Picture this. You’ve conquered clean eating, exercise, and mindfulness. You’re feeling like a rockstar and then some. Like you could take on the world, no problem. Then …
LIFE happens and, let’s be honest, gets in the way. Sigh.
Something derails you, or maybe someone. Whatever the reason, you slowly find yourself back at “square one” having “fallen off the wagon”. Again. To make matters worse, you’re hit with a trifecta of emotions like shame, guilt, and self-hatred (with the punishment and restrictions to go with).
Whether you simply had a nibble of something or a full-blown day of all-you-can-eat bliss (which, ironically, leads to less physical activity), check out our top 5 tips for giving yourself some grace and moving on with your nutrition and fitness – confidence intact!
Tip #1: Accept that you’re human.
Yup, you! It’s no secret that perfection doesn’t exist, so why do you act like the world has ended when you “mess up”? This only leads to self-despair, self-loathing and worst of all self-sabotage. It’s when you ACCEPT the moment, the “slip up” the whatever you want to call it, and embrace the very next moment, can you then learn to let go and accept your humanness. Feelings of guilt do nothing for you. Instead, step back and observe yourself. Ask yourself things like:
Why did I make this decision?
Did I get the outcome I was seeking?
Moving forward, how can I avoid this in the future?
Was it worth it?
These questions are NOT meant to inspire guilt. Quite the opposite! Being MINDFUL is all about being the observer from the outside looking in rather than getting caught up in the moment and getting emotional. This applies to more than just food. When you step back and observe, you detach from the emotion and look at things objectively.
Tip #2: Write it out.
Journaling; it’s often used in a therapeutic setting to open your mind to new possibilities. If you don’t think it’s powerful, start journaling for 30 days – then, stop, and watch the impact it has on your ability to navigate tough situations. Journaling topics that can help as it relates to your health include:
List of how you feel after a great workout
Your favorite healthy foods
Your top workout playlist
List of the ways exercise improves your life
Triggers for “falling off the wagon” and how to navigate them
Writing as yourself in the future when you’ve stuck to the plan – how do you feel?
Top 5 things you can do to be ready for an AM sweat sesh
What you love about your workouts
Non Scale Victories
Tip #3: Ask yourself: are my emotions tied up in this?
Often times, the decisions we make that sabotage us are to solve a perceived problem. Things like stress, sadness, anxiety, depression – to name a few – are “solved” with a sugar binge or Netflix and chill marathon instead of a trusty workout. Food, for one, is a super emotional rollercoaster. It literally does things to our hormones and makes us feel different things – the high and then eventual low. What’s worse, companies know this and literally develop their products to create this dependency. So if you think it’s just you, it’s not. You’re part of a bigger system that needs you to stay addicted because this equals profit.
The key to moving on is to A) realize this and then B) start detaching emotion from your decisions. Be it food or that workout you missed (again), step back and think objectively. Eating healthy literally nourishes your body and adds years to your life, as do regular workouts. These are good and valuable things we should cherish. These are things we should make non-negotiable no matter the season or emotion. In fact, when the going gets tough, sometimes an amazing workout is really all you need (and didn’t know it until you were done and enjoying that post-sweat endorphin glow).
Learning to step back and think objectively is the key to your longevity and escaping the mental prison of “I should have done the [insert healthy habit here] but didn’t…”. Make healthy habits an item on your to-do list and calendar that just get done – no matter what. Situations and emotions notwithstanding.
Tip #4: Embrace the habit formation period. And no, it’s not 21 days.
There’s something amazing about infants. Their tenacity and sheer will are impressive. Take walking for example. Fall they may, but get up they must. Triumphantly, until eventually they’re walking right into the loving arms of their doting parents. For them, failure is not an option. This instinctual drive to just keep going gets lost as we age. Obligations and stress get in the way of our once utterly determined selves. Cathartic tendencies creep in and we accept the status quo as doctrine for our lives. We accept mediocrity. We can always change. Someday.
But here’s the thing … and we know you’ve heard it before but … life is REALLY short. Seriously. When you think about how many years you actually have to live and embrace everything around you, it can be sad to think how much we miss waiting for the “right time” or “Monday”.
Part of your journey is embracing it as a journey. Not a stop and start. To begin forming a solid habit it takes 21 days. But oh no, you’re not in the clear just yet – for it to solidify further, we’re talking a minimum of 60+ days. Hopefully, this answers that age-old question of “Why can’t I seem to make a habit stick after the magical 21 days rule?” Because that’s simply not realistic. Think of the habits you’d like to change as a deeply rooted tree; layers and layers to unravel. To think that three weeks will magically cause a 100% shift, an uproar for lifelong change is simply not realistic.
So, breathe a sigh of relief. Know that you’re not a failure because you didn’t dominate those bad habits in a magical 21-day window. Keep going, keep conquering, and watch your journey become pleasurable and full of growth and change, instead of a mental and emotional prison.
Tip #5: Embrace PERSPECTIVE.
Think of the micro changes that will soon lead to MACRO results. The compound effect. Little by little, small habit by small habit, you start to shift – but then a loss in perspective makes you forget how far you’ve come.
Ever heard the phrase “I wish I was as skinny as I was when I thought I was fat?”
Over time, you become used to your new normal and establish a different baseline. This causes you to forget how much progress has been made. This is also what leads to a feeling of defeat and failure despite all of your amazing accomplishments.
So, you didn’t avoid that slice of cake at the dinner party last night. Oh, and you may have coupled it with a glass of wine or two. But what used to be a daily thing, has now become an at-dinner-with-friends-once-a-month thing. In other words, you get so caught up in your momentary “slip” that you forget the progress you’ve made. The weight that’s been lost, the myriad of non-scale victories … whatever success looks like for your unique journey.
Don’t lose perspective. Don’t forget to appreciate everything on your journey and really take it all in. Establishing new healthy baselines is fine, but don’t let them override your sense of accomplishment and determination. Stop to smell the roses instead of hustling past them in an attempt to finally be happy. You can be happy now. You can be successful now. You can enjoy your journey, now. You’ve just got to keep your perspective intact and celebrate the small wins like they’re going out of style.
Do you struggle with “falling off the wagon” and feeling like you have to constantly start over? Share with us in the comments, something that’s helped you overcome this way of thinking. Or, if you’re still struggling, share that too so we can provide some helpful tips!
Last but certainly not least, if you’re looking for a killer new year jumpstart for mindset, goal setting, and mindful weight loss – make sure you get on the waiting list here for Season 13 of our Get Fit Challenge including our wildly popular Cleanse30 nutrition program. In 2018 we’ll be switching things up and offering different nutrition approaches every season to keep your body guessing in addition to a host of other goodies. Can’t wait to inspire you! Get on the waiting list here.
About Inspired Wellness
We are a wellness movement aimed at cultivating greatness in all areas of life. We believe that everything is connected and that having the body of your dreams shouldn’t come at the price of your mental and emotional health. You CAN have it all; you just need some determination, grit and the desire to truly change your life!
Catch us locally in sunny Sacramento CA inspiring lives at our wellness center with fitness, nutrition and lifestyle programs, or online doing the same thing with our new online training site + community coming soon!
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