Tips On Balancing Diet and Life So You Always Get Back on The Wagon
You know how it goes. You’re cruising along, following your eating plan, working out — in general, doing everything right. The next thing you know, one slice of pizza turns into six, one scoop of ice cream turns into a pint, and you’re banging your head against the wall asking yourself where you went wrong. What happened to make you fall off the wagon?
The answer is, you didn’t. According to almost any specialist – it’s not really a matter of if but when.
Since falling off the diet wagon is almost a given, what’s important is knowing what to do when it happens. When it comes to maintaining weight loss, people who have developed good relapse skills during the weight-loss process are much more likely to keep the weight off.
Understanding Your Relapse
There are two different kinds of relapses, acute relapse is the first. You went for that extra small cupcake because you ate fine all day. The second, You’re going along fine and then, “you just lose it.” You went full on beast mode. The two leading causes for losing it? You were too strict with yourself or you have a high amount of stress (or both!)
When that happens, it’s important to learn from the experience. Ask yourself what happened. If you don’t recognize what triggered the relapse, you’re more likely to react the same way the next time the situation arises.
Often, new coaching clients or readers tell me how upset they are with themselves that they “failed” yet again. They desperately want to know what it will take to succeed once and for all.
Here are my top 10 tips to help you not only pick yourself up, but to finally become a winner.
1. Be sweetly accepting.
If you ate those no-no foods and ignored your good intentions, now is not the time to beat up on yourself. Instead, use your “falling down” to shower yourself with warmth, sympathy and compassion. Yes, you turned to junk food. Now, graciously accept that reality and get ready to move on.
2. Embrace your humanity.
People who are addicted to sugar or junk food or who often overeat tend to expect themselves to be perfect. Of course, that’s simply not possible. In fact, planning for perfection instead paves the way for a big letdown. So, now that you’ve “fallen,” use this as an opportunity to accept and welcome the fact that you’re human. That means you’ll make “mistakes” or slip from time to time. So what? Admitting your humanity can be quite freeing.
3. Give thanks for your “failure.”
This tip may seem counter intuitive, but I invite you to try to be grateful for your slip. Be thankful that you ate junk foods or fell off the healthy-food wagon. Be appreciative that you behaved in an unloving manner to yourself. Now turn your “failure” into something positive. In other words, take your slip and turn it into a transformational teaching moment.
4. Commit to grow.
Now that you realize the value of your “failure” and how it can become an amazing learning experience, accept that this may be the impetus you needed to finally pick healthy foods on a regular basis or to finally lick your bad habit (what I call a babit™). Now, search inside and commit to do whatever it takes so you can grow to reach your goal.
5. Get going with gusto.
It’s now time to slip on those sneakers (metaphorically and in reality) so you can begin again. After all, don’t you get more excited, impassioned and committed when you begin a project?
6. Watch the horrible outcome of your slip.
At this point, I invite you to study how bad you feel because of your sugar or carb spree or other counter-productive pursuits. For at least four days, keep a diary in which you write down the results of your binge, whether your reactions are emotional, physical or spiritual. Admit how your unhealthy habit is leading to horrible headaches, excessive exhaustion, embarrassing irritability, blowing up at co-workers or annoying “brain fog.” When you dispassionately study yourself in this manner, you’ll easily call to mind these horrible outcomes the next time you’re tempted to veer off the track. In fact, remembering how bad you felt can help you to stay on course next time and conquer your sugar temptation or other bad habit.
7. Dwell on what you really, really, really want.
Now that you’ve accepted your humanity, thanked your failure and observed how your sugar slip harmed you, think about what you want. As fitness instructor Patricia Moreno likes to say likes to recommend, think about what you really want in the depths of your being. In other words, do you really, really, really want to be sugar-free, full of energy, slim, trim, toned, sexy, happier and more enticing to yourself and others? Kicking sugar and eating real food — the kind that grows on trees, pops out of the ground or swims in the ocean — can give you all of that and more. So zero in on the many physical, emotional and spiritual benefits that eating healthy will give you.
8. Create a vision board.
Now that you’ve decided you really, really, really want to go sugar-free or eat healthier foods because of the many benefits, I invite you to actually illustrate your goal. By this, I mean, create a vision board where you paste on photos, words and images that capture what your new, healthier life will look like. You can learn how to do this by reading my Vision Board post from a few months ago. Then, look at your vision board every day and make sure when you look at it that you also relish the glorious feelings that your new, healthier life would give you.
9. Proclaim your freedom.
Now that you’re getting back on track, create one powerful affirmation or mantra and repeat it over and over all day long. You can clean your house or work out while you repeat your affirmation. I like to put a sticky note on my bathroom mirror.
10. Make a pleasing plan.
When starting a healthy diet or new way of eating, it’s always wise to figure out in advance what, when and where you’ll eat. It’s a good idea to choose ample, modest amounts of protein, healthy fats and high-fiber carbs such as vegetables and low-sugar fruits at every snack or meal. So I encourage you now to decide what, when and where you’ll dine or snack tomorrow. Put it in writing. As you begin anew, remind yourself why you’re doing this. Maybe you want to lose weight. You may want to get more energy. Or, you want to have better relationships with your loved ones. You may want to be more productive.
Falling off the wagon happens to everyone The important thing is how you bounce back. Here are some other resources to help out when you fell off the wagon:
Remember, I believe in you – but it’s more important to believe in yourself!