There are certain times of year when, even with the best of intentions, your diet and lifestyle slide. It happens. Much more important than the act of sin itself, however, is what you do next. So before you reach for the next ‘forbidden fruit’, read on and try these 6 practical ways to move forward.
I always struggled to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle. I am an awful culprit for binge eating and have a very guilty sweet tooth, meaning that when I start, I often can’t stop!
What will always save us is our motivations. The key comes in finding the right kind of motivation that will work for YOU as an individual. You might think that a desire to look great in your summer bikini will work, or losing weight or a dress size, and maybe it will, but often goals like these are too disconnected from the immediate rewards you gain from a quick treat or the preference of a warm duvet over a run in the cold and dark.
The motivation that worked for me, after years of ‘trying to be good’, wasn’t a particular size, weight or fitness goal, but a health goal. More than anything else, I found that really wanting to only eat things that I knew would promote my health and NOT disease was something I could stick to. Instead of thinking ‘one treat won’t exactly make me put on weight’ I started thinking ‘this thing is really bad for me and is more likely to make me ill – it’s not worth it’.
Despite all this, I still have moments…or days…of sin. I know what my weaknesses are and although I mostly avoid them altogether it doesn’t mean that they have disappeared.
I’ll save more prevention tips for another time (although several of the tips below can be turned around to work preventatively) because what I want to equip you with now is some tips on what to do if it happens. Without these, one act of sin can easily turn into many.
1. Let it go
When that feeling of guilt comes, whether it’s before, during or after eating a naughty treat or missing your planned fitness session, the most important thing is to accept it. We are all human and, although we’d like to minimise the frequencies of these situations, we should realise that we are blessed to have choices. Every day we are making decisions about the way to act and it is inevitable that sometimes we will make a decision that we may later realise was not the best one. Not hanging on to the guilt can help you to move on and avoid it leading to further dubious decisions.
2. Be conscious
Once you’ve decided to bend or break your own health rules, take a moment to think about it. Don’t try to pretend it never happened or bury your head in the sand. Think about it and decide why it’s making you feel guilty, or maybe even unwell. Consider why you did it and maybe even think about the positives of your actions. If you decided to have a slice of birthday cake that your child made for you, realise the joy it brought them for you to have some and how you enjoyed it too. If you toasted the New Year with a glass of champagne after avoiding alcohol all year, consider the great feelings of celebration it allowed you and the togetherness you felt with your fellow celebrants. Don’t hold on to the negatives.
3. Be open
When we set our own health goals, we usually share them with our loved ones and, if they truly are loved ones, they are supportive and understanding because they, too, want us to feel good and be in the fullest of health. If you act in a way that is not in line with these goals, be open about it. Sometimes the people that are close to you can offer you more motivation than you can yourself to get back on track. It is when you find yourself eating in secret or fibbing about the exercise you have (or haven’t!) done that you know you are in trouble.
4. Focus on the majority
You may have heard of the 80:20 rule. Personally, I prefer not to follow ratios like this as it seems to suggest that sometimes your health doesn’t matter. Everything you eat will either promote your health or disease. Do we ever want to promote disease, really? If we are aiming for 100%, and this is perfectly achievable most of the time, then the occasional slip-up might bring us down to a 98:2 ratio, but we are still doing a lot better than trying to calculate in our heads whether we have hit enough of the ‘good’ ratio to allow us something ‘bad’.
5. Remember for next time
What better way to move on from your act of sin than for some good to come of it. If you can move forward feeling like, at least next time temptation comes knocking, you’ll remember these feelings of guilt and be able to weigh things up more objectively, then you are more likely to re-discover whatever motivation it was keeping you healthy before.
6. Make things better
What we eat and how we act have the power to promote our health, and the same certainly applies after these moments of indulgence. So get your sports shoes on, jump around, and fill yourself with freshly made green juice and yummy vegetables to help your body recover from the inside out. You’ll be feeling fresh and fighting fit again in no time.
I hope these tips prove useful to you. Try putting them into action and letting me know how you get on. Do you have any tips of your own? Share your ideas with us using the comments box below – I look forward to hearing from you!