Failure. It’s the ultimate “F” word. I say ultimate because it’s the one we least like to say. Failure is a part of life, but it’s a part we want to sweep into the corner. I’ve swept it into that corner many times. Today I am going to confront five failures that can inhibit weight loss head-on. Without their shadows looming on the wall, we can make significant progress.
Failure #1: Allowing that Mean Girl to rule our world
We are our own worst critics. It’s amazing how that little voice in our heads can pick and pick and pick until we doubt everything we thought we knew. Allowing this bully to reign unchecked is a huge stumbling block. It’s time to stop that bully in her tracks. I have had a lot of luck ignoring the negative thoughts by immediately and consciously reversing the negative with positive. If Mean Girl says “you look ugly in that shirt,” I follow that thought with “I look great in this shirt.” It has taken a while, but after I spend some time counteracting her horribleness, I found myself interrupting her negativity and using my positive affirmations to boost my motivation and self-esteem. Every time she starts in with her ugly refrain, stand up for yourself and be your own spirit squad.
Failure #2: Not celebrating the small victories
One of the most potent abbreviations in the weight loss world is NSV. It stands for Non-Scale Victories. They go hand in hand with little weight loss victories. So many times in the past, we do not take the small achievements and milestones seriously. We only choose to focus on my long-term goal. It’s that goal that is hanging out, looming in the distance. We can see the outline out there, but the details are hazy. The problem with this viewpoint is life is boring without details. The small victories are so much smaller than the end goal, but all the details serve to pull us forward. Following all the small goals down the path has gotten me so much closer to my goal than focusing on that goal itself. If we find fun ways to step on each stone, such as making a list of rewards, mapping our plans, or even drawing a graphic to track each goal, we are more engaged and more likely to take each step to see what the next one will hold.
Failure #3: Not recognizing that all those small victories add up to significant changes
You are here looking for substantial changes that lead to weight loss. That’s why I’m here too. Like I mentioned in the last point, significant results aren’t easily reached without small victories. One very visual way to see them is to go stand in the potato section of the grocery store. Pick up one 10 lb bag of potatoes for every ten pounds you lost. Those bags add up to a big ole pile of potatoes pretty quickly, but they also let you see each victory it took to get to where you are now. Keep adding in the bags. Keep watching your success grow until you reach your goal!
Failure #4: Deprivation makes the heart grow more stubborn
Taking things away makes people cling harder to that very thing. We are contrary creatures. It’s a human response we start to see in our toddlers when we take away something they have no interest in until it’s gone. Cue the full body temper tantrum. As adults, we (usually) don’t have the tantrums on a large scale, but resistance to having things we view as ours taken away is still there. This is true with food. We quickly find ourselves craving the very thing we tell ourselves we don’t need. The craving grows and grows until we end up yanking it back and shoving it into our mouths. I’ve found I eat way less and enjoy it more if I eat what I crave. If you want a Twinkie, eat the Twinkie. It will help you not devour an entire box in a weak moment down the road.
Failure #5: Not realizing that weight loss is ALWAYS a work in progress
The most significant difference between all my past weight loss attempts and this one is a point of view change. I used to see this as a definite thing I would do for a little while. Once I reached my goal, it would all be sunshine and rainbows. Now, I see myself as a work in progress. A beta version of life. Just changing this one viewpoint has helped me roll with the punches instead of taking a knockout and retiring my gloves. I now view my current goal as a mark in the sand, not a chasm in stone. Once I reach this one, the winds will shift, and another line will show up in the sand. Have fun getting the new line to appear. IT will help you move forward with purpose. IT will bring you to all your goals.
From Failure to Success
The first step towards your goals is to avoid the pitfalls. The failure pitfall is enormous. Pinpointing our failures is the only way to defeat them. This list is a starting point. Your list might vary some, but if you are struggling to lose weight, feel free to use this list to start seeking out your own failures. Once you find yours, stand tall, acknowledge that failure is part of life, and go about defeating the failures that are your biggest pitfalls. You will thank yourself in the morning.