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aphil 06-23-2004 10:00 AM

Falling Off The Wagon...
Falling Off The Diet Wagon

by Jonathan Bowden, M. A.

"One of the most discouraging aspects of weight loss are the inevitable slips. Everyone has them. For some people, an occasional slip engenders an all out binge...followed by guilt, self-recrimination, a sense of powerlessness, and a feeling of "What's the use?"

Sound familiar?

I call it "falling off the diet wagon," and if you can change how you think about it, you don't need to be victimized by it anymore.

Let's start by looking at a simple children's game called "Chutes and Ladders." Here is how it works: you use a spinner to advance from space to space toward the winner's spot. Along the way there are ladders-which leapfrog you over a lot of spaces-as well as chutes-which send you back in the opposite direction.

Some kids play this game with a laissez-faire, "whatever" attitude, taking life as it comes with all its ups and downs, pitfalls and triumphs. They learn the wonderful moral of Chutes and Ladders-half the secret of life is just showing up. Keep playing the game, and eventually you will get where you are going.

Some kids, however, get very upset when they land on a chute. They are ready to quit the game, pick up their proverbial marbles and go home. For some reason, they believe that life isn't supposed to have any chutes. When they land on them, they are very disappointed and feel like giving up.

Weight loss is like a huge game of Chutes and Ladders.

In dealing with hundreds of clients over the years, I've discovered that the biggest difference between the winners and the losers in the weight loss war isn't whether or not people have "slips" and go off their program. It's not really a question of "if" they have them, it is a question of "when."

What really makes the difference is how you deal with the slips when they happen.

Her's an example. You have been absolutely wonderful on your plan for three weeks. You've been sticking to your exercise routine and feeling pretty terrific. You go to your best friend's wedding and have a glass of wine. Before you know it, soemone is insisting that you try those delicious little canapes, and before the wedding singer can say "Tanta Elka Cuts The Cake," you've managed to down about 4,000 calories from stuff you wouldn't have been caught dead looking at during the past few weeks...pates, desserts, breads, stuffings, you name it.

Most people think that's where the action stops. Actually, it's where the real action begins.

First, a reality check. Have you done a lot of damage? Not really. You may have put on a pound or two. Big deal. You can knock it off in no time, and go right back to work on yourself.

So what's the problem?

The problem isn't what we did, but what we make it "mean." We tell ourselves that our "transgression" means that we have no willpower, that we will never succeed, that our efforts are in vain.

Let me suggest something more empowering.

Suppose, instead, that we learn to see life's occasional "chutes" as just that-stumbling blocks that everyone hits on their personal path to personal power, nothing to be afraid of and certainly nothing to give a lot of meaning to.

So you had a chute. On your next spin you might hit a ladder.

Most important of all, you can't win the game unless you keep on playing.

And every minute gives you a new chance for another spin. Take it.

And don't look back. :)

*this article was found by 3FC member Silence...I thought you all might enjoy it as much as I did.*

SyracuseNY 06-28-2004 09:25 AM

APHIL - Thanks for sharing that article! ~Sy~ :)

bburoughs 06-28-2004 09:42 AM

This is a very good article, Aphil. I am going to print it out and tape it to my file cabinet and closet door! Thanks for posting it!

Samantha2002 09-24-2004 08:04 AM

Love this story - thought I would bring it to the top again!!!

:) Sam

SyracuseNY 12-10-2004 10:18 PM

Aphil: It nice that this was brought to the top again as I just re-read it and it makes so much more sense now. I'm up for Chutes and Ladders - and I know it will be a life long game. I'm in for the challenge.


Star 01-26-2005 02:43 PM

Aphil -Thanks so much, I needed to read that. It puts a "slip" into it's proper place.

ChickNextDoor 02-17-2005 05:59 PM

I was actually looking for a little encouragement today. This is just what I needed to hear. Thank you!

LaDean 02-23-2005 08:28 PM

that is a great article. we have to move forward just like it said. forget yesterday or the other meal or what ever. just allow for and go forward to a new meal or day.. good luck to all. attitude is alot of it.. and changes and choice. Have HOPE and BELIEVE in yourself. this is what i did and i am at goal. LaDean

Dritter79 03-01-2005 08:27 PM

hey everyone...

i was wondering if anyone has had any success just reducing their calories...if so how many calories were you eating total.

Chklithunder 08-18-2005 11:54 AM

Grrrrreat Article. Thank You!!!

swingirl 11-28-2005 10:04 AM

For me in the past dieting was always ALL OR NOTHING. I had to be perfect in my eating and if I had even 1 slip up I hated myself and gave up. Then a couple of months and pounds later I would try again and the same thing would happen. I have never realized this before. That is why this time I feel much different. Yesterday I went over my calorie totals by about 250 BUT.. I'm not giving in. Amazing eh. I also don't hate myself. I am just continuing along my journey.
I am so glad that I found you all at 3FC!! Thanks.

Mina 12-25-2005 07:09 AM

Oh. So true. So true.:p

sirabe76 01-30-2006 01:00 PM

That was a great article. .. I think I will put that in my weight loss scrapbook for inspiration... since I fell of the wagon this month. But i am getting back on.

MichelleRae 02-09-2006 05:12 PM

Wow! I majorly connected with that article! Thanks for sharing with us :)

CandlePrincess 02-22-2006 01:17 PM

great article! thanks for posting!

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