“Don’t give yourself a deadline. Healthy living is a lifestyle – it doesn’t stop when you reach your goals.”
This resonates with me on so many levels. Too often we give ourselves a deadline: a deadline to lose weight, a deadline to start eating better, a deadline to stop something. Or once you reach your goal, it’s time to stop doing the things that helped you reach the goal. I’m not an advocate of extremes. Long-term sustainability is only achieved by making small changes.
My goal is sustainable change. I’m not going to put a deadline on it; that’s just not realistic. I’m going to make small changes and see what happens. I know I will fail sometimes and that’s okay. (The perfectionist in me is cringing!!!!) I say all of these things from the first person because even I struggle with the same things everyone else does: will power and being able to be consistent. Maintaining habits is hard! It needs to be a constant vigil, but it’s not all bad. You learn what works best for you over time and are able to maintain through consistency. Consistency and strategy are key.
When you are trying to lose weight and keep it off, being consistent and not working off of a deadline will go further than anything. A lot of people feel that once they have reached their perceived deadline or pinnacle, they go back to old habits – those same habits that led to where they were before the weight loss. That is where yo-yo dieting starts – not maintaining the habits you created when you started on your journey to a healthier you. When you view everything through the lens of “dieting” with an eye on a deadline, you are doing yourself a disservice. I don’t advocate dieting. I advocate small incremental changes that lead up to bigger changes. Over the course of the lifestyle changes, you should have developed consistency and a strategy to achieve your goals. Most people do. It’s hard to achieve a goal by dumb luck.
Another goal is to realize failure is learning! You will not be 100% consistent and that is okay! “Failure” is a harsh term, but most people view it that way and it isn’t entirely true. If you are 80-90% consistent, 10-20% of the time you can have small little pleasures. The small little pleasures are what keep life interesting and you on track to maintaining your goals. Life isn’t perfect. Anyone who tells you it is is selling you something. Perfection is hard and should never be the goal. Pizza is awesome and should be enjoyed on occasion. When you eat that piece or two of pizza or have that little piece of cheesecake, don’t look at it as a failure. It is your small percentage of happy foods. One of the reasons a lot of people quit is because of one tiny slip, but don’t let that derail you, even if it is a week or two. It is important to recognize it for what it was and jump back into your consistency. It will not be easy, but it won’t be long before you are back on the horse, as they say.
My hope for those reading this is that you don’t view your journey as something with a deadline, but as a new lifestyle change. So don’t give yourself a deadline to make healthy changes. Just do it and see what happens. If you need help in setting those goals or that little push to maintain your lifestyle, let us know. That is what we are here for. Especially me – that is my role – to get you over any obstacle or roadblock you may have!
At Physician’s Weight Control and Wellness, our weight loss programs are unique in that they are physician-guided and individually tailored to each patient. Because every patient is different, no two treatment plans are the same. The same philosophy applies to our nutrition consulting and coaching programs. These programs are designed to be the next step after meeting with our doctors to ensure your investment in your new lifestyle takes root.
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Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash