diet, Giving Up, Goal Posts, health, lighterlife, mindfulness, slimming, weight loss, wellbeing

When Good Goals Turn Bad

I’ve been to a few different slimming groups in my time and one of the things they have in common is “the goal”.  What is it you’re heading for?

Seems like a legit question; after all, we’re all there for a reason.  For some people, this focus on the end result is something tangible (wanting to wear a specific dress/suit on their wedding day, for instance), for others it’s how they’ll feel fitter and happier and so on.

What I want to focus on this week is when these goals are healthy and when they are not.

So, I’ll start with a couple of questions: “Have you ever followed a diet to the letter until within a couple of days before weigh-in?” and “Have you ever had a goal but continued to eat off plan, then berated yourself for it?”

Yes, yes I have.

One of the reasons I’d done this is because I had previously been locked in a sabotage loop…

I had done everything to the letter and either maintained, lost a very small amount or, worst of all, gained.  I took to stressing out about getting on the scales from about five seconds after going to the group, all the way through the week.  This stress led me to make great decisions for a few days, then binge.

Having attended LighterLife groups, rather than accept this, I now question why it was happening.  I’ve realised I was trying to control the scales.  This way, if there was a gain, I could blame myself.  If I had lost, it meant I could cheat and still lose weight.  If I maintained, well, isn’t that what I eventually want to do anyway?

It was a very unhealthy (and mentally exhausting) relationship to have with weight loss.

The other component of this is pressure.

A goal is a good thing to focus on.  For me, it’s losing 5 stone and as you know if you’re a LighterLife client, you can lose around a stone a month.  -5 stone = 5 months.

Sounds great!

Until…

I have a great imagination.  Give me a goal and I’ll have a whole world created for it within a second.  My goal not only becomes the 5 stone but what I’ll look or feel like, what I’ll wear (complete with hours of Google searches), the kinds of times I’ll have, what activities or holidays I might take.  Followed with the challenge to myself that perhaps I could lose the weight even more quickly.  Why couldn’t I lose 5 stone in 4 months?  I’ll stick with this goal for a few days, then realise I could maybe do it in three.

Is there any wonder I become dispirited and reach for food?

When you struggle to get towards your goal, I want you to take a hard look at why.  Have you simply placed too much pressure on yourself?  Have you constantly changed the goal-posts so you feel what you’re aiming for is no longer achievable (so why try anyway)?

It’s a very subtle thing which most of the time you may do without thinking.

When you get on the scales and are disappointed by what you see, it would be good to look at why.  What were you hoping for and how did you come up with that figure?  If it wasn’t based on a scientific calculation, odds are, like me, you’re putting pressure on yourself with an arbitrary figure your brain made up!

You cannot control the scales but you can control how you feel about and react to them. Cut yourself some slack, take it one day at a time and your goal will be a reality before you know it.

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