Losing weight was one of the most difficult things I've done in my life. Every time I went on a diet in the past, I did well for a little while but then resorted back to my old ways.
I was a chronic yo-yo dieter up until about seven years ago. Before that, my weight fluctuated between 250 and 300 pounds. I know the struggles and frustrations all too well.
Over the last six years of maintaining a 125-pound weight loss, I've noticed trends in how my mindset had to shift to maintain my weight loss this time.
As you're on your weight loss journey, watch out for these warning signs that will surely send you right back to square one:
1. You're terrified of failing. You're following a diet as perfectly as possible. You feel like you're doing everything right, but you know that doesn't usually last for long. You know from experience that once you slip up and eat something bad, all bets are off.
Shift it: Stop avoiding failure and embrace it instead. We learn from our failures so that we can adjust our methods and try again.
2. You want to lose weight so you can wear cute clothes. Your motivations have always sounded just like this -- vague and uninspiring. When you need the willpower to say, "no, thank you" to the cheesecake or join your friend for a workout, these reasons don't inspire you to stay on track. It won't be long before your motivation to keep trying is gone again.
Shift it: Connect your deep emotions to the reasons you want to lose weight. Your motivations must have strong feelings attached to them.
3. You spend a lot of time discouraged at the thought of how much effort it will take you to get to your ideal weight. You talked yourself into this whole healthy living thing by telling yourself it would be temporary. Once you reached your goal weight, you could relax a bit. In the meantime, you hate every moment of it.
Shift it: This is for life. You have to find a way to appreciate the journey with each passing day. Set small goals to work towards so that you can reward yourself more frequently.
4. You're trying a new program that doesn't require physical activity or changing much of your normal eating behavior. It feels too good to be true, and you know it. You're doing weird rituals and not seeing results.
Shift it: Weight loss success (without a struggle) comes from embracing and feeling good about eating healthier and increasing physical activity. It's not a magic trick.
5. You hate every moment of your workouts. You hate sweating, you dislike the muscle soreness, and you refuse to workout without your makeup on. But, you're doing the best boot camp workout to blast fat fast, so you shouldn't have to do it for much longer.
Shift it: Giving up on exercise is one of the first ways we give up on our weight loss journey. You've got to find something you enjoy doing and make that your fitness foundation to build upon.
6. You believe the adage, "You are what you eat." Anytime you see someone eating junk food you can't help but feel sorry for them and their poor food choices. You think you're better than them because you're eating clean and healthy. When you slip up and pig out on junk food, you immediately feel like a pig, too.
Shift it: Remove the moral labels you have for foods. Over-identifying with your food can lead to disordered eating.
7. You keep trigger foods in your home. You're one of those people that believes you can store a case of sugary granola bars in your home and ration out just one a day to yourself. But you know deep down that next week, all 48 granola bars will be devoured.
Shift it: Be honest about your food triggers. If you can't keep certain foods in your home, admit it. Listen to your body for cues. Sometimes it will be okay to have them in your home and other times it will not. It's okay if there are times when you cannot moderate.
8. You weigh yourself every morning. Somewhere you heard that if you want to stay on track and be honest with yourself, you have to know your weight at all times so that you don't slip up. Some days, you drop four pounds and feel like a true warrior. Other days, you gain five pounds and turn into a sorry sucker.
Shift it: The digits on the scale tell nothing of your progress. Resolve to weigh-in no more than once every two weeks. You're not trying to lose weight to please the scale, you're doing it to feel and look better.
9. You aren't willing to try new things. You like to think, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." However, you keep beating your head against the wall doing the same old thing and not getting the results you want.
Shift it: Not all diet and fitness plans are right for everyone. Be open to experimentation. Try a new technique. If it doesn't work for you, just throw it out and try something else.
10. You collect all of the health and weight loss advice possible, but don't act on any of it. Conflicting health and weight loss information overwhelm you. The thought of doing something wrong paralyzed your progress.
Shift it: Not all health advice applies to our lives. Sift through the junk and pull out what's important. Act on it.
Are you a chronic yo-yo dieter, too? What warning sign do you notice right before you give up on trying to lose weight?
Photo Credit: snapwiresnaps.tumblr.com / Blake Bronstad