Do you fall off the wagon sometimes?

3 05 2011

Do you ever find yourself doing well with your nutrition for a week or two, and then slowly falling back into old habits? It is understandable that after we’ve spent so many years eating a certain way we sometimes fall back into those habits, especially during stressful and busy times. The good news is that with some focus, creativity, and determination we can put an end to those cycles that keep us from meeting our goals. We might find that two good weeks out of the month soon turns into 3, and so on.

Before we can make changes however, we must be aware of what is happening in our lives. Spend some time thinking about your own behavior and identify what is going on when you are doing well, and what is going on when you aren’t doing well. You might find that the week or two when you do the best is right after grocery shopping— you are stocked up on healthy foods! That makes sense. You then realize that as you start to run out of food, you begin looking for a quick food fix through eating out, stopping through a drive through, or visiting the snack machine.

Or maybe you observe that you do better the week or two after meeting with the RD, trainer, or talking with your health behavior counselor while you are super motivated and have health on your mind. As thoughts from those conversations fade away however, you fall back into unhealthy, convenient patterns of behavior. Whatever it may be for you, it will be important for you to learn about when you do your best, and when you do your worse. Being mindful of your own patterns of behavior is the first step for breaking unhealthy cycles.

Once you realize how your environment may be setting you up for success, or failure, you can work on changing it to being conducive to success more often. You may realize that you need to make it a point to visit the grocery store when you get close to running out of healthy snacks at work, or maybe it would be helpful to sit down with your family and plan out your meals for an upcoming busy week when you know you’ll be pressed for time (print off the weekly meal planner in the handouts section). Or maybe you develop a plan for yourself to make a conscious effort to relax your body and mind when you start to feel stressed, before it spirals out of control and turns into a stress eating frenzy. Life is full of demands, unexpected events, and time goes by quickly. But those inconveniences do not mean that we have to give up control over our health until they pass.

A healthy lifestyle can survive stress and adversity, as long as we are willing to observe our own behavior, be creative in how to set our environment up for healthy nutrition and regular exercise, and stay focused on living healthfully even when the going gets tough. Life is not getting any easier, but we are getting smarter!

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6 responses

10 05 2011
Amy

You are very welcome. I’m glad you found it informative. We can all benefit by taking some time out of our days to engage in some self talk and ask ourselves what is going well, what isn’t going well, and then most importantly identify ONE STEP that we can work on to make things a little better. If we spend the next two years doing these things, just imagine how much better we will be!

4 05 2011
cindy mccorkle

One thing I have issues with is that I fall off the wagon more on exercise. I feel that I have done ok with the food. If I eat more than I should one day I have no problem saying ok and just start again the next day. It is no longer a diet but a way of life. I know that some days due to social issues you may have more to eat one day, but I am able to eat as usual the next and not feel guilty. Exercise is the issue I have. It seems that when life happens and stops you from going to the gym it is harder to get in the swing of things. I have tried to reframe my way of thinking that exercise is selfess my time and I deserve it. Lets see if that works!

10 05 2011
Amy

Hey Cindy, I don’t think you are alone here. It is almost like we forget how wonderful we feel after a good workout, or during a week when we’ve worked out regularly. What I’ve found that works best for me is to develop a routine. Just as we can fall out of a routine, we can fall into a routine as well. Once we get our momentum going, it is much easier to continue.

Have you ever found that during a week that you exercised 4 or 5 times you were much more likely to stick to your routine, as opposed to a week when you went on Monday, then by Thursday you didn’t feel like it? Too much time went by and you may have lost your momentum. I think that going just 2 times per week allows us too much time to forget how great we feel, so increasing your days will help, in many ways.

Schedule on your calendar 3 days out of the week that you will exercise and make a COMMITTMENT to stick to it. Don’t allow yourself to cancel your “exercise appointment” unless something comes up that would warrant canceling a regular doctor’s appointment. For example, a friend asking me to lunch would not warrant me skipping, but a sick child may.

I hope this helps!

3 05 2011
Jennifer

PEIA Weight Management participant here — WOW, this article described me to a “Tee,” especially paragraphs 2 and 3. I found this most relatable!! Thank you for the advice on how to overcome “two good weeks, two bad weeks” that make my months just average . . .

10 05 2011
Amy

I’m so glad you were able to get something from the blog. I’ve found that keeping a journal helps me. If I sit back and say, “Wow, I’m having a great week, I’ve eaten well, I’ve exercised a lot, I’m doing great”, then I’ll sit down and write some things out. Same goes if it is a bad week. When you can identify a bad week, ask yourself these questions:

1. What did I do that was unhealthy? (e.g. didn’t exercise, ate too much fast food, etc)

2. What were the blockers to making better choices? (e.g. I didn’t have healthy foods at home. or I was just too busy and found myself doing everything but exercise.

3. How can I remove the blockers or work around them to be better next time? (e.g. When a busy week is coming up, I will sit down and schedule out my exercise to make sure to fit it in. or I will recognize when I’m running out of food and make sure I grocery shop to have things at work).

Average is okay, but we can all be better with some planning and practice!!

3 05 2011
Brian Roberts

This is why I love this blog! Great suggestions! This is exactly what happens to me. Thanks as always!

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