I ran into a lady the other day who told me she had been trying to lose weight ever since the birth of her baby. I asked her how old her baby was and she said, “Oh, the baby is 8 years old!” I laughed with her. Then she said that she had tried to lose weight about 50 times in the past 8 years with no real success.
I could completely sympathize with her plight, because I was obese for 10 years and tried a bunch of times to lose weight. I joined Weight Watchers more times than I could count, bought numerous books and magazines on weight loss, joined weight loss groups at my church, and even tried “on my own.”
I rarely stuck with any of those programs for more than a couple of weeks.
The woman I was speaking too then told me that she felt that because she had tried so many times without success that she was destined to be overweight for the rest of her life.
I reassured her that that was definitely not the case. Just because you have tried a bunch of times does not mean that you won’t be able to lose weight. Not at all. I love this quote from Williams Jennings Bryan:
If I had let my many failures with weight loss become my destiny, I honestly don’t know where I would have been today. For sure I wouldn’t be able to exercise six days a week, run a 5K or maybe even been able to have had the four children I had after I lost 150 pounds.
Failure to lose weight is never fun, but it does not have to be a forever thing. In fact, we can learn from our failures and apply what we learned to future attempts to lose weight.
I know I did that.
For example, I learned that I could not just eat whatever I wanted to in smaller quantities to lose weight. Instead I had to change the types of foods I was eating as well as the quantities.
I also learned that exercise wouldn’t make me automatically lose weight, but it did motivate me to make better choices throughout the day and helped me break through plateaus.
I learned that weight loss involved not making temporary changes but instead making changes that I could apply to the rest of my life. (That’s what has helped me maintain all these years.)
I learned that fad diets and “popular diets” may work for a bit but are often so difficult to sustain that I quit them, knowing full well I couldn’t follow that particular plan forever.
I learned that I had to do it for me and not for anyone else. Yes, my children were motivational, but in the end, it was about getting healthy for myself.
If you feel destined for failure because you have struggled to lose weight in the past, banish those thoughts because they only serve to keep you where you are. Instead take stock of the things you learned and apply those lessons to trying again. Remember that you control your destiny when it comes to weight management. You choose the plan, you choose the food, you pick up the fork, you order off the menu, and you can make all those choices to be healthy, sustainable, and permanent.
Did you, or do you, ever feel defeated because you had failed in the past? Diane