I’m standing on the scale, reading a few pounds heavier, and I am trying to figure out how to do some damage control.
Food, drink and unhealthy choices
The last few weeks seem to have become so packed with things to do that my health and fitness have been put on the back burner. Not only that, but the events that have been keeping me so busy all revolve around food and drinks, and lots of it.
Now, it’s really tempting to either throw my hands up and continue to stay off track, or to start making drastic (bad) changes to counteract the lack of exercise and overconsumption of junk.
Figuring out what to do after a week (or two or three) of unhealthy choices can be really challenging. I thought about some of the mistakes that I have made in the past when I have been feeling bad about my weight or my health.
I decided that it would be helpful for me to lay out some of the positive and negative ways to approach getting back to healthy habits.
Don’t skip meals
It is always so tempting for me to hardly eat anything for a while to try to counter the excess junk that I put into my body.
This is a dangerous road to start heading down though, because it can become more habitual than originally intended and can lead to serious disordered eating tendencies.
Skipping meals to make up for excess unhealthy calories is only depriving your body of the good nutrients, vitamins, and energy that it still needs and while it may seem like a quick solution, it is not worth the harm that it could be causing.
Don’t be negative about myself
I sometimes struggle with giving my current fitness level the power to define my worth. If I find myself in a rut, it can be almost automatic to start telling myself that I am no longer attractive, disciplined, or hardworking.
In these times, I must take control of my thoughts and remind myself that the core of who I am is in no way diminished by my lack of time in the gym or the weight that shows up in the scale.
Life is in a constant ebb and flow, and my character and my identity should be maintained through all of it.
Don’t use excuses to skip exercise
The longer I stay away, the harder it is to get back into my exercise routine.
At the end of a long day it is so easy to tell myself that I am too tired to workout, so I sometimes have to make myself do it anyways!
I get myself to the gym without even letting my mind drift to excuses. Once I’m there and my feet are moving, it’s easier to keep going. I have to set my intention, not let any excuses keep me from my daily walk, fitness class, or my other exercise activities.
. . or overdo exercise
I’ve also tried to make up for my missed workouts by spending way too much time in the gym. I end up exhausted and my body doesn’t have enough time to recover.
I’ve learnt that working out too hard can start to break your body down and leave it incapable of producing enough energy to build muscle, breakdown excess fat, and can start to diminish your cognitive abilities. These things I can do without.
Throw out all the leftover junk
The brownies, chips, soda, and alcohol have to go. It seems like a waste to throw things out, but in order to get back to my healthy habits, I cannot keep those items in my immediate vicinity any longer.
It is too tempting to keep eating and drinking them until they are gone, and it will only delay me from getting back on track.
Load up on veggies and water
Loading up on the healthy snack options means that I’m less tempted to go out to eat or snack on empty calories. I also make sure to drink 3-4 water bottles throughout the day to keep myself feeling fuller, and to flush out my system.
My mind and my body start to feel so much better once I am making healthier choices when it comes to what I am eating and drinking.
Use this time to switch my workout program
This can be a good time to evaluate the current workout program that I am using and decide if a change is needed.
It can be more motivating to get back to my fitness activity when I have something new to look forward to, and I am challenging myself to learn something different. I like to check out new gyms or classes in my area and see if I find something new that I love.
Re-evaluate my goals
Sometimes a downhill slide in my healthy habits can indicate that I have lost sight of the reasons that I chose a healthy lifestyle in the first place. While I have my health and fitness at the forefront of my mind, I make sure that I am setting challenging but reachable goals for myself.
My healthy lifestyle should always be one that enables me to live a happier and more fulfilling life, not one that causes me to feel like I am unable to enjoy my time with friends and loved ones without feeling guilty.
Life is meant to be lived well, and the balance between indulgence and health can be a very satisfying one!