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Why Do Women Who Failed Time and Time Again Keep On Dieting And Trying to Lose Their Unwanted Weight?

Posted Sep 28 2012 5:00am

How many times have you tried to lose your excess weight? Do you know the average number of weight-loss attempts for women in the United States, as reported in the 2011 Gallup Poll, was seven? It is clear, though, that some women have started diets or some type of weight-loss attempt multiple times each year. And it’s not surprising to hear some women report that over their lifetime they have tried to lose weight twenty or thirty or more times.

You would think repeated failure at something you want to accomplish for yourself would get someone to just give up and quit. Not the case. What we are talking about here is the desire to do something about your weight. You may have some initial weight-loss success but then fail to achieve your goal time after time. Nevertheless, you continue to try, making attempt after attempt to lose your unwanted weight, and for each attempt you convince yourself that this time you will succeed.

Your initial success can raise your expectation for total success, which turns out to be an expectation you do not meet. One of the reasons you might not meet this expectation is that you hold some unrealistic expectations. Commonly held unrealistic expectations about losing weight have to do with how fast you will be able to shed those extra pounds, how much weight you can lose overall, the amount of effort you will have to put in, and various ways in which your life will change by losing weight.

You also might keep trying to lose weight time after time despite not reaching your goal because of the explanations you give yourself for failing: didn’t try hard enough, didn’t try long enough, didn’t use enough willpower, didn’t exercise enough, the diet was too difficult, it was a tough time in my life. You have a reason for failing, and the reason makes it easier to believe that you will do better next time.

More support for your let’s try again and again attitude can come too from your investment in losing weight. Looks, health, social and occupational success are powerful motivators. Even falling far short of your goal but having a little weight loss success might be enough encouragement to try again, especially where such powerful motivators are concerned.

Relief is another important source of motivation for trying over and over again. Just deciding to do something about your weight, or making an effort to start can bring great relief from many different kinds of unpleasant feelings. It can dispel feelings of desperation and hopelessness. It can alleviate self-loathing and get rid of terrible self-criticism. You won’t feel like a do-nothing or a procrastinator, and you can stop nagging yourself about your weight. Doing something about your weight problem, even if it is just a little thing, can make you feel more in control. It can renew your hope, and make you think you can do it.

These are all reasons that if you don’t succeed at first, you will try, try again. But if you are going to try again, and you most likely are, please try a new solution for the same old problem. 


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