5 Steps to Getting Back on Track After Going Off Plan
“Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward toward success.” –C.S. Lewis
When one slip-up turns into a week of being “off plan,” it is easy to feel out of control or disappointed and become discouraged. Take heart! Everyone experiences blunders at some point or another in his or her weight loss journey. Below are five steps for getting back on track after going off plan.
1. Make an appointment with your coach.
Losing weight and reaching your health goals is hard work. Our coaches know that and understand that going off plan happens. Don’t be afraid to have an open conversation with your coach about the challenges you are facing or examples where you went off plan. The worst thing you can do after going off plan is cancel your coaching appointment or avoid making another appointment out of fear or embarrassment. There is no better time than after going off plan to make a coaching appointment. Ultimately, we want to help you recognize and incorporate habits that work for your life in order for you to sustain and manage your weight loss long-term.
2. Write it down.
Be specific! Note the first example of when you went off plan. List where you were, what you did, and how you were feeling. Continue to note as many examples that you can remember of going off plan. After compiling your list, look for any patterns. Did you mostly feel anxious when you went off plan? Had you just finished going on your evening walk when you went off plan? These are all things to look for when identifying certain situations where you are more prone to go off plan. If you cannot recognize any patterns, take this list to your coach and discuss it with them. Perhaps an outside perspective can help you sort out situations or feelings you cannot recognize alone. The more you learn about what situations work and do not work to help you reach your goals, the better prepared you are moving forward.
3. Change the way you think about it.
In the words of Winston Churchill, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal.” Rather than thinking of certain days as “failures,” replace this language with “learning experience.” Don’t go off-plan at breakfast and then consider the rest of the day a free for all. Start over again at your mid-morning snack and focus on the things you are doing well. Black and white thinking can result in you sabotaging your own weight loss efforts. Don’t let one slip-up snowball into an entire day or month off plan.
4. Find a Reminder
After going off plan, try writing down or remembering why it was you started your weight loss journey. Did you join Profile to get off of certain medications? Did you join in order to have more energy to be active and play with your kids? Consider writing the reason(s) down somewhere where you can see it everyday, such as your bathroom mirror or your refrigerator. Sometimes just being reminded of why we created health goals in the first place is enough to get us back on track. If you can’t remember your reason, draw on past experiences of success. Perhaps you have lost weight before successfully or maybe your past success was your ability to graduate college or start your own business. Certainly, you can think of an example in the past where you were capable and determined. Use this example to propel you forward in your weight loss efforts.
5. Stay Positive
It is easy to feel angry or frustrated at yourself for going off plan. While these feelings are understandable, they also might stand in the way of you getting back into routine. Acknowledge your frustrations and then let them go. Try talking to yourself as you would talk to a friend. If your friend was trying to lose weight and went off plan, you probably wouldn’t say to them: “You are a failure and you will never get to your goal weight.” Why should you say those things to yourself? Instead, talk kindly to yourself: “It is human to slip up here and there when making a huge lifestyle change. I am doing the right thing by taking control of my health and I will get back on track in no time.” Don’t let you stand in your own way.