Having what you perceive as a bad day of eating or missing a scheduled workout can sometimes be a fatal blow to your health and fitness routines. Perhaps you accidentally ate more at a meal than you had planned to, you didn’t make the healthiest food choices, or you slept in instead of working out. Things like this can make you feel like you “fell off the wagon”, and since you fell off, there’s no sense in getting back on.
1. THERE IS NO WAGON. When it comes to our health and fitness behaviors we sometimes have an “all or none” attitude. We have to be perfect, or throw all caution to the wind. When you have just one bad day at work do you quit your job? No – you stick with it and know tomorrow is another day with new opportunities. What you did or didn’t do yesterday should have no bearing on what you do today. The only thing that exists is the present moment and every day offers you a chance to make a positive choice about how you’ll eat and exercise.
2. YOUR NEXT MEAL IS YOUR NEXT OPPORTUNITY. Instead of saying “forget it, I blew it, I might was well go for broke” after a negative food event and then eating whatever you want in whatever portions for the rest of the day or week, look at your next meal or snack as your opportunity to immediately get back on track. Why wait until tomorrow? Start right away.
3. WORK HARDER OR LONGER DURING YOUR NEXT WORKOUT. Make up for that missed workout by increasing the intensity during your next workout or plan to exercise a little longer that you normally do. You can also add an extra workout to your schedule to make up for the one you skipped. Even if you don’t completely make up for it, it’s better to do something than nothing.
4. DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP. Research shows when we don’t feel good about ourselves we actually make worse decisions when it comes to taking care of our bodies. Negative thoughts and emotions can permeate all aspects of your life and rarely inspire positive actions. Recognize the fact you didn’t do what you had planned, and then move on. Move on! Shift to a positive state by acknowledging all the good things you have successfully done. Perhaps you’ve switched to low-fat dairy products, quit smoking, or started walking on a regular basis.
5. RE-COMMIT. Take a good look at why you’re trying to make behavior changes. For most people trying to lose weight is not a fail proof, long-term motivator. What will keep you on track for the long-term despite the many challenges you face is to connect your desired behaviors with something more meaningful. It may be to have more energy for your loved ones. It might be an expression of your values. Perhaps you want to take the best care of yourself to ensure you can take care of others for the longest time possible.