You know, life just won’t stand still for your fitness goals. I’m sorry if this comes as a surprise. There will be parties and potlucks, holidays and hurricanes, babies and bat mitzvahs. And all of these things and more will interrupt your best laid plains.
So, you may not be able to work out as often as you wanted to, or maybe even at all one week.
So, you may eat too much during another.
So, what are you going to do when those things happen? They will happen. What’s your plan?
Many times in the past I would let an event like that start me on a spiral of not exercising, not eating right, believing that I, JuJu, in this life on this planet am not destined to reach a healthy weight. My unmet goals mounted and earned interest, costing me, psychologically, more and more until I felt there was no way to get back to my budding fitness habit, my new way of eating.
Here’s how to keep from feeding the self-esteem blasting events you will surely face.
First, pull out your journal, and in your special pages for planning (where you maybe have planned how to avoid binges?, how to deal with family holiday dinners?, how to manage the birthday parties at the office?) you write out some strategies for dealing with life’s little setbacks. Here are some that might work for you.
If it looks like it’s going to be a long setback, get out your calendar and estimate how long your setback might last. Write a beginning and ending date, and then set an appointment with yourself near the ending date to make a plan for getting back to your program. You might also list some strategies for maintaining your good work while this goes on, the floor exercises you might do and your eating strategies to keep from eating in an out-of-control way.
If it’s a very short, unexpected setback, find some time to write in your journal or talk to a friend to describe how the setback happened, what it felt like. Then plan what to do to get over it. If you need help figuring out what to do, then hop on a good diet support board like Diettalk.com, or the ones at iVillage to get some quick advice from seasoned dieters about your current setback and how to work around it.
If it’s a fitness setback due to injury, remember there’s a whole lot of your body besides the injured part that you can work. For instance, if you broke one ankle, it’s still a good idea to get on a stationary bike as soon as you’re up to it, because working out one side will actually increase and help maintain the fitness of the injured side. Strain your right shoulder? You can still lift small dumbbells with your right. Obviously, you should get your doctor’s approval to be sure it’s alright to keep going.
If your setback is a meal or two, well okay. Big deal. So start again. It’s not as if you’re in a gigantic hurry to lose weight (You would never be in a hurry to lose weight, would you? Please tell me no. No, of course not. Because by now you know that being in a hurry is a sure-fire road to failure, right? You know that, right?)
If your setback is a classic binge or three or more, and you feel you just can’t get it back in control, find someone who understands to talk with you. A counselor, a friend, or someone on the message boards who’s been there and can help. They will suggest things like cleaning the bad food out of your way, writing out your menu for the next day, and trying to be good for just one day. And then just one day more. Schedule time with others or in settings where you will be distracted and can’t eat. Volunteering is good. Classes are good. Remove the food from your presence and yourself from food-oriented situations. You’ll soon be back on top again. And eat more protein.
A plateau is not a setback. A plateau is when you’re doing everything right, but nothing appears to be happening, weight-wise, size-wise. Just keep doing everything right. I’ll share what I’ve learned about plateaus tomorrow. Remember: a plateau is not a setback. A plateau is not a setback. A plateau is not a setback. They are extremely annoying. Really almost as annoying as me repeating myself, but they are not a setback.
Okay. So. Now you’re ready for just about anything. I hope.
If not, feel free to write.