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3 Ways to Reset Your Diet After a Setback

3 Ways to Reset Your Diet After a Setback

A couple months ago, I headed out the door to take Peppy, my cocker spaniel, for a walk. About a block from my house, I slipped on some loose dirt and fell down hard on the sidewalk.

It took a minute to catch my breath, but other than that, I thought my only injury was a scraped knee. But the next morning, everything hurt, including taking a deep breath. The doctor concluded that I hadn’t broken anything, but had bruised a rib.

This fall came at an awful time. I had managed to build up and stick to my exercise program in spite of a schedule filled with coaching clients and writing projects.

Now I took lots of ibuprofen, kept pushing myself with my work, but let up on the exercise.

As the days went by, I gradually began to heal. But my spirit took a nosedive. I had worked so hard to keep to a regular exercise program, and suddenly I couldn’t do any of it. To console myself, I slid into eating ice cream and cookies. Of course, that comforted me for a short while, but then I felt worse.

Finally I made a decision to get back on track with my weight-management efforts. It worked. I’m eating a lot healthier again, and even though I had to move a bit slower than usual, I am back to taking walks every day.

We all go through setbacks, and it’s easy to let them pull us down for a while.

Sometimes a difficult loss, such as the death of a parent or the end of a relationship, will cause us to go through a setback. But other times, we can struggle because of simple things such as tripping over dirt on the sidewalk. Whether we are dealing with grief or an injury, a setback can make us lose our motivation and cause us to temporarily give up on our weight-loss program.

Three Ways to Push the “Reset” Button

Overcoming a setback doesn’t have to take a long time. When you feel ready to get back on track, think of it as pushing the “reset” button on your life. Here are three simple steps to help you recover from a setback.

1. Allow a grace period. This is a time to let yourself be human. Cry as much as you want. Pound your frustration out on your pillow or a punching bag. Be angry or discouraged or depressed. When you’re ready to move on again, you’ll know it. At that point, the grace period is over, and you need to choose to get back on track.

2. Return to what worked. Make a list of things that have worked for you in the past, including any routines or activities that help you stay committed to your program. Pull out your tracking notebook or sign in to your online program. Review your list of reasons why you want to lose weight (or create a new list). Use it to remind yourself that you really do care about your goals and your health.

3. Start with small steps. With your exercise plan, use the Ten-Minute Solution. Make a deal with yourself that says you have to exercise for only 10 minutes, and after that, you can quit. Then go do it.

Sometimes, at the end of the 10 minutes, you’ll be relieved it’s over and you’ll stop. But other times, you’ll discover that getting started made you feel better. If so, you might choose to keep going longer. Either way, you’re a success.

A setback doesn’t have to ruin your weight-loss plan. In fact, I encourage you to view a setback as a gift, not a disaster. Let it be a time of learning and renewal, rather than a dent in your belief that you can be successful.

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Linda Spangle RN MA

Linda Spangle RN MA is a weight-management coach recognized nationally as a leading authority on emotional eating and other psychological issues of weight loss. A registered nurse with a master's degree in health education, Spangle is the owner of Weight Loss for Life, a healthy lifestyles coaching and training program located in Denver, Colorado. Her newest book is Friends with the Scale: How to Turn Your Scale into a Powerful Weight Loss Tool (SunQuest Media, 2014). Learn more at


+ add your own
12:53AM PDT on Oct 12, 2014

Thank you!

12:40AM PDT on Oct 8, 2014

Thank you!

12:40PM PDT on Aug 2, 2014


7:19AM PDT on Aug 1, 2014

Thank you!

6:03AM PDT on Jul 31, 2014

Yes, Fi, I must strengthen my determination to give up talking. I pray to become mute.

6:02AM PDT on Jul 31, 2014

I've had a much more serious setback recently, though not related to my diet. I am working on my character and failing miserably. I am neurotic, which manifests itself by excessive talk. The best cure would be to keep silent all the time. However, I met a friend yesterday and, despite my efforts to keep silent, I burst into uncontrollable talk.

4:25AM PDT on Jul 31, 2014

Strengthen your determination for the goal

10:06PM PDT on Jul 15, 2014


4:38AM PDT on Jul 15, 2014

Thanks for sharing

12:16PM PDT on Jul 14, 2014

Thanks for the tips :)

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