What to Do When You Fall Off the Weight Loss Wagon

It’s easy to feel discouraged when you slip up when trying to lose weight. I often find myself reminding my patients that weight loss is hard for everyone. Almost every person who embarks on a weight loss journey slips up every once in a while. The difference is how you react when it happens. Do you give up, or do you find the motivation to push forward? Here’s my advice for getting back on track if you fall off the weight loss wagon.

Be Kind to Yourself

Negative self-talk is a major factor in keeping us away from our goals. Negative self-talk can also make it even harder to lose weight. Working to get healthier is a good thing! To remind yourself of this, you may need to reframe your thinking. You’re not trying to lose weight because you’re not good enough; you’re doing it to be the best version of yourself. Celebrate the non-scale victories, like having more energy or walking farther each day. If you falter, give yourself grace and congratulate yourself on how far you’ve come already. Forgive yourself, and remember that you’re only human. 

Identify the Trigger

See if you can figure out what led you to make the choices you did. Did you have a binge eating session because you restricted yourself too much during the day? Did a lack of sleep cause you to miss your daily workout? There may be deeper reasons for why you temporarily lost focus on your weight loss goals, like a lack of confidence in yourself or less-than-encouraging comments from others. Identifying the trigger will help you overcome it next time it comes around.

Examine Your Goals

Sometimes, it helps to re-examine the goals you made. You may have set the bar unrealistically high, or maybe your goals aren’t clear enough. Write down your goals, and see how you can adjust. Maybe you can lengthen the amount of time before reaching a certain weight. Or maybe you need to break your big goal into smaller chunks. You can also add in non-scale victories like lifting a certain amount of weight in the gym or going for a 10 minute jog without stopping. Focusing on non-scale wins can help alleviate the pressure of the scale while also getting you closer to your goals. 

Remind Yourself Why

If you’re on a weight loss journey, there’s always a reason why. Why did you decide to lose weight now? What motivated you to make this big change in your life? This is a very personal question that only you can answer. Whatever your reason may be, come back to it when you lose steam. Get motivated by reminding yourself why you decided to lose weight in the first place. 

The most important step to take when you fall off the weight loss wagon is pick yourself up and get back on it. Find what motivates you, and use it to reach your goals. Maybe you need to reward yourself with a gift when you lose a certain amount of weight. Sometimes, just looking in the mirror and reminding yourself of where you were is enough motivation. Whatever motivates you, keep up the good work, and don’t get discouraged about an occasional slip up!  


Bariatric Support Group

Dr. Hodges highly recommends patients attend monthly support group meetings. The meetings are led by Dr. Collins Hodges, both a licensed clinical psychologist and someone who has had bariatric surgery himself. The support groups are offered on the first Monday of every month from 6:30pm – 7:15pm CST via an online GoToMeeting. The meetings are open to the public, and there is no charge to attend.

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