At what point do you turn it around?

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The leader in the 9:00 a.m. Saturday Weight Watchers' meeting asked, "At what point do you turn it around?"

No one answered.

I would bet my paycheck, if I had one, she knew full well at least one person in that crowded room did not follow the program every day that week. And we all know what that means, don't we?

"At what point do you turn it around?"

Still no one answered.

Finally, she asked for a show of hands. "Has anyone struggled this week?"

Several of us -- yes, me included -- raised our hands. Yes, I did. I lifted my fingers and palm at least a few inches, hoping no one would see me.

Uh huh, it was that kind of week. I'd gained a few pounds. Traveling, a few meals out, bowls of Simply Naked popcorn, Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies, Pei Wei dinner special in the airport -- these may have been the biggest offenders this week, but there was plenty I'd been eating and not tracking. Too much food.

Not tracking, not writing down everything I ate, not paying attention and making myself accountable for my choices -- that is when I eat too much, and I don't reach goals I really want to reach. I know this, and I do it anyway some weeks.

"So, at what point do you turn it around?" No one answered her question.

"When I know I have to weigh in at a meeting." Usually the night before, I could have added.

Everyone laughed.

"Accountability?"

"Yes." I responded.

"At what point do you turn it around?" The leader looked from face to face. "A few pounds? A piece of clothing that doesn't fit right?"

Finally, others like me shared their experiences of reaching a point where they would say, "Enough!" and then begin to turn it around, back to pursuing their goals.

Different people had different reasons. Many nodded as they listened.

So, why did I decide to show up at the meeting anyway after seeing on my home scale that I was a few pounds above where I'd been at my last weigh in several weeks ago? Answer? Some inner alarm goes off. When I'm smart I drag myself to the next WW meeting, even though I hate letting the receptionist see evidence that I have not had a "successful" week.

These meetings aren't about condemnation. They're about encouraging one another to reach goals.

"Okay, then. So what are the steps you take to get back on track?" The WW leader looked around expectantly, waiting for people to share their experiences. And she was not disappointed.

These are great questions. I needed to listen to this today. Again.

Well, let's see.
  1. Show up, weigh in, and stay for the weekly meeting. I need the accountability. Going helps me face reality and move through it, past it, and get back on track. I always learn something or share something someone else needs to hear. It helps.
  2. Buy good foods that I like and will keep me full, so I can make better choices this week, on plan. Oatmeal, yoghurts, fruit, vegetables, chicken breasts, a few healthy snacks -- these are staples.
  3. Try something new to eat that fits into the plan. When I eat something new each week, if only one meal, this helps me stay satisfied with my choices. The alternative is to get bored or feel deprived which can lead to a revolt.
  4. Track. Write it all down. The accountability of writing down the day's choices helps to curb late night snacking that can throw me off my game.
  5. Plan meals ahead. When I try to plan ahead for special occasions, they go more smoothly. I also like to save enough points for a favorite snack in the evenings.
  6. Forgive myself for getting off track. Practice kindness and grace to myself.
  7. Focus on what I am doing right, not on yesterday's mistakes. Build on success. Practice the next step of forgiveness.
  8. Remember why I'm on this journey toward goal. Focus beyond today's immediate issues to long term goals.
  9. Eat as few weekly points as possible, so am not easily derailed. When this is possible, the last days of the week become easier. (Note: the weekly points are additional to the daily points. They are bonus points or emergency rations. Some call them "party" points.)
  10. Plan on becoming more active. Doing it. Walking more, climbing the stairs, chasing the grand kids, making the many small decisions in a day to be more active. Sometimes that includes walking on a treadmill at the gym. We don't have that membership now, so it means more everyday things or a walk.  
These ten steps (and a few others) have worked for me before. They can work again.

Additional activities I've found that help me keep an emotional balance and stay on track include
  • Regular devotional time
  • Journaling
  • Prayer
  • Hanging with family members
  • Holding my cat
  • Doing something fun
  • Having a schedule, as much as possible
You'd think being close to goal weight would be easy. Nope, some weeks are hard. So close. Not there yet.

Yet.... I like that word. It gives me hope. That's a step 7 thought, I think.

Yet.

How about you? Although you may have different goals than weight loss, derailment may be familiar. At what point do you turn a derailment around? Or, what steps do you take to turn it around? Please comment.

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