The key to success in anything at life is perseverance. The whole if at first you don't succeed try, try, again adage really is true.
Whether it's relationships, school, work, and yes, weight management and lifestyle change, you're going to have swings and misses. You're also likely to have bad weeks, bad months, and potentially even bad years. If you want to see long term success however, dusting yourself off, picking yourself up, and trying again is key.
Take the graph up above. It's from a lovely real life patient my office has been working with for the past 4 years (and who has kindly agreed to allow me to write about her). As you can see, her path has been anything but straight.
Her first two kicks she was mired in diet-world. She punished herself with all or nothing style thinking and number-centricity, and struggled with self-monitoring as it led her to feel defeated by imperfection.
But then something clicked. She stopped using her food diary as a means to punish herself, she stopped trying to always be "on" her "diet", and instead embraced two things - consistency in self-monitoring, and imperfection in her efforts.
All told she's lost 31% of her peak weight (graph's in kgs) and has seen her BMI drop from 35 to 25. It's been over a year now with her current approach and she denies that she's "dieting", allows herself regular dietary indulgences, doesn't beat herself up if real life gets in her way, keeps a non-judgmental food diary, and has cultivated a love affair with cooking.
Though I've no doubt she'll have some ups and downs with weight and life in the future (just as I will), I'm not worried about her long term success as the approach she's found that's working for her doesn't involve suffering.