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!

Speak up for yourself

A simple, effective way to sidestep sabotage (well meaning or not).

“Another slice won’t hurt, you don’t need to lose weight, but you’ve always looked like this-it’s who you are.”  Do any of these sound familiar?  If so, you’ve faced sabotage at some point along the way and it can undermine your weight loss journey.

Something to keep in mind, is that most often, sabotage is not intentional.  Often it’s the people that love you the most say or do things that could derail your weight loss and maintenance efforts.  These people don’t even realize they’re doing it.  They think they are helping you.  Many people associate food with love.

The bottom line is not to assume that friends and family are trying to harm your weight loss journey.  Take the time to explain to them how you feel sabotaged and let them know how they can better support you and your goals.  after all, they won’t be able to change their behaviors unless they know how their actions are making you feel.

An exercise from the Weight Watcher’s Weekly on this topic gives you a way to “sidestep sabotage”.

  • Describe:  Identify the sabotaging words or action with as much detail as possible.
  • Effect: Tell the person how that action makes you feel.
  • Specify: Give clear directions on what they can do (or can stop doing) to help you.
  • Consequences: Tell them how that alternate action would make you feel.
    • Give Feedback:  If the person has responded as you asked – thank them!  But don’t be discouraged if you need to follow up because they haven’t changed their ways.  It can take a second reminder to spur them to change.
    • Follow up:  The next time it feels like someone is sabotaging your weight loss efforts, tell them what they could do differently, using the DESC method above.

My mother is the biggest offender when it comes to this very subject.  She shows love with food, for as long as I can remember.  She shows it in other ways too, but LOVES to give treats and make desserts.   We’ve talked about it, but with her, I have to know that she comes from the right place.  She’s not trying to make me gain weight or go off plan.  She believes in me and wants me to be successful – actually.  But she also thinks that I have self restraint – which I don’t.

What are some of the ways you deal with this kind of sabotage?

Plan Your Meals

It’s a savvy way to streamline prep, shop efficiently and stay on plan!

Benjamin Franklin once said ” If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”.  He couldn’t ne more on point when it comes to success in weight loss!  As with most things in life, advance work pays off with mealtime.  Whether you pre-track your dinner in the afternoon, batch prep the week’s lunches or decide on a full day’s menu before you even eat breakfast, planning make it easier to do the following:

  • Avoid spur of the moment eating.  When you know what and when your next meal is, you are less likely to be influenced by extreme hunger or external triggers (think donuts).
  • Multiply your possibilities!  Planning your meals helps you explore different foods and bring in a range of flavors and nutritional benefits.
  • Save money.  If you enter the supermarket with a solid list of ingredients for specific meals, you won’t spend on food you don’t need.  
  • Get in the Healthy Eating Zone.  You can plot out your meals and snacks to have them fit into your healthy calorie range.  
  • Enjoy every bite.  When you shed the stress of last minute decisions, you can anticipate and then really savor the tastes, textures and colors of your meals and snacks.
For me – planning before hitting the grocery is the most important thing.  Each week I plan out healthy meals for the family, then make my list of what I need to pick up at the store.  I really push myself to ONLY buy the items on my list.  Junk food is NEVER on my list.  Now don’t get me wrong – does the junk food jump in the cart every now and again – yup!  But going in with a plan spares me those “easy” dinners that aren’t always good for you.
In the Weight Watcher’s Weekly on this topic a member had some suggestions on what she does to plan for success –
  1. Batch cook and freeze!
  2. Focus on the foods you love!
  3. Keep pre-cut fresh and veggies on hand!
  4. Boost flavor with salsa!
Try planning for a week and see how it goes – I bet you’ll love it.  You definitely save money when you plan.  Because the chance of getting takeout goes WAY down. 

    Bounce Back

    Setbacks happen to all of us.  Here’s how to get back on track.

    Whether you missed a Weight Watcher’s meeting, unplanned eating, skipping your morning walk, or not keeping track, lapses like these are temporary when you identify, accept, and move past them.

