We see patients every week who we know are committed to losing weight, increasing their energy and managing their stress levels. Are you noticing what I’m noticing – changing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is getting noticeably tougher. There is an amazing amount of temptation around us. I know of a patient who recently started the MWC Detox Cleanse, achieved double digit weight loss by Day 11…and suddenly had a beer (obviously not part of the cleanse program!). And when I look around, I can see why. Most of us don’t live in an environment that supports the healthy lifestyle we are really committed to living.
The fact that you subscribe to my newsletter says a lot about your commitment to being healthy. And I’m also realistic about it…I know you are tempted! I know you slip up sometimes. I know you come to my office for treatment, leave with herbs and supplements…and sometimes forget to take them. It happens. In the spirit of slip-ups, here are 5 simple tips for getting yourself back on track!
1. Remember that lifestyle slip-ups are momentary…not momentous.
It’s SO human, isn’t it? You’re having lunch at the Cheesecake Factory with your best friends. You swear up and down that you’re going to have a salad and that’s it. Then it happens…the dessert menu makes its way around the table to you…and you give in and order a piece of strawberry cheesecake. Notice that the choice you made is momentary…and you can choose NOT to make it momentous. Here’s how:
Eat three bites and leave the rest. You’re paying for the whole piece if you eat it or not. Most people use that as a justification for eating the whole thing. Someone like you who is committed to a healthy lifestyle gets that “cleaning your plate” is a thing of the past (plates and portions were much smaller back in those days).
Agree on one dessert for the table and split it with your friends. I’ve done this several times when I’ve gone out. More often than not, you’ll find that a bite or two is all you really wanted anyway.
Have your next actions propel you forward…rather than send you in a downward spiral.After a slip-up, it’s easy to turn yourself into a human garbage disposal for the rest of the day. As someone who cares about health as much as you do, I invite you to take a different approach. Seek out ways to have your next actions be the pinnacle of your day. Hit the market on the way home and buy fresh veggies for grilling that evening. Deliberately park far away from the door and walk briskly. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. There are no limits to the actions you can take. Get creative and make a list for yourself!
2. Take a step back…and look.
If you notice yourself chronically slipping up on your eating and exercise plan, I recommend stopping the action entirely. Take a step back and really look at your behavior. Remember that much of what we do (and don’t do) is driven by our habits. It’s all behavior. When do you slip up? Is it when you are upset? Bored? Alone? Busy? Tired? When is it? Chances are good that if you identify what drives the slip-up, you can interrupt it the next time it happens.
3. Grab a buddy and check in.
Forming a new lifestyle is forming a new habit. If you notice, the way you’ve been living has a particular structure to it. You have people and circumstances all around you that are designed to keep your old lifestyle in place. If you want to adopt a new lifestyle, you need to create a new structure. That doesn’t happen overnight. It took you however many years to form the structure you’ve already got! A really good option is to seek out people who will check in with you at agreed upon days and/or times to see if you are actually doing what you said you would do (eating, exercising, supplements, etc.). Have it be someone who gives you ample space to tell the truth and holds you to account for making a new promise when you slip up. Monitor your progress together. Better yet, invite them on the health journey with you!
4. Give up making yourself guilty.
Look, slip-ups are going to happen even when you’re sure you’ve made all the necessary contingency plans. You can be totally prepared and still have a “human being moment”. If you must feel badly about it, do it for 5 minutes and then repeat step #1 in this list of tips. If the guilt is going to be there, you can definitely be responsible for having it be momentary.
5. Experiment with new ways to reward yourself.
It’s hard to imagine, but there ARE other things you enjoy as much as (and possibly more than) food. What can you reward yourself with that isn’t edible? Maybe it’s a visit to the local market on your way home from work to buy yourself a new plant or a gorgeous bouquet of flowers. It could be a longer drive home through the back roads to admire the sunset. Maybe a stop at the bookstore to pick up a thriller you’ve been meaning to read. Who knows? It could be anything. Regardless, I encourage you to begin finding unique ways of rewarding yourself that support your commitment to living a healthy lifestyle.