Motivation Articles

How to Exercise Your Resiliency Muscle

6 Ways to Deal with the Ups and Downs of Weight Loss (without Giving Up)

I sat listening quietly to the women in my monthly weight-loss support group talk amongst themselves over the conference line. Marge was sharing how happy she was to be back to her regular daily walks after months of being derailed by her broken ankle. She was sad that five pounds had crept back on but felt determined and ready to get back down to her pre-injury weight. "You can do it!" Sue cheered, "I remember you gained 20 pounds the year your mom passed away, but you got back down to maintenance. If you can take off 20 pounds, five will be a walk in the park." 
Every month, the group members reconnect to swap stories, support one another, and share anything new they have learned in the field of weight loss to help them continue their journeys. Some are maintaining at their goal weight; others are still looking to pare down. They range in age and life experiences, but what they all have in common is resiliency. Each one of them has experienced setbacks, and not a single woman has given up! 
There are a lot of personal strengths that are helpful for achieving permanent weight loss: determination, perseverance, self-discipline, even organizational skills. However, the one strength I believe to be vital is resiliency.
Resiliency is the capacity of humans to come out of extreme shock, damage, injury and trauma and get back to normal life. However, Robert Brooks, author of The Power of Resilience, feels that we should not foster a resilient mindset just to safeguard against the possibility of unfathomable crisis and tragedy. His research has led him and others to believe that a resilient mindset will help us handle even the "minor" setbacks, disappointments and problems of ordinary living.
Another author and researcher in the field of developing resiliency is Emily Werner. She states, "Resilience reflects the concept of 'reserve capacity.' It helps us prepare for future adversity and enables the potential for change and continued personal growth."
I particularly like this concept as it relates to permanent weight loss, which requires adjustments to one's habits and lifestyle. Many who achieve and maintain their weight-loss goals report that they have changed not only in body size but also in mental toughness, finding strength, perseverance, and determination they didn't know they had—and developing, sometimes for the first time in their lives, the inner belief that they can succeed at whatever they put their mind to. Along with weight-loss success came increased confidence and self-esteem, not necessarily because of their new body, but because of their success at reaching a goal.
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About The Author

Ellen Goldman Ellen Goldman
Ellen Goldman has bachelor's and master's degrees in health and physical education. An AFAA-certified personal trainer and certified wellness coach, she is also the founder EnerG Coaching, LLC. Through one-on-one and group sessions, Ellen helps individuals make positive lifestyle changes, lose weight, manage stress and attain work-life balance. Visit her at

Member Comments

  • I've read this article too before, but just having broken MY ankle a week ago, the first paragraph spoke to me. Looking forward to when I can resume my long walks, but in the meantime I'm doing chair exercises and trying to do as much as I can until then. Making an effort to concentrate on eating properly so hoping when the cast comes off I won't have too many gained pounds to take off again - even better if I actually manage to LOSE a few! - 6/15/2014 11:21:13 AM
    I had surgery 1 1/2 weeks ago for a skiing injury to my ankle, so I was hooked on the first paragraph. In addition, I just recovered from a 3-day virus, so I've been very inactive.
    Without my cast, I was able to get on the scale yesterday and learned I'd gained 2 pounds. Not a lot, but better to address it now than later.
    I'm limited in what I can do, but Coach Nicole has videos for upper body exercises that I just did, with a lot of effort. I plan to do a second video later in the day, and then continue doing them daily until I'm able to move around more. Thanks so much for the great article - it was very timely for me! - 2/22/2014 10:58:14 AM
  • I have read this article before, but it now relates to me more then ever. - 2/22/2014 10:09:03 AM
  • Wow! This is a wonderful article--so complete and told me so many good things I needed to hear RIGHT NOW! THANK YOU!!!! - 2/22/2014 3:29:28 AM
  • VKELLY77
    In 2010 I lost 35 pounds and kept it off until a knee injury last year. Now I've gained 22 back and after rehab and my own inaction, I've decided to get back on track. For me, this article is right on time. - 9/18/2013 7:05:20 AM
  • the six points for resilience are so apt! - 9/17/2013 6:58:00 PM
  • Great article, and I agree all the way around, but the video advertisement makes my page load really slow. I wonder if a lot of people are missing great information because they give up and x out? - 9/17/2013 4:18:32 PM
    This article came at just the right time for me! I'm going to share this with my friends who, like me, have given up trying to loose weight. Thank you for the great advice! - 9/17/2013 10:43:08 AM

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