Yesterday I received a great question from one of my online coaching clients and it’s a topic that I see everyone (including myself) struggle with constantly. It’s a topic that we could all relate whether or not it is in regard to our fitness or nutrition goals.
When I initially posed the question to my private Facebook group, asking: What do you need the most help with fitness and nutrition wise? I had to jump on the opportunity to answer the following question:
Do you have any Ideas for how to get out of a cycle of bad eating choices?
Since this is something that I find I am answering on a pretty regular basis, second only to the question, Sirena why are you so cool, I figured I’d take the time to leave you with some insight and motivation to help you get back on track.
Here is exactly what I would tell this client had we discussed this question in person.
First thing: Understand that it’s OK if you’re not 100% on plan, 100% of the time.
In fact, going off the plan can help you in the long run, I will explain further down, but first, I want you to know that it is OK, and you have permission to get off track.
Second thing: Let go of the guilt. There is nothing to feel guilty about.
We are all human, and since we don’t live in a tightly controlled laboratory, shit happens. I get it. Kids get sick, the AC breaks, you go on vacation, life happens. And you know what? Life is suppose to happen. Nothing is ever constant, and one of the beautiful things about life is that it is in a constant state of flux, always changing, and morphing.
And that’s OK. Progress is never linear as I talked about previously. Sometimes it means taking 3 steps forwards, 1 step back, and then one giant leap forward again.
Third thing: Keep going, do not let it stop you.
It’s very easy to get swept away in the pity parade, I know, I’ve been there, but don’t let it carry you away. In one regard, yes, allow yourself to feel sad, allow your self to feel guilt, but recognize it, accept it, and then understand that those feelings do not have to define your current state.
Fourth thing: Look back and ask yourself what may have caused you to fall off track.
What day could you pinpoint and say, “Aha, it was Wednesday night.” Or “it was the day I went out with so and so”. Do some investigation and find out if there was a specific trigger that may have caused it.
And the trigger doesn’t necessarily have to be something “bad” like a fight with your partner or a bad day at work. It could have been a birthday party for a friend or even a vacation.
Start to look back and find out where and when things started to unravel. Figuring out this will help you better understand your triggers, and finding what emotional buttons were being pushed.
Knowing what your buttons are can help you either address. This is party of your growing process, and part of your journey. Understanding your emotions, your buttons, and the triggers that push them, will help you find more peace when things don’t always go the way you planned them. Knowing these things will also help you troubleshoot your way into getting back on track again.
Fifth thing: Remind yourself why you are doing what you are doing. And if you don’t know they “why”, figure it out.
Saying you want to lose weight is one thing, but what is your reason behind it? What is your motivation? What is inspiring you do to do so?
Reminding yourself of why you are doing what you are doing is a simple but effective way to get you back on track. Your reasons could vary, i.e. “I want to lose weight so that I can keep up with my kids.” “I want to move my body better so that I can take dance lessons with my partner”, etc.
However, if you don’t have a strong enough reason, getting back on track when you fall off is going to seem like an arduous trek up the Himalayas. You MUST have a strong enough reason, backed with love and passion.
Do not fret if you don’t have one yet. Take the time, and give your self the space to dig deep and really and truly ask yourself, your own “why’s”.
Sixth Thing: Take each day as a new beginning and show yourself some love and compassion.
As I mentioned in the fourth thing, it can be really easy to get swept up in the pity parade. But you have a choice each day, each morning that you wake up to start new. Every morning you wake up is like getting a new lease on life. Your past does not have to define your present, and for that matter, neither does it have to define your future. Just as you made the initial decision to make a change for your life, you can do that any time, any where.
Seventh thing: Treat your adult-self like you’re taking care of your child-self.
As adults its easy to forget that at some point we were kids. A great visualization tool that I’ve learned through my spiritual practices is to look at ourselves as if we are looking at the child within us.
Meaning, imagine that we are not just taking care of our adult sevles, meaning the adult body that we are living in at this current moment in time, but try to visualize that you are in charge of taking care of a young child, YOU, the young child being you.
We all have an image in our head of us a child, for me, it’s when I’m 7 years old, living in the Philippines. When I think about what adult Sirena needs, I will actually visualize 7 year old Sirena and give her what she needs. In all actuality, both adult Sirena and 7 year old Sirena need the same thing.
For some reason, it is easier for us to show love, care and compassion for a child, than it is to show for ourselves.
When I began to write this blog, I thought about mentioning things like, “Make sure you have your meals planned”, and “write down what you’re going to eat” and all sorts superficial tactics, which yes, do help, but yet do not get to the root of the issues.
By asking and doing the 7 things I’ve mentioned above, you can not only get back on track, but hopefully stay there too, and know what to do shall you find yourself steering off again.