Healthy Hack #10: Overcoming a Setback

About Healthy Hacks

As you may already know if you have been following me, I made a decision that changed my life. I decided to escape from my lifelong obesity and to lose over 100 pounds in under a year.

My results significantly exceeded my expectations and I lost 100 pound in 9 months, 120 in the first year and am still going strong – 130+ pounds in 16 months to-date. The pinnacle of my journey so far was completing my first half marathon just 16 months after weighing in at 325 pounds!

Throughout my fitness journey I have been repeatedly asked the same question: what’s your secret?

While there is no true “secret” to successful weight loss there are some techniques that worked well for me. I am going to share these techniques with you through this Healthy Hacks series in the Operation Melt blog.

Please read on because I am confident that these hacks can become the “secret” to your success with your own health & fitness journey

Overcoming a Setback

The new year and your refreshed goals are officially one week old today! Are you still on track? Are you progressing how you thought you would? Judging by how busy the gym still is this week I am guessing many of you are still focused on your fitness goals.

What if you aren’t on track? One week into your goals you may have already encountered your first setback. Any journey towards a big goal is going to be filled with ups and downs and it is a bit of a rollercoaster ride. Setbacks are just part of the process and you need to be prepared for how to handle them.

I have had tons of setbacks along my weight loss and my fitness journey as I have through other journeys in my life. There were many days during my weight loss where I would step on the scale and see the numbers go up not down. There were days where I would be surprised because I was 5 pounds heavier than the prior d

My setbacks along the journey have been a little rough from time to time. Because setbacks are so frequent I had to develop an approach to managing them. If I didn’t have a process I knew I would get frustrated and discouraged and I couldn’t let that happen because this was too important. So my 3 step process emerged:

  • Figure out how it happened
  • Focus on tomorrow
  • Forgive yourself

Figure out how it happened

The first step when you encounter a setback is to answer the big question: why?

By focusing on a fact-based assessment of how the setback happened you can pivot your brain from the emotional feelings of disappointment to an analytical focus on problem solving. Get from emotion to facts as quickly as possible to prevent a small setback from being a goal killer.

For example there were mornings where I would step on the scale and my weight would be up from the prior day. To be sure that is a disappointing moment. But then I would start focusing on the facts from the prior day to try to diagnose root causes and patterns. This is how I learned that I can be a little sensitive to sodium and it drives bing temporary weight fluctuations. From there I was able to set a revised goal to include managing my sodium and I was healthier AND more successful because of how I reacted to a setback.

In any aspect of your life make sure to react to setbacks with curiosity and a focus on the facts so you can move forward.

Focus on tomorrow

Once you have figured out what caused your setback the next step is to do something about it! Figure out what you are going to do today and tomorrow to get past the setback and to get back on the path to success. It is ok to have a bad day but you should do your best to make sure that one bad day doesn’t turn into two and then a week and then failure.

As I mentioned in my example above I pinpointed the source of my unexpected weight fluctuations as sodium. So I set another goal to track each day and started managing my sodium intake. By doing so I was able to drive my weight back to normal by the next day and my setback was over. Other times it isn’t quite that quick but you can almost always take immediate steps, even if baby steps, to address the problem and to get back on track.

Forgive yourself

Setbacks happen! They are just a part of the road to success.

When a setback happens the most important thing you can do is to forgive yourself. You are human and stuff happens. Small setbacks are not worth beating yourself up over and I know you are your own worst critic, right?

Remember why you started this journey and why this goal is important to you. Remind yourself that you are a rockstar and that you got this. Then put on your game face and get back into the game. You are unstoppable!

Thanks for reading and good luck with your goals – but you don’t need luck because you have a plan and you’re on this, right?! If not you should make sure to review Healthy Hack #1: My 3-step Weight Loss Secret to learn more about building a plan.

Check back next week for another hack.