If you’ve ever dropped off the exercise and diet and you feel like your health has dropped, well, then you are human. There are a million and one reasons why you might get into a slump.
Illness, injury, exams, children, family, puppy, travel, night shifts, interrupted sleep, deadlines at work, or if you live in Brisbane, ridiculous humidity. A day might go by and you can afford to skip a session or enjoy a cool ice-cream, but when that day turns into a week, that week turns into a fortnight and then very quickly it feels like a huge effort to get back on your feet again. Most people can relate to that and here are a bunch of suggestions to help you and your health get back on track.
How To Get Your Health Back On Track
- Give yourself a break. Remember that life is full of ups and downs. There are seasons where it is easy to prioritise and give time to a healthy lifestyle. And there are seasons where it is is a struggle. Try not to make your unhealthy life choices into a moral failing. It doesn’t make you a ‘bad’ person. Don’t punish yourself with horrible diets and early morning bootcamps that you dread. This will only set yourself up for a negative association to food and exercise. Let the setback be a way to develop new coping skills and will give you a super confidence boost once you’ve accomplished your goals.
- Look at the big picture. A Van Gough masterpiece is made up of a thousand tiny brushstrokes. Try to see the bigger goal, month by month, week by week. Don’t beat yourself up if you have a larger calorie day or miss a gym session. There really is no time frame to how many calories you need to reduce, or how many minutes you need to exercise. Look at every day as a chance to make healthy choices, but realise that you’re not a robot. Take little steps and the small steps will turn into greater steps as you look at the bigger picture.
- Get motivated. Remind yourself of what motivated you to improve your health in the first place. What was it that knocked you off? What goals have you achieved in the past? What are you capable of achieving? Remember what it felt like to be healthy and active. Harness that awesome feeling and let it push you off the couch. If you’re lacking internal motivation, then get your friends and family around you to keep you accountable. Allow them to make you go for a walk. Allow them to meet you at the gym. You are less likely to let down your best mate than if you were going solo.
- Set goals. Setting goals help you to really be able to see where you’re going. They give you something to aim for and something to celebrate once you’ve achieved it. Set SMART goals – Specific, Measurable,Achievable, Realistic and within a Timeframe. And make sure you celebrate your achievements! Use something that is enticing but that doesn’t involve unhealthy choices. Make it another month of gym membership, new active wear, new gear, a massage or a trip to the beach. Or make it a daily celebration of your morning coffee after exercise!
- Work with what you’ve got. Schedule your workouts with whatever daily habits you already have. Brush your teeth every day? Do 50 calf raises while you’re there. Drive to work? Do your pelvic floor exercises at every red light. Look at your calendar and actually schedule it in around what you’re already doing. If work brings you half an hour away from your gym on a Monday, do gym on another day. Mondays can be a short walk around the block, floor exercises or restorative yoga day. Don’t make things extra hard for yourself. Work with what you’ve got already going.
- Pick a couple of things you want to change. It’s hard going to suddenly say, “I’m going Paleo”, or “I’m cutting out alcohol”, or “No more sugar”. Eating clean for 5 days out of 7 is better than not eating clean for any days at all. Cutting down from 5 to 2 glasses of alcohol a week is better than continuing with 5 glasses every week. Having dessert on the weekends is better than having no restraint at all. It might not be what you optimally want to achieve, but it even a small change to a healthier lifestyle will be beneficial.
- Try something new. Are you bored with the food you eat? Are you sick of the same exercise routine? Mix it up! Try something new. Search for some new recipes, and get some people around to share in the excitement. Try a new sport or join a gym class for something a bit different. Have fun with the effort you are putting in. Eat foods you enjoy. Move the way you enjoy it. Dance to some music, sing in the kitchen, market shop with a friend – it is your choice to have fun or despise it. There is so much variety of almost everything at our fingertips – use it!
The road to a improved health is often a long journey. Step by step is how a journey is travelled, so don’t expect any quick fixes. Often people may say that the destination is a certain weight or being cleared from the doctor for a health risk. Those same people find that once they reach that initial destination, it feels too good and more goals are met. The road continues to be travelled and life is enjoyed more fully. It becomes a lifestyle.