Falling off the weight loss wagon

“I fell off the wagon this weekend.”

Have you ever SAID this before? I’ve certainly HEARD this from a LOT of my clients over the years referring to their weight loss journey.

Let’s take a bit of a dive into this “wagon” situation, shall we?

What is falling off the wagon in terms of weight loss?

The whole point of “falling off” the wagon is that you’re ON it at some point… right? In your mind, that wagon is heading somewhere. In this case, it leads toward your goal, whether that is weight loss or something else.

You’re on your wagon, and it’s all going fine. You’re hitting your macros, doing your workouts, drinking your water. Doing all the things you’re “supposed” to do. But the wagon is small. It’s restrictive. You’re bored, and you start to look around… or it starts rolling through an area that you weren’t prepared for, and you start to see all sorts of fun things left and right. But you stay focused and keep trudging ahead, for a while at least.

That’s what “staying on the wagon” is like.

After enough time, everything OUTSIDE the wagon seems more fun than your dumb little wagon, so you decide to get out and partake in the festivities. Then when you are finished, you head back to your wagon and get back on.

Fairly accurate, no?

How to stop falling off the wagon

I don’t know about you. But that tiny, boring wagon doesn’t sound like anything I’d like to be stuck in. So it’s no wonder people fall OUT so much.

How is this mindset serving you? How much of your life have you spent ACTUALLY ON that wagon? How long have you talked about getting back on it? In your mind, there is this clear distinction: I am either ON or OFF.


In this all-or-nothing mindset, you think the wagon (aka, your weight loss plan) is a means to an end. When you arrive at your destination – your goal weight, your wedding day, you name it –, you’re OFF the freaking wagon and ready to live…

I am finally here…phew that ride was rocky, but I freaking did it.

Except life doesn’t quite work like that.

Weight loss is the sum of the continued lifestyle changes and the choices you make consistently – not a switch you flip on and off. So if you are going to insist on imagining a wagon, you better work on making this wagon a place where you can LIVE. A place that you don’t think about hopping off. Because the truth is YOU are the wagon.

Taking OWNERSHIP of your weight loss wagon

The second problem with “falling off the wagon” is the lack of personal accountability. In your metaphor, you’re not pulling the wagon yourself, are you?

You hopped on because someone told you the wagon is going in the direction you want to go. And it’s tiny and cramped. And you’re bored. But it’s going where you want to go, so you sit there uncomfortably for the ride. Until it’s too uncomfortable and you FALL OFF.

Instead, when you OWN the wagon and proudly pull it, you get a sense of pride in how far it comes and how AWESOME it is to be IN it. You earn each stop along the way and ENJOY it because it was your effort that brought it here.

So to recap, there IS no wagon for you to fall off or on. BUT if you want to stick to that metaphor, get in the habit of OWNING the wagon and understanding that you’re in the driver’s seat, not being pulled around hopelessly.

The third problem is simple: The wagon is BORING. 

But that’s because you haven’t pimped it out yet!

Once you accept your ownership of the wagon, it is way easier to make it an enjoyable experience. You learn the power of your mind, develop positive habits that make you feel GOOD, and essentially create an amazing little wagon to thrive in rather than one that’s constricting and boring.

And you know what? More often than not, you won’t fall OFF the wagon. You’ll simply steer a little bit and keep moving forward.

So many people fall for an all-or-nothing mentality, but really, there is no ALL or NOTHING – there’s only the choices we make daily.

One meal or one workout won’t make the difference by itself – it is the combination of daily choices that will amount to your success. So talk yourself off the ledge the next time you’re heading to the extreme because all you have is the choice right in front of you.

You CAN choose to get your feet back ON the wagon at the last minute before you jump off.

My ask of you today is simple: What is one area where you can find a more moderate approach rather than FALL OFF the wagon?

Try these suggestions to start:

  • A shorter workout instead of NO workout when you’re on a time crunch.
  • Checking out the restaurant menu and going in with a game plan when having lunch with friends rather than saying SCREW it and throwing caution to the wind.
  • Finding a nutrient-dense alternative for those sweet cravings – like berries or sweet potatoes – instead of restricting and eventually bingeing on candy.

Whatever your personal ALL or NOTHING is, I’m sure we can find a middle ground. Are you in?

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