Say you’re 5 or 10 pounds from your goal weight; the end is in sight, and you’re closer than ever to achieving what you’ve worked so hard for. Then the pounds start creeping back on; before you know it, that magic number that was so close is a distant memory. Has this every happened to you? Why do we sabotage our success sometimes when we are so close to our goal weight? There are a number of reasons why that we intentionally or unintentionally let our success get the best of us.
Are you too focused on scale?
Your weight can easily fluctuate by 5 pounds or more over the course of a day depending on hormonal changes, how much water you are drinking, as well as your sodium intake and any prescribed medications you’re taking. Don’t just rely on the scale; take your measurements and see how your clothes are fitting.
Are you too focused on the right “number”?
As I just said, there’s a lot more to weight loss than just the number on the scale. Perhaps you had set a goal of losing 20 pounds in 12 weeks, and you are five pounds away from that magic number at 11 weeks. Instead of beating yourself up over not achieving the right number, take a look at all that you have accomplished. It’s very likely you have lost dress and pant sizes, and even gained muscle—maybe you lost 20 pounds of fat, but gained five pounds of muscle. Take your measurements, and also look at all the other positive changes you accomplished: Do you have more energy? More confidence? Have you improved your fitness level and changed the way you eat? These are all signs of success and they should be considered when you look at how well you achieved your goals. You might even need an extra couple weeks to hit your goal, which is totally fine. As you get down to those last few pounds, your body can be pretty stubborn in giving them up, but it will happen.
Do you let a slip-up derail everything?
Just because you had a slice of pizza or a cookie does not mean you’re a failure. It means you’re human. The key to achieving your weight loss goals, and making this way of eating a way of life, is knowing that even if you slip up occasionally, the important thing is to then get right back on the wagon. Make sure your next meal or snack is low-carb; add a little bit more exercise to your day, and ramp up your motivation by finding a new and delicious low-carb recipe to add to your menu. It’s also important to look at this as a learning experience. What caused your slip-up? Were you stressed? Had you skipped a meal or a snack so you were too hungry to resist the treat? Did you not want to hurt your host/hostess’s feelings at a party or family gathering? Were you just plain bored and hungry? Knowing what factors led to your slip-up can help you avoid it in the future.
Do you throw caution (and carbs) to the wind?
It may be tempting to start adding extra carbs into your meals now that you’re so close to success. As long as this works within your personal carb balance—meaning you are able to incorporate these extra carbs while still losing or maintaining your weight—that’s great. But be careful that the pounds don’t start slowly piling back on when you are so close to your goal.
Are you afraid of success?
Your goal is in sight, but are you wondering what to do once you have achieved it? That could also be daunting, daunting enough to relax your resolve and pile on a few pounds. Be proud of what you have accomplished instead. Celebrate your success, and start setting new goals so you have something new to work toward.
Is your weight your security blanket?
There may be various reasons that led you to gain weight in the first place. Sometimes it’s a product of low self-esteem or other past negative experiences. It is almost comforting to hide behind the weight; it becomes a source of security. As you shed the pounds on Atkins, that weight is no longer something you can hide behind. Your weight loss may attract attention, and if you were always used to hiding behind your weight, this could seem like unwanted attention. But this weight security blanket can also cost you your health and your quality of life. If you find you continue to sabotage your weight loss efforts because you are used to hiding behind those extra pounds, counseling may be a helpful choice to help you discover what factors in your life have caused this.
Share your experience. How have you sabotaged your weight loss efforts?