We’ve all been there. You’re doing great…drinking water, taking supplements, squeezing in your exercise sessions, working on your evening routine and then…THE BOTTOM FALLS OUT. You end up eating WAY too much or giving in to the junk food in the breakroom or drinking too much at the after-hours event or staying up half the night scrolling through social media…you get the idea.
At this point, you may feel like you have failed, or perhaps lost all the ground you had worked so hard to gain. Or maybe you’re left exhausted with no will to fight for your health today. Ugh, all that hard work (and time and money invested), out the window, right? Not so fast.
Take a deep breath. It’s going to be okay. You just need a plan. Here goes.
Don’t panic. First, it’s highly unlikely that you’ve really ruined all the progress you’ve made, but even if you did, it would likely come back faster than it came to you before. So, for example, if you worked hard all week to lose 2 lbs but gained it all back over the weekend, it won’t probably take you ALL of next week to get back to that point. Because during that week, you didn’t just burn calories, you also created HABITS. Those habits are part of your neural networks now. Plus, remember that you only fail if you fail to learn. Which takes us to the next step…
Spend a few minutes journaling to help you understand what happened, how it happened and why it happened.
Some sample questions to think through. How do I feel after this set back? Why did this happen? What could I do next time to be better prepared? What were you wanting? Go deep on this one. You might say, “I was wanting to eat junk food”…okay, but why? In other words, why that food and why today? Were you extra tired? Bored? Upset/angry/frustrated? This can help you identify triggers. For example, let’s say you overate late into the evening even though you have committed to a feeding window that ends at 5pm. Through the journaling, you may have found you were just exhausted because you were up too late the previous night. Knowing that being tired makes it harder for you to stay on track, you can recognize that the action plan would be to work on optimizing your sleep habits (rather than trying to white knuckle the diet). Had you not been tired, you’d have likely stayed on track. Hopefully you get the idea.
You may find you skip your workout, or overeat, or stay up too late etc when you’re stressed or lonely or overwhelmed. Knowledge is power. In this case, knowing the why will help you build a better plan to keep moving toward your goal.
One more tip about journaling…you will get SO much more out of it if you actually write out the questions and answers (rather than just read through and think about them).
For an added bonus and greater discovery, share what you found with a trusted friend, family member or person on your health team.
With the above information in mind (DO NOT SKIP STEP #2), get back on track in a more powerful way. Here’s another example: Let’s say your main goal right now is to exercise 5 days/week. You’ve been doing great for 3 weeks and this week you only got in 1 session. You’re frustrated, irritated and feel like “what’s the point”. But after you journal, you realize that you have been running every day because that’s what your roommate does but as you evaluate, you realize that you LOVE to bike but don’t really love to run so it’s becoming more and more difficult to stay motivated. Your new program might still be to exercise 5 days/week but the more powerful part would include more biking and less, if any, running.
(By the way, A study done on over 200 people in 2021 found that there were 2 factors that were most impactful when it comes to sticking to their exercise programs: doing something they LOVE and having social support).1 So maybe we can add to the journal questions: how can you make your program more fun, enjoyable or adventurous? And, what can you do to improve your social support?
Drink your water, go for an extra walk, take your supplements, eat your vegetables etc…but do it with renewed joy knowing you are more informed going forward. Don’t not bring yesterday’s fear, frustration or condemnation into your renewed plan for today!
Patch yourself up! As part of your plan to move forward, take a moment or an hour or a day to evaluate what you need, overall or maybe just due to your “bender”. Are you sore? Maybe you need an Epsom salt bath. Have you been binging on caffeine and sugar? Maybe you need a nap and an early bedtime. Did you eat something toxic that is making you feel nauseous? Open a capsule of Medi-Clay into ½ cup of water and drink it. Did you drink too much? B vitamins, sleep and LOTS of water (because the solution to pollution is dilution). Are you totally depleted because you’ve skipped your smoothie for a couple of days? Go make one now, even if it’s not your normal smoothie time.
Whatever you do, don’t keep doing the same thing and expecting a different result (the very definition of insanity).
If you have done these 4 steps and are still stuck, get help! Your life, family and calling are too important to have you stuck and not feeling strong, healthy and empowered.
One more thing that can be helpful is to submerse yourself for a few days into really good content that will help you stay the course. That could include reading books like, Get Healthy Now or The Quantum Weight Loss Blueprint or checking out some of our favorite blogs such as 9 Simple Ways to Increase Your Water Intake, Reasons to Avoid Processed Foods, How to Stay Healthy in Social Settings. Things like this will help you stay informed and inspired to keep moving forward.
You’ve got this! Don’t hesitate to reach out if you need to get in for some specific help! It’s what we are here for!
1. Gjestvang C, Abrahamsen F, Stensrud T, Haakstad LAH. What Makes Individuals Stick to Their Exercise Regime? A One-Year Follow-Up Study Among Novice Exercisers in a Fitness Club Setting. Front Psychol. 2021. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2021.638928
Nothing said or implied in this post is intended to treat, cure, diagnose or prevent any disease. It does not take the place of a qualified health care practitioner and is intended for educational purposes only.