There are many reasons that those of us on Slimming World fall off plan from time to time, personal stresses, parties, nights out, friends, family, work, life in general! As rubbish as it is to fall of the wagon, often its getting back on plan that’s the really hard part. Once you’ve given into temptation, or spent a few days indulging your food cravings, or taken a necessary break to enjoy something important, how you deal with starting to food optimise again can be really important.
I know that from my personal experience, there are some things which regularly crop up and stop me jumping back on the Slimming World train, or at least make it more difficult, when I’ve had a meal, day or even week off plan! As always, these are from my own experiences with Slimming World, but I’m hoping that by posting them here other people might be able to relate and perhaps I can help you identify things in your life that are getting in your way, and how you might be able to combat those things in the future! We are all only human, and I’m also aware that there are a million other reasons that people struggle to get on plan again…these are just some of my main ones:
The People Around You
We love them right? Friends, family, partners, they’re fantastic and we couldn’t live without their support. Since joining Slimming World the people I hold dear in my life have been incredibly supportive, hopefully you’ve had that too! Once you fall off plan though, they get to enjoy a glimmer of old habits, and that’s hard for them to let go of again! The takeaway menus are back on the kitchen table, there’s a packet of biscuits in the cupboard, and you didn’t moan at them for ordering a Dominos…in fact you joined in with extra sides!!! It’s difficult for them, who may not need to lose weight, to adapt back to Slimming World eating habits or to encourage you to do the same and so they might inadvertently sabotage your efforts. Whether it’s suggesting a takeaway when you’ve already said you’re back on plan, or rocking up with a box of doughnuts to chow down in front of you, or simply rolling their eyes when you tell them its time to get back on the bandwagon, it’s not helpful.
Help them to help you if this happens. Sit down, look them square in the eyes and tell them that you know you’ve been a bit naughty recently and it’s been fun, but now it’s really time for you to get back on it. Explain in a non confrontational way that the little things they do make it difficult for you to keep your newly rekindled motivation up, and ask them directly to watch what they’re doing for a while. It’s important not to snap at them, because most of the time they honestly won’t even realise they’re not helping, so by addressing it early you’re saving yourself a lot of arguments! When you’re back to full Slimming World strength, it may be that you can stomach them chowing down on cake in front of you…just not right now!
You’ve had a week off plan…you go to weigh in…you’re absolutely dreading it….you step on the scales and….you’ve maintained??!?! AMAZING right?!! I don’t know about you, but for me it’s the best feeling when you feel like you’ve cheated the scales. You’re suddenly invincible, telling yourself that maybe you’ve fixed your weight problem. No longer will you have to worry about enjoying an extra slice of pie, or cake. No longer will you have to watch in envy as your skinny friend mindlessly stuffs their face with their second tube of Pringles…life is good! Right?
Well, yes…maybe. The next week though, you’re still feeling invincible. Maybe you eat some more cake, have another few days off plan, it won’t hurt will it? You step back on the scales and OH MY GOD…4llbs on! The world comes tumbling down around you suddenly, your body has totally betrayed you. It’s crap, but it’s all too common.
When the scales make us feel like we’ve got away with eating crap, it’s only natural that those habits can creep back in on a more regular basis. The problem is that often weight gain doesn’t show straight away, so you might not be seeing the real number and by continuing to be off plan you’re only making things worse. I’m seriously guilty of this. I’ve had weeks where I’ve lost despite eating like a pig, but now I know better than to trust that number. I know that I need to get straight back on plan to combat any delayed weight gain, and to stop myself gaining the week after!
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t jump for joy when you get a good number on the scales, after all you’ve probably made great decisions elsewhere and saved yourself a nasty surprise, what I am saying though is don’t let it make you feel like going off plan will always end in a good result. If we didn’t have problems with food, we wouldn’t be on Slimming World, and if our bodies dealt with being filled with crap well, we certainly wouldn’t have a weight problem!
