One of the biggest reasons why people fall off their fitness journey is because they expect perfection and quick results. They set goals that are too far out of reach and then get discouraged when they don’t meet them. They have off days and convince themselves they’ve blown it. Guess what? These hurdles are inevitable and are just as significant of a part of the journey as the positive things. It’s how you deal with the bad days that determine whether you will succeed or fail.
So how do you get back on track after the holidays or after you’ve fallen off your normal routine? I challenge you to think about and apply the following to your own life, habits, and mindset:
#1.) It’s important to realize that you won’t gain weight quickly, just like you won’t lose weight quickly. It takes years of continually eating in a caloric surplus to put on a significant amount of weight. The weight will be put on slowly, much like the process of losing fat. If you feel like you’ve gained 10 pounds after a week-long vacation, it’s likely due to other things such as bloating and digestion issues. So remember that even though you may feel terrible, it’s only temporary until you get back on your normal schedule. Once you start exercising regularly and eating your normal foods again, your digestion will fall back into place and bye-bye bloating!
#2.) Don’t compensate by going to extremes. If you’ve taken some time off from the gym, don’t punish yourself with hours of cardio. If you’ve overeaten, don’t starve yourself. Simply get back to your normal routine and in a day or two you will be right back to where you left off. Falling into patterns of no exercise to long, intense training sessions will likely result in a negative relationship between you and exercise.
#3.) Don’t fall into patterns of overeating and undereating. This will result in your metabolism slowing down and becoming inefficient. Your health is a product of your overall, cumulative habits. And you won’t find sustainability in phases of binging and starving.
#4.) Don’t convince yourself you’ve blown it. YOU DID NOT BLOW IT! This is the worst kind of mindset to have. The 100%-all-in kind of attitude isn’t a bad thing, however, when you do inevitably get off track, it’s more difficult to reason with yourself. Everyday is a fresh start. You don’t need a new day to restart, but often times each morning can feel as such. The morning is when your motivation is at its highest and the tone for the day is set by your attitude. Wake up and get back to your normal, healthy lifestyle. Leave your discouragement and guilt in the past and focus on the present.
#5.) Embrace your imperfections. It’s a lifestyle. Realize that you’re human; you’re not perfect and neither will your fitness journey. By human nature, you will have bad days, unmotivated days, days when you skip the gym or eat everything in sight. So when these things happen, embrace it. Enjoy time away from the gym. Enjoy all the extra treats. These hurdles will pop up, so why not enjoy it?
#6.) Make sure your goals are realistic. If your goals are too extreme, it may cause you to become discouraged if you don’t meet them. Set smaller, more attainable goals for yourself to start with, so you can celebrate your milestones along the way to your ultimate end goal.
Remember, in this healthy lifestyle you lead, you must leave room for enjoyment and indulging in things that aren’t considered “healthy”. For both your mental and physical health, you need to create healthy habits that you enjoy in order for it to be sustainable. Every action you make is a chance to get back on track and headed in the healthiest direction. You can do it!