Mistakes are not only common during the process of weight loss, they should be expected and used to further active learning of what to do and what not to do for successful weight loss and successful weight-loss maintenance.
Trying to avoid making mistakes is a common approach in anything we do. Not making mistakes because we have made what mistakes we needed to in order to learn what to do and what not to do is vastly different from trying to avoid making mistakes altogether.
In fact, if you think about it, all the learning you have ever done had at its core, learning from your mistakes. Learning to walk, way back when. Learning to read, way back when. Learning to how to have sex. Learning a job or a craft. Learning to be a parent. Learning to be you. It all involved making mistakes and learning from your mistakes.
This is true of the weight-loss process as well. So face it. It’s best if you embrace the idea—don’t wince— that mistakes are good.
Here’s what openly accepting mistakes can do for you.
- make you stop and think about what caused you to make a mistake
- inform you about what knowledge and skills need further improvement
- give you the feedback you need to correct and improve
- reduce unpleasant emotional reactions like feeling frustrated, worrying too much, and being self-critical
- free you to engage in better planning, monitoring, and evaluating your progress
- encourage you to revise strategies
- get you to think about the issues and deal with the issues from different perspectives
- promote the kind of thinking and doing and personal presence that is useful in brand new, never-before encountered situations
One rather traditional mistake during any attempt to lose weight is cheating on a diet. Here’s where mistake acceptance fits right in. Instead of excoriating yourself up one side and down another for cheating, why not use the cheat (read: mistake) and learn from it. You can learn why you cheated so you can deal with this issue more head-on. You can learn how to recover from a cheat. That’s important not only for sticking to the diet, but it is also a necessary chance to practice slipping up a bit and recovering, which are two processes you will have to be up on after dieting, when it comes to maintaining all the weight you lost.