A New Perspective on Failure

There is a common theme in my weight loss clients; they tend to be very demanding of themselves. In their eagerness and their determination to achieve an ideal physique and greater health, they often run into great pains when specific goals are not met during a specific time frame, or when a plan that was set up in a session did not go over well.
Take W., a client who was on a weight loss journey of about 35 pounds. When we first began, we created a realistic goal of 6-8 pounds of weight loss per month – based on her efforts and her past experiences with weight loss.  Towards the end of her second month, a parent fell ill and she had to take on additional family needs.  Her weight loss slowed and she expressed her anger at herself in a session, chastising her inability to get in workouts despite the added stress, sleep deprivation, and hours of adult care that were taking place.

She took this a failing to her commitment to herself.

But all ‘failure’ needs to be is an opportunity to assess our expectations. Are they realistic? Are they achievable? Have circumstances changed that now make it unreasonable? If a client is unable or unwilling to follow through with an agreed upon goal for the week or month, all it tells me is that we have created an unreasonable goal.

  • Sometimes we take off more than we can chew.
  • Sometimes we don’t see obstacles before they show up and get in the way!
  • Sometimes we discover that a goal doesn’t work for us only when we begin to test it out.

Whatever the cause – that lack of completion tells me we need to re-assess and find something more suitable. There is no reason why the road to your ideal body cannot be lined with stones of success all along the way.

Successful weight loss, or success in any endeavor, entails finding appropriate mini-goals en route to the larger, over-arching aspiration. These mini-goals determine each person’s unique path to success, and are intended to be adjusted and altered along the way. Life, and our body, is never static – why would we expect our dietary protocol or exercise regimen to be this way?

The clients that experience the greatest success capitalize on their determination and use it to work hard and stay committed, but they also have the self-reflection and inquisitiveness necessary to explore what it happening within their body, what their cravings mean and what their triggers are. We work together to discover their unique physiology and blueprint for success by uncovering the language and wisdom of their bellies and memories and cravings. When something goes wrong – it becomes an opportunity to learn more about what works best … each ‘failure’ is really a closer step to success.


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