If you’ve been reading my posts, you know that I spent a large part of my life dieting. None of the diets ever worked — but I blamed myself for the failures. I felt like I kept taking one step forward, one step back, forever stuck and never getting anywhere.
When I finally quit dieting, I immediately realized what a waste of time it was. And I felt sad about all those years I wasted. But I realized something important: it took me all those years to get to my breaking point, and it was what I learned through all the dieting failures that finally pushed me to quit doing it. I realized that each time I failed, I learned something new. And all the lessons I learned added up to a big decision that changed my life.
Dieting repeatedly makes you feel stuck. You diet, lose weight, gain it back, fail, and do it all over again. It feels like you’re never making progress . . . but that’s actually not true.
You’re never in the same place twice. You’re always making a new distinction with every experience you have, even if you don’t know that you are. That’s why there’s no such thing as failure: because when you “fail,” you’re actually learning what doesn’t work.
Really stop and think about this, because it’s life changing when you do. Even if you feel like you’re doing the same thing over and over again, you are never the same. When you shift your thinking to realize that you’re always moving forward — even when it doesn’t feel like you are — it gives you momentum to continue. You can choose to believe that you’re making progress. Because you are.
But having this mindset is really hard when you are in the diet/failure/shame loop. That’s because dieting never ever works, and as long as you keep doing it, you are going to fail. And then you’re so busy feeling like a failure that you can’t see that you’re actually getting somewhere.
You have to free yourself from the dieting trap by dedicating yourself to slowly and consistently taking small steps forward. You have to commit to a slow deliberate journey for the rest of your life — not a race to a weight-loss finish line. You have to see that you’re always moving forward; as long as you believe yourself to be stuck, you will never get un-stuck.
Here are three steps to change your perspective when you feel this way:
1. Stop judging yourself. Give yourself a massive break. You’re doing the best you can with what you’ve got. Ease up on yourself, and keep going.
2. Make a distinction. Ask yourself what you can learn from your “failure,” and use it to change what you’re doing that isn’t working.
3. Make a modification. Make one tiny modification to what you’re doing. Don’t try to change everything at once. This is unsustainable and results in an “I quit” mindset when you run out of willpower. Instead, give yourself a small win by making one small, easy change. And then build on that.
You have to remember that you are making progress, even when you “fail,” because progress isn’t just achieving a goal — it’s also figuring out what doesn’t work. You are in this exact place because of what you’ve learned and experienced so far. It may feel like you’re stuck, but you’re not.
Keep moving forward, and choose to love what you see even if you don’t like what you see. Because that’s the only way to change it.