A friend was talking with me the other day, we'll call her Rita. Rita is so fed up with herself. She keeps trying to do all the right things by eating healthier, exercising and all those "good things." But, Rita experienced yet another crash and burn: her holiday weekend ended up out of control with mega amounts of brats, potato salad, pie and ice cream that wouldn't quit. She doesn't know what exactly happened, but all control was lost and she reverted back to her old "Hoover-like" (as in the vacuum) eating behavior. Now Rita can't seem to get back on track. I believe she used to words failure, fat, disgusting and stupid all in one sentence.
How many of you can relate to her? Yes, that's what I thought. I remember that all too well myself, the "all-or-nothing" me that I, for the most part, have left behind.
When you're on a healthy eating plan, it's a little bit like playing a game of tennis. When the game is going well, you are in control. The ball is in motion, and you keep hitting it back using the best strokes and placement you can make. You feel great both mentally (hey, you're winning!) and physically you are totally pumped! Your attitude is great, and your performance keeps going.
Then something happens, and you hit a bad shot. The ball veers way out of bounds. It comes to a complete stop. The momentum has changed.
That's what happened to Rita. Her game of tennis (healthy lifestyle) was going along great. And then, the long holiday weekend arrived. She hit one bad shot. Instead of picking up the ball and staying in the game, Rita just left the ball, dropped her racket and walked away. She walked away from her healthy lifestyle program, right toward her old habits. It was the easy thing to do. After all, old habits are just more comfortable. We know them better than the new ones that we're trying to make.
Get Back On Track:
- Focus on Why. Remind yourself why you want to be healthier. Write it down. Keep that goal firmly focused in your mind. Rita told me she wanted her knee to feel no more pain when she climbed up and down stairs. Great goal and good to focus on.
- Perseverance. Pick up the ball. You have to bend over and physically grab that ball to continue playing tennis. Tennis players don't quit just because they hit one bad shot or have one bad game! They keep on working at it. Wimbledon champions Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal certainly have had bad shots, games, and matches...but they never give up. In pursuing a healthy lifestyle, it's the same thing. You need to keep on keeping on: don't give up.
- Out: The "Can't Stop" Snacks. Go into your kitchen and look around. Imagine a Pyrex pan of brownies sitting on your counter. There's a knife sitting next to an uneven row, covered with plastic wrap. What do you think that pan is telling you to do? We don't deserve needless evil temptation. If there are foods that you lose control over, get them out of sight. Treats need to be put away into individual bags and/or stored behind closed doors. For some of us, certain foods cannot come into your home right now. Acknowledge this, and be in control of the food that comes in. Don't let the food control you.
- In: Healthy Food! Hit the grocery store. Load up on fresh fruits, veggies, yogurts, whole grains---all foods that you know helps you with your healthy eating.
- Fruits and Veggies at the Ready. Tempt yourself with colorful healthy snacks ready to go. Cut up veggies and fruits should be at eye level when you open the refrigerator door. I know we all have those very wonderful drawers at the bottom of the fridge. The problem is, if we keep all the produce there, it's out of sight, and often we forget about them and end up munching on crackers. Store your unprepped produce in the drawers.
- Plan for Exercise. Is it too hot for your regular walk outside? Have an alternative ready, like walking the mall, swimming at the high school pool, doing an exercise video in your air conditioned home. Don't use the heat as an excuse for being the blob. If you act like the blob you'll become the blob. Unacceptable!
- Plan for Success. Think ahead. Is there a party or a picnic this weekend? Plan ahead of time how you will make the healthy choices and stay in control. Remember, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
- Believe in Yourself: You can do it!
You are worth every effort it takes to be that healthy, wonderful you! You deserve it.