3 Reasons Why We Fall Away From Our Healthy Eating Plan and How to Overcome Them

Achieve Blog

By Laura Wright, CPT
Achieve Weight Loss

Let’s face it, we have all been there or are there right now.  We lose weight and are so proud and feel healthier but then slowly, almost insidiously, those pounds start creeping back.  What makes so many of us gain back the weight we have worked so hard to take off?  I think there are 3 reasons why we gain the weight back and I am going to give you some solutions for them.

1. Behavioral Fatigue:  

This is pretty simple to understand.  We are just plain tired of eating healthy!  We want to be able to eat whatever we want whenever we want.

Solutions:

This one is going to step on some toes so I hope you are not barefoot.  We are selfish and greedy.  Like a two-year-old throwing a tantrum, we want what we want and we want it now.  We need to realize that we do not have to constantly overindulge on food and we are not to be pitied and pampered if we can’t eat whatever we want.

Another solution for Behavioral Fatigue is to change our reward system.  First of all, DON’T REWARD YOURSELF WITH FOOD!  All that will do is make you feel that food is a reward you deserve.  You may be a person who rewards themselves with a new article of clothing for every 10 pounds.  That is a great reward but the same rewards over and over can get boring.  Maybe start looking at rewards as something you wanted to DO but couldn’t because you were too overweight.  For example, reward yourself by walking on a mile hike with your grandkids or maybe going on that roller coaster you always wanted to try but were afraid you might too big.  Be creative!

2. Pessimism and Perfectionism:

These two may at first seem unrelated but they are really the same thing from two different angles.  Pessimism says, “I’ve tried before but always failed.”  Perfectionism says, “If I am not doing it perfectly then I am a failure”.  They both lead you to feel you are a failure and that you should just stop trying.

Solutions:

This is where you need to remember your why.  Why do you want to lose weight?  Do you have some medical reasons or are you  just feeling uncomfortable in your own skin?  You need to know why you want to lose and that will help keep you motivated.  We also need to make sure that our why is not unreasonable. For instance, if you want to be a size 0 and weigh 85 pounds that is probably not a reasonable (or healthy) goal.  Weight loss begins in the mind and you need a why to stay motivated.

You can fight Pessimism and Perfectionism by rewarding approximate goals.  For example, if you wanted to lose 10 pounds this month and you only lost 8, don’t look at that as a failure.  I have heard people that come in to be weighed and they say “I only lost 1.5 pounds this week.  I wanted to lose 2.”  You can’t look at everything as a failure, that will just make you quickly want to give up.

3.  Unhealthy Behaviors Lead to Immediate Positive Feelings while Healthy Behaviors Lead to Immediate Negative Feelings:

I know this is a long one but just let that sink in for a moment.  I first heard this statement by Dr Patrick O’Neil, PhD in a lecture titled “Behavioral Aspects of Obesity Management.”  I’ll sum this up in my own words “Chocolate cake is yummy and when I eat it I am happy.  When I try to resist and not eat, it I am missing out on all the good stuff. (insert pouty face)”

Solutions:

Remember that your unhealthy behaviors will lead to future negative feelings.  We can’t keep eating the cake and losing weight, it will eventually result in weight gain.  We need to think about the positive results of not eating cake.  (looser clothes, better health etc…)  We also need to keep reminding ourselves that the healthy behaviors will eventually lead to positive results.  This one is a bit harder because we see the future results as uncertain.  We need to realize that our healthy behaviors, if we are consistent, will lead to positive results.

We also need to remember that our healthy behaviors may make others uncomfortable which only makes them even more difficult.  I know I have had friends almost upset at me for choosing to stick with a healthy eating plan.  This just makes the immediate feelings even more negative. You need to tell your friends that you have a healthy eating plan that does allow you to at times splurge but just not all the time. Don’t give in to their peer pressure, your future results will be positive!  Congratulations on your new healthy lifestyle.

I hope this has been helpful and encouraging as you start or continue on your healthy eating plan.  The results will be worth it!