How to Get Back on Track
Most people don’t like change and therefore, find the process to be overwhelming. As a result, it is common to de-rail from a weight loss effort, even after having had success. Getting off track is particularly common during busy or more stressful times in life, leading us to return to comfortable habits. So how do you quickly and effectively get back on track? Organizing these 4 things will help you maintain a higher level of control even when other areas of your life are still overwhelming:
Organize Your Tools. Just as an artist needs her paint and brushes, you’ll need key tools to help you stay organized on your weight loss journey. The first tool is your eating program and journal. When you have fallen off track, this is one of the first things to be ignored (along with the scale). First, plan two or three days of meals in advance, writing down what you intend to eat. Know that if you have a plan, you will be much more likely to stick with it versus winging it in a moment of hunger. Next, get your measuring cups, spoons and food scale out and onto the counter where they are easy see and use. Accurately measuring your food keeps you certain of maintaining the correct portions.
Organize Your Food. Typically, when someone has gotten off track, it involves eating binges. This may be a one-time event or involve days or weeks of eating “off program.” The first step with food organization is to remove any unhealthy foods from your cupboards, refrigerator and freezer. If you have to, give it to someone who is not trying to lose weight. Then, do the same thing at work by removing the sweets in and around your workspace. Once the junk is out, the next step is to go shopping for healthy foods for your meals and snacks. Buy enough so you don’t run out – it is better to have plenty of healthy proteins, starches, fruits and vegetables on hand. Set aside time to prepare several meals and place them in containers to make it easy to grab and go and to re-heat. Pre-cut some veggies for snacking and have plenty of protein bars and shakes on hand for your in-between meal snacks.
Organize Your Exercise Schedule. Research shows that individuals who exercise are more likely to stay on track with a healthy diet. Of course, the converse is true; stop exercising and your eating habits usually suffer! Getting in structured exercise at least 3 times per week is imperative, but if your life is at a place where that just isn’t happening, find ways to incidental exercise to each day. For example, taking three, 10 minute walks have been shown to provide the same health benefits as one, 30 minute walk. Use the stairs instead of elevators. Even something as silly as walking to the farthest bathroom at work will add up to extra calories burned. Getting in 10,000 steps per day is shown to maintain weight where 15,000 per day assists in weight loss!
Organize your support system. Having support during weight loss is critical to success. However, your hired support doesn’t meet with you everyday, making it necessary for you to organize a support system at both home and work. Often people don’t want to burden friends and family with their weight loss frustrations, but it is often only those individuals close to us who can help us push through tough times and not fall prey to self-doubt. As a result, it is important for you to share your goals with friends and family so they know you are serious and want their support. Let them know how to help you during tough times and reach out to them when you are struggling. Setting short-term, attainable goals and using non-food rewards as motivation like a day of pampering or shopping. Involve your friends and family in the process so they can keep you focused and true to yourself.
With these 4 things in place, the last step is to have the proper mindset to getting back on track. First of all, let it go and stop beating yourself up. Blame, shame and guilt will not help matters; in fact, it usually makes things worse. Next, focus on the positive. Regardless of how far off-track you are, or how much you may have re-gained, you need to reward yourself for re-taking control. Finally, sit down and write out clear goals and positive affirmations to read every morning and night. Although it may sound insignificant, there is tremendous research that supports the power of positive thinking and written goal setting. Now go get restarted!