Oops, you fell off the wagon. Two days off from the gym became three, and then five, and then seven. Oh, and you ate a whole box of cookies yesterday. What now? You’re a terrible person who doesn’t deserve to live? Wrong.
Fortunately, it’s just as easy to make the choice to get back on the wagon as it was to get off. Yes, STAYING on the wagon is what’s hard, but if creating a habit takes 21 days, then I trust that you can make some great headway with these 4 helpful tips.
Start small! Don’t be overambitious. Whether you’re a newbie or you’re re-starting a routine, don’t set yourself up by failure by demanding that you do a HIIT session every single day and only eat chicken, broccoli, sweet potatoes and coconut oil right out of the gate. We’re humans, not robots: we cannot be entirely reprogrammed in a day. Goals should always be S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measureable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound). Perhaps try conquering one goal at a time. Tackle the stuff that’s easier for you first. Week one’s goal might be to move your body in some way every day. Week two’s goal might be to stop eating carbohydrates after 7pm. Week three’s might be the first two plus drinking an additional liter of water per day. You get the picture. Remember that this isn’t meant to be a quick fix; it’s a lifestyle change. Be patient with yourself and also realistic with yourself.
Always plan ahead. Whether this be what you’re going to do at the gym on a given day or what you’re going to eat tomorrow, the classic phrase is a classic for a reason: “If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail.” Meal prepping in advance, freezing meals for the week, writing out your week of workouts, and more can all save you time, money, and frustration. Invest in good kitchen equipment like crockpots, sharp knives, and lots of Tupperware. Invest in a workout journal. Download an app like MyFitnessPal. Invest in a personal trainer! Strategize!
Don’t let social media consume your life. The CrossFit athletes and fitness models we see on our Instagram pages DO THIS FOR A LIVING. The rest of us neither have the time nor the interest to work out 2-3 times per day and spend the rest of that day shopping for and cooking food and posting pictures of our muscles. Also, people only post their best selves on social media, right? So don’t expect to see photos of the grind on there. But you better believe they have tough days at the gym and days when they want to eat an entire pizza. Write down YOUR specific goals, remember what those are, and don’t compare your chapter 1 to someone else’s chapter 50.
Pick one approach and run with it. The fitness industry is so inundated with information these days that it can be very difficult to weed through the garbage to find the good stuff. Typically, you’ll make a choice and then your work friend tells you she actually heard “ketogenic diets fix everything,” but then your mom tells you, “ketogenic diets are dangerous and carbs are great as long as they’re whole grain.” STOP LISTENING! Bottom line is that most of these approaches (save the ludicrious ones) could theoretically be effective. Low-carb, low-fat, paleo, ketogenic, high-protein… they could all work in specific situations. But how do you know what your specific situation is? Hire a professional! Find a trainer like me who also has nutrition coaching credentials. We become educated so that we can give you accurate information that is specific to you and your goals!