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Have you ever known someone who lost a lot of weight, only to regain it within a year? Perhaps you’ve even been there yourself. It feels great to reach your weight loss goal, but it’s important to remember that you aren’t “done” yet. The truth is, maintaining good health -and a healthy weight – is a lifelong job.
One of the biggest pitfalls of dieting is the tendency to return to old habits once the excess weight has been lost. If you’ve used food to self-soothe all of your life, it can be difficult to break that lifelong habit. As proud as you are of your weight loss, regaining a single pound or some other disappointing life event can trigger an urge to return to your old coping mechanism.
When the urge strikes to overindulge in food, ask yourself the following questions:
- Why was that habit detrimental to me in the past?
- What effect did it have?
- Compare your old habits to your newly adopted habits. What’s different?
- What works? What doesn’t work?
- What do you need to do in order to redirect yourself back to your goals?
It’s rare that you can create lasting change in your life by choosing only one arbitrary thing and changing it. Knowing how it works, and why it works, is far more effective than simply forcing a different habit upon yourself. So analyzing your choices and truly understanding why you do things and how they affect you is key to making a change that lasts.
If you find it difficult to stay on track toward your health goals, don’t simply cave in and give up. Track your habits by journaling, recording your habits and how they affect your emotional and physical health. Consulting a professional therapist can help you understand the reasons behind your behavior, or attend group meetings to meet others who share your struggle (and have succeeded in overcoming it). The point is to find what works to keep you on track, and view your new lifestyle as a lifelong health goal – not an arbitrary number on the scale that signals, “Stop Now” when you’ve reached it.