Not long ago I attended my granddaughter’s first-grade spelling bee.  WhatFacebook - Spelling Bee - Cover-01

started off as an age-old grade school event, turned into one where an important secret of successful weight loss was revealed.

“How could that be?” you ask.  Let me start by telling you what happened.

The Spelling Bee

The classroom was packed.  Eager spellers filled the rows of their first grade-sized chairs in the middle of the room, while the parents and grandparents perched on the first grade-sized chairs that lined the perimeter.

With each new round, the spellers lined up single file.  One by one, they stepped to the front and gave it their best shot.

Having survived the first four rounds, Jilly was one of five remaining children.  Standing tall, she patiently awaited her next word.

Center.  She sat in the center of the room.  Center.”

She stared straight ahead, but didn’t speak.

And then she did.

“I don’t know that word.”

“If you did know it, how would you spell it?” said the first-grade teacher, who clearly knew how to coach a struggling seven-year-old.

Fidget. Fidget.


Then silence.  She just stood there, staring off into space for what seemed like forever.

As the seconds ticked on, I tried to imagine what was going on inside her head.

Perhaps her Canadian family genes were scrambling her center into centre and she needed to do a quick translation 

Maybe she was dreaming about her next sidewalk chalk mural and wasn’t even thinking about spelling.

Maybe she was wrestling with self-defeating thoughts such as: “I suck at spelling.  Why did I enter this dumb spelling bee?  All the other kids spell better than me.  I’m never doing this again.”

Maybe she just didn’t know the word.

Before I could complete my list of possibilities, she spoke.

“C-e-n———t—–e—r.  Center.”

Without waiting for confirmation, she returned to her chair and sat down.  She knew she’d nailed it.

Her confidence restored, she went on to win second place and was awarded a beautiful red ribbon. 

I may never know what Jilly was thinking during those long moments of silence.  What I do know is that even though she got stuck, she didn’t give up.  With some extra focus and a little fortitude, she found her center 

It was a small, but important victory.

 Now, onto the secret…

Unlike a spelling bee, weight loss takes place over the course of months and years.  It is the ultimate in endurance events.  But like a spelling bee, there will be times when you will get stuck.  In these challenging moments, you have two choices—continue or quit.

However tempting it may be to throw in the towel and return to old habits, doing so makes it less likely that you will reach your weight and health goals. 

Those who are successful at weight loss have one thing in common—they never give up. 

Just as Jilly did, they are able to endure the challenges that arise with each new round.  That doesn’t mean that they don’t get distracted or puzzled or frustrated or think about quitting.  It means that in the face these challenges, they stay with it and work it through.

Each time you choose to continue, it is a small, but important victory.  Each and every victory builds your confidence, which leads to w-e-i-g-h-t  l-o-s-s.

The secret to successful weight loss is to never give up.

Actions to take the next time you feel like giving up:

  • Believe in yourself and seek the support of others who believe in you too.
  • Find your center, and then begin again.
  • Refuse to accept your self-defeating thoughts.  Notice them and then let them go.
  • Focus on all the things you are doing well.

I’d like to hear about your experiences with continuing when you felt like quitting.  I invite you to share them here.