It’s been one of those days. You have the best intentions, but you just didn’t manage to live up to them today. Or yesterday. Maybe you’ve been struggling to meet your health and fitness goals at all this week, or maybe you’re looking back on the month just gone and wondering where it all went ‘wrong’.
Whether it’s been one meal, or you’ve had a whole month of making less-than-ideal lifestyle choices, I wouldn’t mind betting that you’re beating yourself up about it pretty badly. Am I right?
You might even be starting to question whether you’ve got the necessary will power in you to make the changes you’ve been working towards.
I’m here to remind you that you definitely do.
If one thing’s for sure, this is not the end of the road for your healthy lifestyle. After all, every road has a pothole or a bump or two in it, but it’s just a matter of driving around them, or in some cases getting a helping hand to climb out of them and carrying on along your way.
What is it that’s gone wrong?
Before you can move forward and start dealing with a situation, you need to accept it. Slip ups are all part and parcel of working your way towards a healthier you, but you need to be honest with yourself about what’s standing in your way, and why.
Perhaps this has been going on for a while. you’re having a bit of a self-esteem crisis, and there’s been a lot of negative self-talk going on in your head recently, so that even when you do make the effort to make ‘good’ choices, your internal monologue still berates you for your behaviour.
Perhaps you’ve been making food choices recently that mean you’re not getting the nutrients you need to thrive. Perhaps you’ve found yourself slipping back into your old couch potato ways.
Or perhaps it’s not a long-term pattern, but you’ve just a had a big binge weekend involving large amounts of alcohol and food and very little activity or sleep.
Whatever your slip-up looks like, it’s important to accept it and think carefully about why it’s happened or has been happening.
Have you been stressed at work? Has family life been hectic? Have you had some bad news? Have you been spending more time with particular people, who you’re finding are a bad influence on you? Or did you deciding to let your hair down and have a ‘cheat’ day just get a little out of hand?
Use the time that you would’ve spent beating yourself up to have a think about the reasons behind it all. You might be surprised at the answers.
That done, you’re in the perfect position to use the tips below to help get yourself firmly back on the right track with your health and fitness.
- Put it in perspective
It’s very easy to blow these slip-ups out of all proportion. As I mentioned above, your mind might even try and convince you that this is proof that there’s no point in you even trying, as you’re bound to fail. Rather than letting that become the narrative that you’re telling yourself and letting it take over, put the hiccup firmly in perspective.
Focus on how far you’ve come since you embarked on your journey to a healthier lifestyle. I’m willing to bet that even what you now see as a bad month is a significant improvement on your lifestyle in the past.
- Set yourself up for success in the coming days and weeks
Now that you’re determined to get back on the straight and narrow, it’s time to do everything you can to make that as easy as possible.
Plan out your week in advance, scheduling in plenty of exercise sessions. Hit the supermarket and buy the ingredients you need to meal prep for the week, so that nutritious meals are just ready and waiting for you at the end of the day. Buy healthy snacks to take to work with you.
Ring your friend and suggest that the two of you meet up to go for a walk rather than for your normal trip to the pub.
Basically, get organised. If you know that you tend to eat badly when you’re tired, organise your time to prioritise a solid eight hours of sleep. If you know that when your stress levels go through the roof exercise is the first thing that you stop doing, then commit to exercising with a friend so that you can’t get out of it.
Admit to yourself what it is that you need it order to live the life you’re aiming for and organise your life to make achieving that as easy as possible.
- Do things you love, and eat things you enjoy
The reason why you fell off the fitness bandwagon, however briefly, might have been because you just weren’t doing it right. Some people think that exercise has to be painful and unpleasant. They’re under the impression that ‘healthy’ food can’t be tasty. Neither of those things are true.
Start rethinking your approach. If you don’t like the kind of exercise you’ve been doing, try something else. There are an infinite number of ways in which you can move your body, and you need to find one, or a couple, that put a smile on your face. Dance, skip, climb, frolic… do whatever makes you happy. The more outside the box the better.
It’s the same story when it comes to food. Healthy shouldn’t mean tasteless. Healthy doesn’t mean counting calories. Healthy doesn’t mean never feeling full. Nourish yourself with filling foods, preferably largely plant based. Fill your plates with your favourite fruit and vegetables, and don’t be afraid to try new ones. Look around for new recipes. Experiment. Eat well in all senses of the word.
If you enough of the right foods and focus on incredible flavours, then you’ll soon find you’re no longer craving all those junk foods you once lived off.
If you don’t make your new habits enjoyable ones, with exercise you love and food you can’t wait to eat, then slip-ups are going to be inevitable.
- Indulge in a little self-care
You and your body need to get back to being on good terms with one another again. You’ve probably been resenting it a little recently. So, it’s time to be nice to yourself.
Take some down time to get your head together and your thoughts in order. Take a long, leisurely walk somewhere beautiful. Take a bath. Do a relaxed yoga session. Treat yourself to a face mask.
Whatever it is that your body is telling you it needs, whether gentle exercise, relaxation or nourishing food, give it to it, and start learning to treat yourself well again.
Do you tend to beat yourself up over small failures? Or have you found a way to put small bumps in the road in perspective? Your experiences could well help someone else going through the same thing, so I’d love it if you’d share them in the comments below.