Do you ever want to just throw in the towel? Do you ever start on a ‘diet’ or exercise plan and feel really good for a week, a month, and then have an off day and throw in the towel?
You get off track and have too much chocolate, cake, or don’t exercise for two days, then a dialogue begins in your head starting with, ‘Well, I already failed, so why bother, why not just give up?
I get it. Really I do. You may think that since I don’t have a story to tell of a dramatic weight loss or lifestyle change, I couldn’t possibly know how you feel.
Actually, I’ve had people say that to me. Since I’m not overweight and I exercise regularly, I couldn’t possibly know the challenges of making a significant lifestyle change. You would be half right. I don’t know what it’s like to be facing down a 40-pound weight loss, or having to force myself to move when I have been doing so for my entire adult life.
That doesn’t mean I don’t understand what it TAKES, and what it feels like to have a day where I Just don’t want to! I just don’t WANT to exercise; I JUST WANT TO STUFF MYSELF WITH FOOD THAT I KNOW ISNT GOOD FOR ME!
I do get it. Just ask my husband. He knows these moments. We still talk about the great Ghirardelli ice cream sundae moment of 2012.
When I first moved in with him, he brought me a huge ice cream sundae (that I asked for!) loaded with everything you can imagine on top. I mean the thing was a giant chocolate vat! (And trust me, I’m not scared to eat.) After I scarfed down the entire thing — it was HUGE, and really good! I instantly regretted it, and I let the poor guy know. I’m fairly certain he is still hesitant to bring home ice cream if I request it. Not my proudest moment.
I have clients tell me all of the time that they ate a cupcake this week, or ate like crap, and you can hear in their voice they are ashamed, embarrassed, feeling guilty. I’m here to tell you that it DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY.
After the sundae moment, I recovered fairly quickly, because I had tools and the skills to move on from it. I let myself be ok with my decision and continued down my path of eating well most of the time.
So no, it’s not always easy for me. I overeat, I under-move all the time! I still have moments where I beat myself up for falling off track. But that IS WHAT MAKES US HUMAN. We are NOT perfect nor should we try to be. This is a learning process.
It’s about learning the tools to move forward, as well as understanding yourself. If you learn the tools, the next time you have a moment like mine, you can accept it, own it, and even be happy about it. Yes, I said HAPPY!
Here are 3 professional tips on how to move on after ‘falling off the wagon’
UNDERSTAND THAT LIFE, AND HEALTH, IS NOT BLACK AND WHITE
There is a lot of grey area in there. There is no such thing as perfect. And this is why diets don’t work. They don’t allow us to enjoy some of the foods that we love and are too restrictive. Next time you overindulge, or make a choice you are less than happy with, remember that it is important to eat food you enjoy once in awhile, and doing so occasionally is not a bad thing, but a good thing. It allows you to stop seeing food as the enemy, but something to enjoy on occasion. Then forgive yourself, remember you are human, and commit to making a better choice next time. We live in a world programed to diet, but remember diets set us up to fail. Once we get out of the diet mentality, food all of a sudden isn’t the enemy.
PUT THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE
So you missed a workout, or ate something you regret? Ask yourself one question: What is the worst thing that is going to come from that one action, or lack of? Be honest, and make a list. I bet that list is very small, as the consequences of a small action are very rarely lasting. Instead of asking yourself this question, do you call yourself a failure and stop trying? I see this all the time but it’s important to remember that it is normal to indulge occasionally and to put it into perspective when you do.
CHECK IN WITH YOURSELF
When you overindulge or skip a workout, check in with yourself. Ask yourself how that choice made you feel physically AND emotionally. Are you reacting emotionally and feeling negative towards yourself, but haven’t assessed how you really feel, and why? If you can get into the habit of assessing how your actions make you feel on a regular basis, you may start realizing that making the positive choice actually make you happier, and the negative choice just isn’t worth it.
Life shouldn’t be once big rice cake and treadmill. Who the heck wants to live like that? I certainly still eat ice cream sundaes, and even occasionally overdo it. I have just learned how do it with a smile on my face.
Originally published at medium.com