What to do when you slip-upPosted: Jul 27 in Weight loss, Weight Management Strategies by Dr. Lazarus
A wise mentor once told me that “Weight gain is part of every successful weight loss program.”
If that is true, why do we all too often beat ourselves up when we slip up? I see the same story every day – a person has lost a lot of weight, kept it off a long time, but then goes on a trip – Mexico, a wedding, a cruise, whatever. They regain some of the lost weight, and then blame themselves for having no willpower, feel like a failure, cancel their next appointment, stop their chronic weight management prescription medication, and stop their healthy eating plan. They completely throw in the towel. This is the first step towards not just regaining part of the lost weight, but quickly regaining all of the lost weight.
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They never stop to think that everybody else visiting for the wedding also gained 5 pounds, that everybody else on the cruise also gained weight… They are so bent on labeling themselves as a failure they fail to realize that weight gain is a normal part of that environment, and that all humans are constantly gaining and losing weight.
Dealing with slip-ups
Rule #1: Weight loss does not equal success
The first step towards dealing with slip-ups is to separate the mentality that weight loss = success and weight gain = failure. Success is doing your best to stick with your healthy lifestyle. Failure is throwing in the towel and going back to unhealthy habits. The scale is simply a tool to help monitor health, much like a blood pressure cuff is used to measure blood pressure. High blood pressure readings do not indicate failure any more than low readings indicate success – rather, high readings are associated with a heightened risk for heart attack and stroke, and therefore should be addressed medically.
The same is true for body mass index (BMI) – higher numbers are associated with shorter lifespan and decreased quality of life. So we want to improve it to the best of our ability.
The first step in dealing with slip-ups is to understand that they are normal and do not indicate failure.
The second step is to have a plan for what to do when the weight goes up. This plan should be in writing. Here would be an example of what I mean:
Slip-up plan for John Doe:
- Weigh every week on Monday morning
- If weight is stable or down, good job! Continue current plan. (see below)
- If weight is up 5 pounds or more, do the following for the upcoming week:
- Restart food journal every day.
- Increase the use of fixed calorie meal replacements to 2-3 per day.
- Take weight loss medication every day, and if available, add booster dose in the afternoon.
- Increase walking by 15 minutes every day.
- Increase water consumption 8-16 ounces every day.
- Schedule an office visit with your Registered Dietitian Nutritionist at CNC for added support.
Conversely, what if you are sustaining weight loss and have an amazing weigh-in on Monday morning? What if you are down another 5 pounds?
Slip-down plan for John Doe:
- Weigh weekly on Monday morning.
- If the weight is down 5 or more pounds:
- Do not do a food journal at all for the week.
- Continue healthy eating plan.
- Continue chronic weight loss medications, but without any booster doses.
- Continue healthy physical activity plan.
- Continue standard water.
- Schedule a non-food reward before the end of the week – meet a friend for coffee, get a massage / manicure / pedicure / hair style, get yourself a non-food treat.
So there you have it – a slip-up and a slip-down weight management strategy!