    Thinking of a setback as a time when an old, unhelpful behavior change.  The good news?  A setback is also a sign of success.  The new behaviors that you’ve acquired have been established themselves that your old behaviors seem – just that – old and unhelpful.

    To bounce back from a setback, ask yourself what you can learn and what you can change to ward off the setback again.  Then, turn to your support systems – online, meeting room, friends or family.  Having a support system to lean on during times that you feel you’ve gone off track is an important tool to have.  They can help you find your way out of a dark time and remind you that the bad time you’re having now, may not be nearly as bad as it was before you started your journey.

    An exercise provided by the Weight Watcher’s Weekly on this topic is to write a letter to your future self.  When you have a setback, pull out your letter and read it to help you get right back on track.  If paper and pen isn’t your style, write an email or save it in the notes app on your phone.  Now, what should you say?

    • Remind yourself – that your setback is a normal part of the journey and has nothing to do with who you are.
    • Cheer the progress – you’ve already made, including any scale or non-scale victories you’ve achieved or are closing in on.
    • List who can help and how – family members or friends, your WW team or fellow members.
    • Set a plan for getting back on track – for example, if you find tracking has helped before, aim to track your next meal or two.  If sharing with others motivates you – share online.
    • On the envelope or subject line – write “open me when you _______” (ex – have a slip up, get on the struggle bus or feel stuck)
    • Read it when you need it – you could ask a friend to send it to you when they notice you’ve had a setback or if you think you might need an extra reminder of how awesome you’re really doing.
    Check out my Instagram to see my letter to myself – HERE
    Source – Weight Watchers Weekly March 11 – 17 2018

    Set Goals for Success

    Use Weight Watcher’s guidelines to make them powerful and effective.

    I know I am guilty of setting unrealistic goals for myself ALL THE TIME.  I get my mind in place that I want to get fit, healthy and lets be real skinny – then I want those things to happen overnight with little to no effort by me.  Because let’s face it – all of those things take a lot of work, dedication and time.  Lasting results don’t happen overnight.

    Setting specific, attainable goals make it more likely for you to accomplish them and make the behaviors you want to adopt long-lasting.  Weight Watcher’s Weekly on this subject give you some suggestions on setting SMART goals!
    So let’s take a look at what goes into a powerful goal.

    1. It’s specific.  Describing what you want, be exact on what you want to accomplish.  Saying you are going to do yoga this week is less likely to happen than saying – I’ll go tot the 10am class on Monday and Wednesday after dropping the kids at school.
    2. It’s reasonable.  Not a runner?  Don’t decide you’ll start running three miles a day!  The smaller the gap between where you are now and the goal set, the more likely you are to reach it.  It should also fit your lifestyle and your schedule.
    3. It’s active.  Frame your goals as behaviors that you want to do, instead of ones you don’t want to do.  Such as figuring out what snacks you can fit in at night when you want to snack – rather than saying that you’re going to stop eating all together.
    4. It’s short term.  Choose a goal you can reach in a short amount of time.  Assess your progress at least once a week or even once a day.  By reviewing your progress at short intervals, you can celebrate your accomplishments and troubleshoot any difficulties.
    Setting a goal for success!  the more specific the goal, the more likely you are to accomplish it.  Think about something you’d like to achieve within the next week that will help you on your journey – say tracking activity, finding time to take care of yourself, posting in your community group-
    Answer these questions to help you make your goals more specific:
    • What do you want to do?
    • When are you going to do it and for how long?
    • Where will you do it?
    • Who will you do it with (if anyone)?
    Start with no more that two goals per week.  This keeps things manageable and lets you focus on each behavior that you want to change.  Once you accomplish your first two goals…and keep them going…then you can set new ones.  When we discussed this topic in the meeting room, it came at a great time.  A time where I put on nearly five pounds in two weeks, not really knowing why or how it happened.  For the first week after this meeting I set one goal – drink 100oz of water every day.  The first week I did it!  I drank the 100oz every day, changing nothing else and I lost 1.8lbs.  It felt good.  Really good to get on the scale and be surprised by a loss.  The following week my goals were to continue drinking the water and picture journal all my food – everything…even the “cheats”.

    What are some of your goals and how did you decide on them?