Last week, I received an email from a reader asking for advice on how to get back on track after falling off the healthy-eating-and-exercise wagon. Even though I found my Feel Great Weight several years ago, I still go through periods of super-healthy habits and not-so-healthy habits. I maintain my weight for a few months and feel great, but then fall back into my old habits of overdoing it on desserts and skipping multiple workouts. Slipping up every once in a while isn't a big deal, but the pounds would slowly creep on as soon as I started to veer off course with my eating and exercise.
Here's how I get back on track when my healthy habits start to slip.
Don't dwell on the past
Instead of dwelling on the mistakes I made in the past, I focus on the future. For me, the most important thing to remember is that those pounds gained are not permanent. With some strength, self-discipline, and hard work, they'll come off.
Create a plan of attack
Creating a plan of attack with regard to my eating and exercise routine makes me feel in control. I start by planning my workouts for the week by scheduling them in my calendar. I'll usually pick a couple of group exercise classes at my gym and schedule them like appointments that I cannot miss. Searching for nutritious recipes online and planning a few healthy meals also boosts my motivation to get (and stay!) on track.
Read health blogs for inspiration
When I'd rather sit on the couch than go for a run, I read some of my favorite health blogs for inspiration. I almost always find a recipe, new workout, or some words of advice that make me want to change my tune. Seeing others at their healthiest and happiest motivates me to think back to a time when I felt strong and fit. This always gets my butt in gear!
Make a change now
Instead of waiting to start a diet or new exercise routine on Monday, I make changes right away. I throw on my sneakers for a workout or plan my next meal to include lots of fresh produce, whole grains, and low-fat protein. Jump-starting my motivation right away keeps me from falling further into bad habits that got me off track in the first place.
Weight loss (and even maintenance) includes many ups and downs, so it's easy to forget my successes. Instead of obsessively checking my progress on the scale and realizing it hasn't changed as quickly as I'd like, I focus on the progress I've made off the scale. For instance, I recently have been incorporating more veggies into my meals. I've tried a bunch of new recipes and found easy ways to load up my diet with nutrients. Remembering my successes at times when I need them most gets me back on track (consistency is key!) so I see results.