There is nothing harder than starting a new fitness and nutrition regimen…other than restarting a fitness and nutrition regimen. The healthy-lifestyle wagon constantly has people jumping on and falling off. And believe me, it can happen to the best of us. So what can you do when you fall off the wagon and can’t manage to jump back on? Well, instead of wallowing in your sedentary, junk food bloat, here are some positive steps you can take to get yourself back on the wagon.
First, it helps if you have something to work towards. In most cases, people are more apt to stick to a fitness and nutrition regimen if there is an end goal. A competition, an audition, a photo shoot, a friend’s wedding, your wedding, a class reunion, a doctor’s appointment, vacation, wearing a bathing suit in public, going to the gym for the first time, or any other event in the near future. I am stressing ‘near future,’ so that the end is in sight. This way you will be less likely to fall of the wagon before your final destination. A good way to ensure your loyalty to an exercise and nutrition program is to hang up something symbolic of your goal, in a very conspicuous location. That symbol can be the bikini or Speedo (for you men out there) you want to wear to the beach, or a dress you plan on wearing for a big event, or maybe even a hip little tennis outfit for your tennis league. Those are just a few ideas to help keep you focused!
Second, set realistic fitness and nutrition goals to get you to your big event. If you have insane will power and self-control, then more power to you. Do a 180 and tackle your exercise and diet renovations head on. If you’re like a majority of the population, you’ll need to start small and work your way towards health guru status. Here are some nutrition goals you should try to work your way up to:
- Eat breakfast every day within 30 minutes of waking.
- Eat every 3 hours.
- Eat lots and lots of veggies and a moderate amount of fruits.
- Choose whole grains over refined grains.
- Choose low fat and fat free dairy products over full fat dairy products.
- Choose leans meats, fish, legumes, and nuts/seeds as your protein sources.
- Limit fried and high fat foods.
- Try to get 30-60 minutes of cardio exercise 5-7 days a week.
- Try to get 30-60 minutes of strength training 3-5 days a week.
Before you have a nervous break down from reading this list, remember to start small. Think of each point on the list as a body part that you’ve managed to hoist back onto the healthy wagon. If you’re not doing any of the things on this list, then you’re nowhere near the wagon. So start with one thing to get a hold of the wagon, even if the wagon has to drag you along, then add one more thing every week until you’re completely back on the wagon, sitting in the drivers seat.
Third, make sure that you’re hopping back on the wagon for you. Many people jump back into health and fitness regimens for all the wrong reasons, and two of the worst reasons are to get revenge on someone, or make someone jealous. WORST IDEAS EVER! Get healthy for you, not for your ex, or the captain of the cheerleading squad that was mean to you in high school, or your dance teacher that said you were fat, or your bridezilla friend who thinks that bridesmaid dress looks bad on you because you’re fat…not because the dress itself is hideous. There are so many positive effects of exercise and a healthy diet, that it would be silly to allow your driving factor to be something negative, i.e. that negative Nelly.
Finally, go easy on yourself. If you slip a little, don’t beat yourself up. We’re human, we make mistakes; it’s what we do best. You might miss a workout, or slip and fall on a chocolate chip cookie that happens to land in your mouth. Oh well. Just pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and move on. No sense in dwelling on the past when you’re trying to move forward!
Desirée is an Atlanta-based personal trainer, dietetic technician, nutrition coach, group exercise/dance instructor, and fitness competitor. To learn more about Desirée and her tips for healthy living, see her website: www.fitdesiree.com