So…Heifers, now that you’ve made it through the summer, with, hopefully, your healthy living habits fully intact, I thought it might be fun to talk about what happens when we do splurge. Maybe we had the extra cocktail that turned into a taco run at 10PM, which seemed like a fabulous idea after two Moscow Mules. Or maybe one brownie bite turned into three and then five and then whatthehell give me a slice of pound cake after all.
Or….maybe your diet or exercise plan was derailed for any number of other reasons. Life happens. We get sick. We travel to places where we have little control over our diet or physical fitness. We have kids. Our kids get sick. We have family come stay with us, move across the country, find new jobs, suffer love loss and a whole host of other events that can throw us off track and into another ballpark.
And then, when life settles down again, we have to get back on the horse.
I’ve been there, and I’m sure many of you have too. I’ve learned a few things in the last five years, since I got on this healthy-living bandwagon and refused to get shoved off. I’ve learned that there are times that wagon is pulling me along, dragging a little in the dirt, and there are times I have to catch up to it later, at another stop. But….the key to a healthy lifestyle is sticking with it and coming back to it. Sometimes (almost always) more than once.
If you want to be healthy for a lifetime, you never get to walk off into a cupcake filled sunset.
That sucks for me too.
But the good news is that every time something comes up and I get derailed, I have a chance to reinvest in my health, to remember why I started this whole journey to begin with and to recommit to being the healthiest, best me possible.
When that moment comes, when I have to face the music and get back to healthier habits, I remember three things, just three, and I am happy to report I’ve always jumped back on the bandwagon and kept going.
First, I remember my motto for success in just about anything I do: KEEP IT SIMPLE. I don’t sign up for crazy workout classes I’ve never tried in an attempt to jumpstart my fitness program. I don’t decide to do Aqua Zumba, for example, if I haven’t been able to fit in a run for a month. I keep it simple and lace my shoes, put on a rockin playlist and hit the streets. I run. I might start slower than usual. I might not make it as far, but I don’t tax my system or my brain with something totally new when I’m trying to get back into the swing of things. I keep it very simple: I eat healthier foods, move my body more often and get plenty of sleep.
Second, I KEEP IT BALANCED. I don’t decide, after being bed-bound with the flu, to lose 10 pounds in two weeks and run a 10k. That would be crazy; yet it’s so easy to come out of a rut and think that going hard and strong will erase the month of bed time or eating out or vacation cocktails that landed you at the starting line again.
That’s not just bad math, it’s bad for your body, your mental health and your ability to maintain and make any progress. I try to remember that if I took a month off, it will probably take two months to get back to full swing. It’s like someone told me in college: if you dated a year, it will take two years to forget him. Yeah. Apply that to fitness and diet, too. If you got sick and couldn’t run for a few weeks, give yourself twice as long to go full throttle. If you just ate donuts every morning while adjusting to a new job, give yourself a few weeks of a healthier breakfast before you try to jump back on the scale or declare yourself donut-free. It will all come together again…with time and patience. Drastic measures never do anyone any good, unless it’s a hostage situation. Then, call in the big dogs.
Third, I KEEP IT CONSISTENT. Seriously. The best exercise in the world is the one you can do consistently. The best foods to eat are the ones you love, the ones you cook regularly and look forward to eating. Nothing works once a week.
We don’t make progress by cutting out dessert once a week and then binging again the rest of the time. Consistency is KING in the game of getting back on track. It helps to keep it simple. It helps to keep it balanced. Both of those will help to keep it consistent. Consistent doesn’t mean perfect, though. Perfectionism is Crazytown and a sure-fire path to failure. It’s also a torturous path, so it’s not even pleasant to amble down, like maybe that cupcake filled sunset.
No. Perfectionism is constant agony, and that doesn’t ever lead to results. So, keep it consistent. Commit to daily changes over extended periods of time. Do what you can do without stressing yourself or getting crazy. Slowly, push yourself a little further, a little harder and a little higher. We get there, just not in a day or a week or even a month. But with consistent work, we get there.
I think the biggest part of continuing a healthy lifestyle is realizing, like anything else, there will be bumps in the road. It isn’t about perfection or never stopping. It’s just about never quitting. There will be period when we focus less on our diets or have to forgo exercise or are sidelines with illness. Nobody escapes that, not even professional athletes. What matters isn’t that we get derailed but that we come back to it…again and again.
The mindset of keeping it simple, balanced and consistent has helped me navigate injuries, illness, family life and more. I get knocked down, and I get back up. We all do.
Do you have tips for getting back on track after being sidelined by life? Leave a comment below or on the Facebook page and share it all: what gets you off track and on track, both.