gentle words of encouragement. Listen carefully to the "I can do it!" message, and use it to get yourself back on track.
The main thing to remember is that a setback doesn't have to ruin your weight-loss plan. Instead of considering it as a disaster, view a setback as a gift. Let it be a time of learning and renewal, rather than a dent in your belief that you can be successful.