On Saturday I tweeted an agonizing confession: I ended the week 15 pounds north of my “all time low,” registering as my heaviest weight in over a year. This was the result of multiple factors: a trip to Savannah, two weddings, Thanksgiving, my 30th birthday, and a variety of office snacks. To say it plainly: I lost sight of my goals and slid into a state of complacency for an extended period of time. The rare treat turned into a weekly, or even daily, occurrence. I told myself I’d make up for things the next day but didn’t follow through. I got lazy.
I would be a hypocrite if, despite all of my successes, I didn’t admit to this. Plenty of people in the weight loss space very commonly present an identity online that never wavers from center, never struggles with cravings, and never raids the office candy bowl when they’re having a shit day. However effortless weight loss has at times been for me, it has been a challenge equally as many times. Passing on a dessert at Thanksgiving when I was new to the scene in 2016 was a challenge. Making those same choices consistently for three consecutive years has been ever harder. Doing so for the next 40-50 years will be harder still.
Fortunately, I’m not alone… Plenty of people struggle with these challenges this time of year. Between work parties, “Friends-giving” get togethers, family dinners, and the like…it’s incredible easy to slip back into bad habits. So what can be done? As this is my first prolonged battle with regressing into my old ways I’m, well, not necessarily an expert on how to switch out of this funk. But I do have some thoughts…
The single biggest mistake we can make at times like these, and on this point there is near unanimous agreement in the weight loss community, is to put off “fixing” your habits until after the holidays, your exams, busy season at work, after pay day, or any other time. When is the BEST time to start better habits? Yesterday. But today is all we’ve got, and that’s good enough. I get it though… you step on the scale eleven days before Christmas and you’re eight pounds heavier than you were two weeks ago. The urge to resign to “I’ll get back on track on the 26th” can be so tantalizing. But how will you feel when, on the 26th of New Years Day, eight pounds has turned into fifteen or twenty? Will you keep putting it off then too? Plus, not for nothing, addressing the problem as soon as you discover it can be a great hedge against less than stellar choices during the holidays.
“When is the BEST time to start better habits? Yesterday. But today is all we’ve got, and that’s good enough.”
Another thing worth considering is how often and when you’re stepping on the scale. I don’t subscribe to a hard and fast rule on this, some swear by every day, others once a week. Switching from one of these to the other could be a quick, simple change in your routine to mix things up and change your way of thinking. Further…if you just step on the scale whenever you feel like it…stop. Pick a routine, whatever it is, and do everything you can to weight in at the same time of day. Personally, I started my journey weighing myself only on Wednesdays; I switched to daily as the bulk of my weight came off and my margins got a little slimmer. My regression, weight wise, has coincided with complacency regarding a “weigh in routine,” take that for what you will.
A little trick that has helped me fight cravings is simple and cheap…gum. Want to know what tastes good after some seriously minty gum? Jack shit, that’s what. Try keeping gum handy wherever cravings tend to hit you: at your desk, in the car, in your purse or backpack…wherever.
Whatever you do, don’t beat yourself up…this won’t get you anywhere. Commend yourself, instead, for realizing there is a problem at all. Quit feeling down. Quit sulking. Start finding solutions.