Is your dieting honeymoon over?
The dieting honeymoon period-when you fall out of love with your diet.
Have you ever started a diet buzzing with motivation, made great progress but then for some reason your progress slows and you gradually stop doing all the good things that were making you successful in the first place?
I call this the dieting honeymoon. It goes a bit like this:
- The diet starts with a wave of enthusiasm
- You don't have any problem sticking to your plan
- Then a few weeks in you start to notice the results of your efforts
- Then others start to notice your efforts and give you compliments
- You tell yourself "I'm on top of this"
Then you hit a wall. Your progress all but grinds to a halt but you can't work out why. Then you reflect:
- Maybe you started to drift off your plan, just a small deviation. A one off.
- Then you realise that maybe it's a few more 'one offs'
- You maintain that you're still following your plan and start to list all the good things you've done
- But for reasons I explained in this blog you tend to discount the things that weren't on plan
- Then you realise you haven't stuck to plan as much as you thought.
Now things start to get real and your plan feels HARD
There are a few reasons for this:
1. First of all, that wave of euphoria you experience when starting a new project or working towards a new goal makes everything seem easy. It gives you energy and enthusiasm. It's an ecstatic state which feels great but it also takes a lot of energy and can't be maintained for ever. When it inevitably subsides and you go back to a normal state everything feels a bit harder.
2. You are also far enough away from the discomfort of feeling, what I call, "eurgh". Chances are that you no longer have the intense "yuk" feeling that made you take action in the first place. Your photos might not look so bad and your clothes fit better. It might not be perfect but you don't feel as rubbish as you did. As the intensity of that initial discomfort subsides the more your motivation wanes.
3. Another problem is that your new shape is the now the norm. Either you got the compliments you wanted or maybe the compliments have stopped as people just accept your new shape as just being normal for you. Without those compliments and people cheering you on, you miss that little 'buzz' that was spurring you on.
4. If you were dieting with a friend they may have fallen off the wagon by now. If it was a group effort and the group is rapidly diminishing then you may find you're doing this only for you. Some people find pursuing a goal simply for themselves is not enough motivation. It should be but often people won't keep going when others around them quit.
5. Finally, the most important reason. Whatever issues that were causing you to overeat are probably starting to surface again. That initial wave of euphoria can cause those issue to feel less intense. The very act of taking action can trick you into thinking you are dealing with the issue but in fact, it's possible you are just dealing with the symptom. The best weight loss also involves a lifestyle and mindset change too.
What can I do?
Go back to the plan and follow it to the letter! Completely to the letter. If you’re on it, you're on it. Not on it with a few tweaks but 100% on it. Whatever you were doing before, it worked. If you keep doing it will keep working.
Next, revisit your motivation. You might have gotten away for feeling rubbish/embarrassed/yuk so what will keep you going now? Where are you setting the bar? Are you settling for "I don't feel crap" or are you prepared to work towards "I feel great". If you are relying on motivation from those around you, what will motivate you when those compliments subside?
Finally, confront the issue. Overeating or drinking is the symptom not the cause. Your mind came up with food or drink as a solution, it's time to reflect on the problem. To help with this start to notice or even note down, what is going on when you don't stick to your plan. Where are you? What time of day is it? Who are you with? What were you feeling just before you veered off course? Then take some time to analyse what overeating gave you in that situation. Comfort? Peace? Approval? Control? The list is endless. Take some time to focus on what it means for you.
So what about you. Have you ever experienced the honeymoon period?
How many times? What tips do yo have for pushing through it?