Oops! You Cheated Again….
How to get back on track after a fitness lapse!
You are on a mission. Your fitness goals are set and you are determined to achieve them. You are making healthier eating choices and exercising consistently. You are creating habits, which you can maintain for the rest of your life. You are making progress and see the results. Your body composition is starting to change, people are starting to give you compliments, you are on the fit track and you have no intention of derailing. Then it happens…… A meal out with friends, a vacation, a birthday or holiday, busy days at work, busy days at home, stress adds up and old obstacles which stood in your path in the past start to rear their ugly heads. Before you know it you have lost sight of your ultimate motivation, your focus wanes and old habits start to creep in. A missed workout here, an unhealthy food choice there… Oops you cheated again.
Now before you let the guilt eat you alive, or throw in the towel on trying to lead a fit and healthy lifestyle, let’s take a look at the positive side. Lapses in eating and exercise routines are totally NORMAL! Everyone experiences them at one point or another. Nobody is perfect, but those who are successful at attaining their fitness goals understand that when you have lapses in your routine, all is not lost. Each day is a new beginning and an opportunity to make the right choices. If you find that you have “cheated” for one day… two days… a week… or even a month, recognize that all is not lost and as long as you are still living and breathing you have the chance to start fresh with the new day.
Lapses in behavior oftentimes creep up on us. You may not even recognize that the consistency of your nutrition or training has been slipping until the scale starts steadily going up, and your clothes start fitting a little tighter, or you realize you aren’t as strong or energetic anymore. It just didn’t seem like a big deal to gradually slip back into old behavioral patterns.
When you realize that you have lapsed, the most important thing to do is recognize it, get focused and get back on track.
What caused you to stray from your healthy behaviors? Take some time and reflect on when your lapse began. What were the obstacles that caused you to stumble off the fit path? The only way to overcome these obstacles is to identify them now and develop a strategy for overcoming them if they ever try to hold you back again. Remember what your ultimate motivators are. Why are you trying to transform your body or life? Why did you start making healthy changes to your lifestyle to begin with? Was it to be healthier or reduce your risk of disease? Was it to have renewed confidence and be able to wear “cute” clothes? Perhaps your motivation is to compete or to be a positive healthy example for your children or spouse. Remind yourself of how amazing it will feel to achieve your fitness goals. How much better you will look and feel, and how you will even be increasing the quantity and quality of your life!
One reason people lapse back to old habits is because they feel like they have to be completely perfect with their eating in order to be successful. If your goals are to get lean, lose some unwanted fat and get that body into swimsuit shape don’t sabotage yourself with the pressure of thinking your nutrition has to be perfect 100% of the time. Think of it this way. You are allowed to have special treats and cheats, but you choose to limit the amount of “cheats” that you indulge in. I encourage you to use the 80/20 rule. Meaning, 80% of the time your diet consists of healthy, wholesome and nutritious foods, 20% of the time there is room for treats (not overindulgences, just foods that would not be considered staples of your healthy nutrition plan).
Another trigger for behavior lapses is exercise burn out, or not being able to put in the gym time that you thought would be possible. Guess what. Your workouts don’t have to be perfect all the time either! Don’t get frustrated and give up just because you couldn’t make it to the gym in time to get an hour workout, or quit because you had a low energy day and don’t feel like you got anything accomplished.
If you do have a day when you know you’ll be crunched for time, find little things to do throughout the day which will help you burn up some extra calories. If you don’t have time for an hour workout, schedule in 10-15 minutes of mini workouts during your day. If you only have 15 minutes in your day to get your exercise in – kick it up a notch! Why not try a quick high intensity circuit to get your heart pumping and the calories burning? Every little bit counts, whether it is taking the stairs, parking farther away from the grocery store or doing stationary lunges while waiting for the photo copy machine!
If you are feeling low energy focus on getting your workout started. Tell yourself that you only have to do your cardio for 10 minutes rather than focusing on 30-45. I’m willing to bet that once you are warmed up and going you will go longer than your planned 10 minutes!
The most important message for you to take from this is article is this. Don’t give up! Don’t dwell on the past. Maybe you cheated on your nutrition plan, skipped some workouts, or maybe you have had a serious lapse in your healthy behaviors. Beating yourself up isn’t the answer and it isn’t going to get you any closer to achieving your fitness goals. What will help you is to start fresh, focus on the present and the future. What can you today in order to get you one step closer to achieving fitness success?
Diana Chaloux and Micah LaCerte
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Life Coaching, Nutrition