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Surviving Setbacks

By Barb Brathwaite, RN MSN CS

I’ve noticed that people who have lost a significant amount of weight tend to look on the bright side, are healthier and more successful at achieving their goals than other people. But learning to be optimist takes practice and continuous effort. Do you ever catch yourself thinking like a pessimist? For instance, do you ever say?


“If I don’t stick to my eating plan 100%, then I’m a total failure.”

“If I miss a day of exercise, I’ve completely failed at my exercise routine.”


Pessimistic thinking can get us into trouble. It will sabotage any long-term plan for change. You will make missteps sometimes. But when you slip up, you can forgive yourself and keep moving forward.


Many times when we are trying to change an old behavior that is unhealthy, we are really hard on ourselves if it is not done perfectly. We may feel defeated and worthless and want to give up. This way of thinking may push us to go back to our old unhealthy, comforting behaviors such as emotional eating. We have to turn off those negative feelings and think positively. Focus on the positives with acceptance and optimism and the healthy behaviors WILL follow. We are not perfect. We all make mistakes. Acceptance of our human imperfections and loving ourselves will provide the nurturing necessary to start again. Believe in yourself. You’ve done it before. You can do it again. Instead of giving up after a setback, start anew the next day.


Remember: being involved in support groups helps ensure you stay on the right track. Connecting with others involved in weight loss provides information, understanding and accountability. We may fall off the track occasionally but those who are involved and have support get back on the track faster and tend to stay on the track.