When You Fail

Winston-Churchill-2-12“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

“Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential.”

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

“Never, never, never give up.”

(All quotes above from The Right Honourable Sir Winston Churchill, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom)

First, my apologies for no post last week; mandatory overtime at work is taking its toll, but should end by October.

One of the biggest challenges for me and I would think anybody else trying to change their eating habits (or any habits for that matter), is how to handle failure.

A Weight Watchers leader a few years ago told the group: “if you have a flat tire, would you respond by slashing the other three tires?”  It was a perfect analogy. In the past, if I overate by consuming more than I meant at a meal or going over for the day, my reaction was to “throw the baby out with the bathwater” and eat whatever I wanted for the rest of the day…  and that giving in made it harder to get back on track the next day, too.  Soon, nothing was left of my diet plan but the memories.

There are two things to do when you fail: first, plan out beforehand what you will do if you fail, and second try to minimize the damage.

There have been about three ways that I have “failed” so far: #1, eating more than I supposed to, #2, planning a meal and not having what I planned available, and #3 just dumb mistakes.

A good example of #1 was when we had pizza ordered in.  Everybody has their “trigger” foods; for me it’s pizza and calzone.  For my wife it’s cookies.  She’s not bothered by pizza, I’m not bothered by cookies.  I knew how many slices I could have, I just wanted more.  How do I beat it?  The simplest way is to not bring more than I can eat at one time into the house.  I can split it with my wife, or I can order a small, or I can eat it there if that will help (I can leave when I’ve eaten as much as I should).

#2 is the one that happens the most often.  I plan my meal in MyFitnessPal, we get where we’re going… and they don’t have what I was going to order.  A variation of this is that they have something else, a limited time offer usually, that I really want.  There are a couple of solutions to this: first, make sure you have a “backup” menu plan, and second don’t be afraid to step out of line and take the time to re-calculate what your menu will be.

I have a perfect example of the 3rd cause of failure: one day a couple of weeks ago, I was having dinner at Panda Express, and had figured out my dinner calories so that it used exactly 100% of my calories for the day.  This doesn’t happen often, and I was thrilled!  I completed the meal, and with a triumphant flourish, I popped the fortune cookie into my mouth.

…It was at that moment that I realized I hadn’t counted the fortune cookie.

It ran me over 40 calories, I think.  I felt pretty stupid.

One way I’ve handled running over is to deduct the extra calories from tomorrow.  It’s not a solution that can be used regularly, but for the occasional screw up, it can help both control your intake and control any guilt you may feel about the extra calories.

The point with each one of these is that a plan in advance, combined with an intent to limit future damage will help keep your diet on track, even when you aren’t.  Just because the other team scores, doesn’t mean you’re out of the game!

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