There is a post I saw on Instagram recently that made me laugh, mostly because it was pretty true and accurate;
This is what I’m susceptible to when I fall off of the ‘healthy wagon’ – I can be incredibly dedicated to going to the gym and eating healthily, cutting out snacks, doing meal preps and going to bed at a decent hour, then someone offers me a biscuit or a piece of cake (or a wedge of cheese, I can never say no to cheese!) and then before I know it all of the planned vegetables, fruit and lean meat I was due to eat has been put on the back burner as I say to myself ‘well I’m down the rabbit hole now’ and I have a day of giving into all the sugary and sweet snacks and then chow down on a pizza, and then most likely some ice-cream – pretty much just like the above caption says.
Ahhh, that poor village.
I will hedge my bets that this type of habitual cycle is something most of us can slip into quite often if we aren’t careful. Not only that but when you are being really focused and on top of things, and then when one little thing slides it feels like the rest comes crashing down with it, just like a house of cards.
For me, once I have an off day with cheating snacks then sometimes that might throw me off my routine until Sunday night (because you can only start getting yourself back on the straight and narrow on Mondays right?) – this will definitely happen if I haven’t done any meal prep and bulk cooking – then if I’m not eating properly I tend not to go to the gym as it feels like a bit of a pointless exercise – that makes me feel lethargic to where I don’t feel as energised and focused to stick to other tasks I set myself – I then end up faffing about and staying up late watching random TV shows or films – I go to bed really late – I wake up feeling really tired in the morning – and so the cycle continues.
One those days I frequently find myself saying ‘I will get back on it properly tomorrow and be good’
- That word ‘tomorrow’ has started to rear its ugly head again. If you need a reminder of its danger read I’ll stop saying I will do it tomorrow, tomorrow.
- The problem with saying you are only on schedule when you are ‘being good’ is that it can be a really detrimental phrase – it gives no leeway for if you allow yourself to have that ONE biscuit, as clearly that isn’t ‘being good’….but aren’t being bad! It’s one bloody biscuit! Anytime I tell myself ‘no more chocolate’ the only thing I want to eat after that is chocolate! Instead, if I told myself I can have ‘a bit of chocolate now and again’ it means I can still go about knowing I can enjoy life and a Galaxy bar without guilt tripping myself for doing so, and I am also much less likely to eat three in one go compared to if I had put a ban on myself from having them altogether.
For the immediate, perhaps a few weeks a diet plan can be really helpful, with strict ‘can & can’t have’ foods in order to kick start some weight loss to then motivate you to keep going, but long-term it’s incredibly hard way to maintain a healthy lifestyle and eating pattern, which then makes eating a village much more likely, and on a much more regular basis.
But this doesn’t fully answer why going rogue and not eating properly can then go on to affect everything else you could be doing that week, few weeks or sometimes even months, as before you know it it’s midway through the year and you’re wondering why you haven’t been to the gym since March, why you haven’t read that book that has been sat on your bedside table for the last two months, why you haven’t done research for that course you have always said you want to start doing in September. The list goes on.
One way to start unpicking this tangled web of ‘things you should be doing but aren’t’ is to work backwards from your main frustration(s):
Perhaps below might be similar to the string of questions and answers you give yourself:
- I haven’t applied for that course I really want to go on – why?
- I’m not getting my research and reading done in the evening that I want to – why?
- Because I’m watching TV for two-three hours every evening at the moment – why?
- Because I’m shattered after a long day at work and then with the children and don’t want to do anything in late evenings except lie on the sofa – why?
- Because I haven’t been going to sleep at a reasonable time – why?
- Because I have been waking up late so going to bed later – why?
- Because my body feels its lacking in energy to get me up in the morning – why?
- Because I’m not exercising at any point throughout the week – why?
- Because I’m not eating properly so see exercise as a bit of a waste of time.
Therefore if you work up from number 9 (which is just an example and your end answer most likely will be different to this one) and start dealing with the root issues at the lower half of the list first you will be much more likely to then get through the top part and to your number 1 and actually get it done, or at least started.
I applied this thought process to myself and found that my baseline structure I need for the likelihood of having a good week being increased is prepping my meals and bulk cooking, and going to bed early. If these two things are done consistently everything else seems to stay on track much easier. I have more sleep and energy to get up in early morning and work (which I have recently discovered is when I`m most productive) and having food prepared means I`m less likely to want to snack and motivates me to want to go to the gym (but still allowing myself to have chocolate if I want – although within moderation).
If any of the above resonates with you then:
- Allow yourself the damn biscuit! Or maybe even two if you want to live on the edge. Just make sure you stay away from eating the pasta and the village.
- Sit down and work backwards as to what you need to have in place as a baseline structure to your week so that you are less likely to derail yourself – and make sure you stick to those baseline habits!
- Don`t go overboard with trying to implement lots of new routines all at once (joining the gym and saying you are going to go four times every week from the get-go, bulk cooking, sleeping early, getting up earlier than normal, taking up a hobby, reading more etc) – it will all feel too much change and effort and you are more likely to revert back to old habits. Identify 1-2 habits you want to initially change and work on those first. Perhaps a new time you go to sleep during the week? Maybe going to the gym/doing some kind of physical activity once a week to start? Bulk cooking to help manage you healthy eating if you don`t have time in your week to cook every evening? Reading before you go to bed instead of watching the TV? Once you start to see the benefits of these first couple of changes you will be more likely to keep doing them and then start to implement others
- Stick at it and don`t give up! We all fall of lots of different wagons throughout the year, we`re humans not robots, but as long as you get back on and try to reduce the amounts of times you fall that’s the main thing.
Thanks for reading,