It can be difficult to maintain a dedicated health and fitness routine. Here are five steps to pick yourself back up if you’ve fallen off the wagon.
Step 1 – acknowledge why you may have fallen off the wagon
It’s all very well to put steps in place to get back on track, but it’s also important to acknowledge where you went wrong in the first place. Quite often there are many contributing factors such as stress, business, emotional triggers, work commitments, or a huge life change. Whatever it may be, it’s vital you recognise it so if and when it presents itself again in the future, you have strategies in place to deal with it.
Step 2 – make a plan with your exercise routine
It’s time to look at how active you are versus how active you would like to be. Be realistic and gradually increase the volume and frequency of your exercise. If you’re currently working out once a week, aim for three sessions a week. It’s important that you look at your current schedule and work commitments and map out when and where your sessions will be. That way you know exactly what you need to do each week. I have found that my clients who have an exercise schedule tend to get more sessions done than clients who just wing it. It’s extremely easy to come up with excuses as to why you can’t exercise, but if you have set out that time you are more likely to exercise because you have made a commitment to do it.
Step 3 – make a plan with your nutrition
The food you’re consuming on a daily basis can either make or break your health and fitness progress. Ideally, keep a food diary for a week then reflect on what you’ve been eating. If you don’t have that much data to work with, one or two days of eating will do fine. It’s important to know exactly what you’ve been consuming, because sometimes we don’t realise how much we are snacking and munching on throughout the day. It is easy to become overwhelmed when we’re attempting to make changes to our diet – often because we try to change too much too fast. A good way of dealing with it is to choose one element to work on each week. Once you have nailed that one area, then move on to a new one. For example, I am having takeaways for dinner three nights a week; my goal is to reduce that to one or two nights a week. You will be amazed at how much of a difference all these small changes can make to your overall health.
Step 4 – choose positive ways to reward yourself
Often our go-to for treats is naughty or unhealthy food, which seems to contradict our overall goal. Also, labelling food as ‘treats’, ‘naughty’ or ‘bad’ can give certain foods a negative connotation and may make you crave the forbidden fruit even more. However, if we weave the foods we enjoy with moderation into our daily diets, we won’t feel the need to binge and crave those ‘naughty’ foods. Instead of food, it’s nice to reward yourself with something that you enjoy, whether that is a massage, a new toy, new clothes, going to the movies – the sky is the limit. That way we associate working hard on our health and fitness with an amazing treat that we enjoy – that is not going to derail our efforts.
Step 5 – don’t be too hard on yourself
It is so easy to be self-critical and feel down if you’re not quite achieving the goals that you have set or seeing those numbers go down on the scale (if that is your target). But it’s important to remember that health and fitness is a massive journey filled with plenty of ups and downs.
USING THESE STEPS, hopefully you can gently adjust your current exercise and nutrition regime to slowly improve over time and allow yourself rest and time to enjoy the activities and foods you love. Eating healthily and exercising should never feel like a chore – it should feel like a part of your lifestyle and weekly routine. Like anything else, if we don’t enjoy something, we aren’t likely to continue doing it if we don’t have to, but if we find an eating and exercise regime we can enjoy and maintain, we are much more likely to succeed and keep it up. Self-praise and reward is super important in keeping you focused and motivated in your journey. If you are continually telling yourself that your efforts aren’t good enough, it is going to be a tough road. Each day, or even each week, think about one positive thing that you have achieved with your health and fitness and drill it in.