Slip ups happen. We’re human, trying to break habits of a lifetime. It is inevitable that you will have meals or days where you overeat or make unhealthy choices. It’s OK. No weight loss goal is ever won or lost in a single meal. It’s important to see it as an opportunity for teaching. A slip up helps you highlight a trigger, which will help you plan for next time.
Be kind to yourself
When a child falls over, I’m sure you’re not hard on them. You wouldn’t tell them they’re useless or good for nothing. You wouldn’t tell them they were always going to fall over and that they shouldn’t even bother standing back up. No! You would be kind and compassionate and help them get back up. You need to apply the same kindness to yourself.
Beating yourself up will only perpetuate self hatred and make it more likely you will slip again. Successful weight loss happens when you realise you are worth losing the weight. You will lose weight not because you hate yourself but because you love yourself. So meet any slip ups with compassion and understanding.
Challenge all or nothing thinking
Having one meal of karage chicken is not a total disaster. One or two slip ups won’t totally derail you unless you take on ‘catastrophic’ or ‘all or nothing thinking’. The problem with ‘all or nothing’ thinking is that once you have a tiny slip up – eat a biscuit when you planned not to- you are tempted to eat the whole packet. It’s so easy to mess up and then throw the whole thing down the drain. A couple of extra calories might stall your weight loss but it won’t totally undo it. But ‘catastrophic thinking’ will. Relax, breathe and keep it in perspective.
Once you can keep slip ups in perspective you can bounce back. The key is to try and bounce back quickly. It’s tempting after a slip up to decide to restart the next day or the next week or next month, or on January the 1st. We allow one tiny mistake to be a whole day of mistakes or a whole week. If you can bounce back immediately you will minimise the impact. If you have a muffin for morning tea and then decide you might as well overeat until tomorrow (“when you’ll definitely start again”) you’re adding thousands more calories to that day. Calories you then have to burn off. Drawing a line in the sand after the first muffin means you keep control and minimise the damage. One muffin? No problems. One muffin, bag of chips and three glasses of wine? – more of an issue. You need to stop before it sabotages your whole journey. So, slip up and get up. Straight away. Don’t wait. The longer you wait, the harder it is.
Focus on your next right meal
Bouncing back immediately will mean focusing on the next right meal. Don’t think about what has been or what might be, just focus on the next meal and be proud of your choices you make for that. One step at a time, one meal at a time.
So remember – you are in control. You can reset and bounce at any time. You are worth it. Reflect on what’s worked well this week and what might need to change. Remember also that weight loss isn’t just about food – success will require attention to your physical, situational, relational, psychological and spiritual worlds.
What do you need more of? What do you need less of?
Take stock today and then reset.