Life In General
I’m not being flippant here. As I said above, one of the main reasons people fall off plan is that there is other stuff happening in their life that simply takes priority. Emotional struggles are a big factor for people who have a tendency to be overweight, emotional eating is a real issue and it’s hard to overcome. As someone who has struggled for years with depression, anxiety, binge eating and emotional eating, I can relate. The tough thing to do is get back on plan when life still hasn’t fixed itself.
If the factors that made you go off plan in the first place are still well and truly a thing, then it’s unbelievably difficult to put them to one side and start food optimising again. When you’re still having a bad day, and all you want to do is reach for sweets then telling your brain that it’s not the right thing to do is next to impossible. Everyone has their own personal journey when it comes to emotional struggles, but if this is a factor in your weight gain and when you struggle to get back on plan then I strongly suggest you seek some help in this field. Getting professional help was a big deal for me, but it did make a difference in the long run. If you’re not quite there yet, take a read of my article about How To Put A Stop To Emotional Eating for a bit of advice!
A Lack of Progress
No matter how far you are in your journey, how much weight you’ve actually lost, or how much effort you’ve put in, we all have those days where we look in the mirror and it just doesn’t feel like enough. It can be incredibly disheartening, and it’s even more so when you’ve had a little time off plan and don’t feel like anything you do is going to work. I was very lucky to lose about three stone very quickly, but for the last six months or so I’ve really struggled. Because I’ve been struggling so much, going back and forth between the same half stone, I’ve been finding it really difficult to regain motivation when I go off plan. I look at my progress and stupidly tell myself that it’s not going to make a difference, so one more pizza won’t hurt, or that I probably haven’t lost much anyway so it doesn’t matter if I have a bag of Maltesers at the cinema! It’s not a good attitude to have, and it stops me being on plan 100% almost every week.
What I’m trying to do recently, and is helping, is to try and look at my weight loss as a bigger picture and to concentrate on how far I’ve come, instead of how far I still have to go. If I stop thinking more about how slow this half stone is being, I just might be able to stop beating myself up for just enough time to get back on plan properly! I don’t have all the answers for this particular issue right now, but I’m working on it and definitely invite you to join me in working out how to!
Having To Much On
My biggest trouble at the moment is that I have a lot on, and it’s making it incredibly difficult to stay on plan. From work events, to my birthday, to having a lot of travel commitments in the next couple of months, it’s hard to envisage being able to be fully on plan for more than a few days at a time. Knowing this though, makes it very easy for me to tell myself that because I’ll be off plan on those occasions, it won’t really make much of a difference if I’m off plan on other days too. This is the worst possible attitude to have, because in the greater scheme of things, the days I do have on plan will make a difference, and they could be the difference between a loss and a gain. I really need to get to target by my holiday in December, so being off plan in my downtime isn’t an option.
If you’re struggling with juggling a busy life with sticking to plan, whether that’s because you’ve got kids, a busy job, a difficult family life, lots of birthdays coming up, weddings, parties, events…whatever it might be…the best way to deal with it is to set yourself short term goals. For example, my holiday in December is helping me focus on reaching my target weight. It might be that there’s a specific event that you want to look particularly good for, or a check up at your doctors that you want to wow them at. Find what it is that will make you refocus your efforts and work out a way to remind yourself every time you have a moment of weakness, whether that be to stick a big poster on the inside of your fridge, set a picture as your background, or put sticky notes on every door on the way to the kitchen!
I don’t pretend to have all of the answers, and I can only try and help from my own experiences. What I can say is that asking for help, whether that be from friends and family or from the wider Slimming World community, is the best way to combat any issue you’re facing. The chances are that someone else has gone through the same thing and might just have the answer you’re looking for!
Failing everything else, put on your best and most kick ass outfit (whatever that might be), stand in front of the mirror and tell yourself that you can do it again and again until it sinks in…because trust me, you can!