Are You Sabotaged by Your Expectations?

Published:  08/03/2015

What are the biggest obstacles to successful weight and health management? Eating out, cooking and preparing healthy food, social situations, vacations, hectic schedules, stress, transitions, life crises, intense cravings, and on and on. The biggest obstacle to successful weight and health management likely lies within our expectations. In short, they're too often blatantly unrealistic. All the menu planning, exercise and behavior modification in the world falls useless in the face of goals that are impossible to achieve.

Why do we do this to ourselves? Very often it's because we strive to be perfect"¦we set our standards based on our images of the perfect eater or exerciser. How many of these unrealistic goals have you set for yourself?

  • To always be rewarded for hard work with a drop on the scale.
  • To be the perfect eater every hour of the day.
  • To eat only"diet," low calorie, no-fat foods.
  • To never overeat.
  • To never miss an exercise session.
  • To always do exactly the number of miles or minutes of exercise you planned.
  • To lose lots of weight very quickly, e.g. 20 pounds in a month.
  • To never be threatened by food and eating situations.
  • To have the perfect body.

It's always interesting to see how angry people feel toward family and friends who sabotage their weight and health management efforts. But frequently they fail to identify the biggest saboteur of all -- themselves. They don't realize that they continually set themselves up for failure by attempting to be the"superwoman" who never makes mistakes, is never hungry, deprived, stressed or overwhelmed. This"superwoman" never feels sad or bored, or tired, and above all, never lacks commitment or motivation.

Realistic expectations lead to success better than any strategy we have. Use the following tips to help develop realistic expectations for yourself.

  • Change your focus to who you are and how you feel rather than how you look and what you weigh.
  • Determine a healthy (not necessarily thin) weight for you, depending on your age, height, build, and past weight history.
  • Set a goal of practicing positive behaviors most of the time (say, eight-out-of-ten times), striving for improvement, not perfection.
  • Expect mistakes, and learn from them.
  • Don't set deadlines for reaching a certain size, weight or measurement.
  • Base your eating plan on your Dietitian's meal plan to include at least the minimum recommended servings of nutritious, and low fat foods based on your size, level of physical activity, and previous eating patterns.
  • Eat reasonable portions of your favorite foods instead of aiming for all"diet" foods.
  • Gear your exercise plans to what can reasonably fit into your schedule.
  • Recognize that some exercise is better than none. Modify the type, intensity, and duration of exercise to your current mood, if necessary. But do something!

Managing your weight and health is hard work. To insure success, get out of your own way. Forget those unattainable goals. Treat yourself as someone who is learning a new skill. Take small steps; expect mistakes; reward yourself for progress. Work for improvement, not perfection. Treat yourself kindly, as you would a friend struggling with a difficult problem. Above all, don't give up! If you don't keep trying, it's impossible to succeed.

Categories:   Mindset 

Tags:   #weightloss

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