Be Optimistic and Realistic“Don’t Worry, Be Happy”.  It’s a catchy tune, sure, but it’s not the best approach to success!  Overly optimistic thinking goes like this ” I went WAY over my calorie budget today, but I’ll get back on track tomorrow, somehow”.  While it’s helpful to assert good intentions (rather than beating yourself up) being vague about how you’ll recover isn’t helpful.  Thinking things will get better somehow, without having a plan to make it happen, can derail your weight loss efforts because we need to identify what needs to change and than set specific steps to change it.  So for instance the fix for going over your daily calorie budget could be to plan out your day for tomorrow. While most unhelpful thinking styles are negative (example beating yourself up) the don’t worry be happy style feels helpful and positive.  But it too can lead to feelings and actions or more often, inactions that undermine our journey.  Because it masquerades as something positive, this thinking style might demand a little practice and shift.

An example on how to manage this type of thinking was provided by the Weight Watchers Weekly on this subject.  It teaches you a way to “balance your thinking”.

  1. Identify your “don’t worry be happy” thought. (Example: I ate way more than I planned at my lunch date today. I’ll get back on track later.)
  2. Reality check it.  Ask yourself “what needs to happen to make this true?”  Use your answer to shift to a helpful thought that has one ot more back on track solutions. (example: If I make a plan, I will be able to get back on track later.  I could track what I ate.)
  3. Plan what you’ll do.  Choose one action from your ideas above that’s doable.  Make a specific plan for what you’ll do, when you’ll do it and who you’ll do it with (if anyone). (example: I’ll track what I ate at lunch during my 3pm break at my desk by myself.  That’ll help me see how many calories I’ve used and decide what to eat for dinner)

I’m a good one for this kind of thinking.  I am a big “don’t worry, be happy” thinker when it comes to my weight loss journey.  That’s why it’s ben so SLOW!  I’m always saying to myself “it’s ok tomorrow will be better” – spoiler alert- tomorrow is never better.  The action plan above is great and something I am going to give a try!

Stay on Course!

“Lapses” happen – it’s not, if but when. 
What’s important is what you do afterward.

It happens to all of us at some point.  You have a slip, a setback, possibly even more than one.  Maybe you’re tracking less, you missed a meeting or two, or you haven’t worked out in weeks/  Maybe you’ve gained weight, maybe you haven’t.  The important thing is that you get back on track at your next meal or opportunity.  So forgive yourself for that slip and keep going!

According to Weight Watchers Weekly how this helps is that because its important to know that setbacks happen.  They happen to everyone.  They are a part of life. Don’t expect to be perfect and don’t throw in the towel and berate yourself when you think you’ve failed.  That can trigger those unhelpful thoughts, which we all know can leaf to negative feelings, that then turn into further slips.  This then turns into a cycle rather than a one time event.  Remember that you didn’t fail.  Everyone slides a bit from time to time.  Its never an issue of if, its when.  Recognize that this is part of the process, part of your journey to the new you.  What matters most is what you do after the setback and how you set yourself back up for success.

I know I am a guilty party when it comes to feeling like I let myself down.  I just recently attended my 16th meeting and thought for sure I would be much further along in my weight loss journey than 7.8 pounds.  What I forgot is that I just committed myself to attending a meeting every week.  Every week for the last 16 weeks!  That’s huge.  Sure it would have been great to have hit 16 weeks and 5% of my weight loss, but life happens and I’m still figuring out how bad I want this and that I’m not just going through the motions.  In my last post I talked about moving more and that I just started a couch to 5K program and I signed up to actually participate in one 8 weeks from now.  These first few runs have been miserable.  But I’m finishing them.  I’m also committing to not cancelling my Weight Watchers Membership.  I’m staying until I get back to lifetime.

I’ve got this.  My slip-ups are just a part of my journey.