I have A LOT of expectations about how things should go and (especially) how other people should act. When I really stop to think about it, mostly these expectations get in my way and lead to disappointment. Usually when I find myself getting upset about something, I can trace it back to an unmet expectation.
Weight loss is a great example of this. Many of us expect that if we do the “right” things, we’ll lose weight and finally feel confident and proud of our bodies. Unfortunately, as you may have already figured out through your own trial and error, sometimes it just doesn’t work that way.
You know that feeling you get when you’ve been really “good” all week, but when you step on the scale, it hasn’t budged? I know that feeling all too well – the moment when expectations turn into disappointment.
I’ve found that this is the moment when I’m most likely to do one of two things. I either give up completely OR I get really strict and obsessive to try and force weight loss to occur. But, I’ve come to realize that both of these options are self-defeating. If I give up, I’m not doing things that I know are good for me, like eating enough fruits and vegetables, drinking water, and being physically active. If I get really strict, I tend to restrict what I allow myself to eat and drink and force myself to engage in physical activity that feels a lot more like punishment than anything else. By clinging to the expected outcome, in this case weight loss, I’m giving my power away.
But, I’ve finally realized that these aren’t the only two options. There’s a third option that never seemed to occur to me.
Are you ready for this? It’s going to blow your mind!
No, it’s not. You totally see it coming – I can change my expectations!
I finally realized that it is possible to do all the “right” things and still not lose weight.
I know it isn’t the answer you (or I) want to hear. I know it feels disappointing that you may never get back to your high school or pre-baby weight. Some people do, and that’s great! But, if you find that you’re struggling to lose weight and keep it off, I want to assure you that you’re not alone. And there’s nothing wrong with you. More than 90% of people who lose weight eventually gain it all back – usually with a little extra. I don’t want to discourage you from adopting a healthier lifestyle. I just want to assure you that you can pursue health in a way that may or may not lead to weight loss.
Don’t let the number on the scale determine your success. Whether weight loss is the outcome or not, adopting healthy behaviors IS good for us and will improve our health. We may not be able to control the outcome, but we can control our input, and THAT is where our power lies.
This year, during Scale Back Alabama, I encourage you to join me working toward adopting healthier lifestyles by focusing on what we can control: our behaviors.
I’ll be setting the following goals for myself:
- Drinking 64 oz. of water 5 or more days each week
- Getting at least 7 hours of sleep 5 or more nights each week
- Getting at least 30 minutes of physical activity 5 or more days each week
What about you? What 3 goals are you planning to work on? How are you adjusting your expectations to serve your health and wellness journey?
Lita Chatham, MS, RDN, LD
Lita is a registered dietitian, mama, and public health advocate. She believes that eating healthy doesn’t have to be complicated, and that strict rules and rigid diets do more harm than good. Lita is passionate about sharing a common-sense approach to healthy eating and encouraging everyone to reject false and misleading nutrition claims – if it seems too good to be true, it probably is!
Lita believes that changing our mindset to one that eliminates blame, shame, and guilt in relation to body size/weight is the first step in ensuring future generations develop healthy relationships with food and their bodies. She believes that kids are like sponges and should soak up messages of self-love and acceptance from the adults in their lives, not be bombarded with weight-centric messages.
Lita is a graduate of the University of Montevallo and the University of Southern Mississippi, and was selected as the 2019 Emerging Dietetic Leader of the Year by the Alabama Dietetics Association. She is an active member in several professional organizations including the Alabama Obesity Task Force, Alabama Dietetics Association, Montgomery District Dietetics Association, and the End Child Hunger in Alabama Task Force.