Dieting isn’t easy and, because we’re all human and no one is perfect, we’re bound to trip up every now and again. If you’ve recently found yourself descending from whole-grains and steamed veg to fried chicken and chocolate cake, don’t be too hard on yourself; it happens to the best of us. To help you get back on the healthy train again, I’ve had a think and put together a list of 7 things to do if you’ve slipped off your diet.
1. (Re)Start Your Food Journal
Weight-loss gurus are always telling us to write down everything that we eat, and that’s probably because it is a pretty effective dieting technique. Keeping a record of your meals and snacking is a great idea from a practical perspective: it allows you to calculate how many calories you’re getting a day and from what kind of sources. It also helps you to come to terms with your eating habits and is, in this sense, a good antidote for denial.
2. Draw up a New Eating Plan
Having figured out what you are currently eating, you can begin to consider what you’d like to be taking in ideally. As a diet-defector, you probably already have an eating plan, but it remains a good idea to draw up another one. A new regime is consistent with a fresh start: this is the beginning of second, more successful foray into weight-loss territory.
3. Be Realistic
Unfortunately, dramatic alterations in diet and exercise only really work effectively on reality TV. For most of us, it takes more than a day to transform from couch potato into marathon runner; we don’t have a team of coaches or a huge monetary incentive urging us on. Given this fact, flinging yourself into a crazy exercise routine or embarking on a severe starvation diet to counteract your backsliding isn’t a workable strategy. Instead of going to extremes, ease yourself back into your healthy lifestyle plan by setting short term, realistic goals: start by giving up fizzy drinks and replacing them with water, for example, or make a no biscuit rule …
4. Short Circuit the Self Hatred
If you’ve slipped off your healthy living schedule, chances are, you’re not feeling great. It’s important that you nip the inevitable, paralysing self-loathing in the bud though; remember this kind of thing happens to everyone, and that the best way out of it is simply to get yourself back on track.
5. Plan a Series of Quick Workouts
As I’ve said, it’s not a good idea to go all-out in a kind of self-flagellating exercise frenzy. This kind of strategy isn’t feasible in the long term; instead, restart your workout programme by committing to a series of short, do-able sessions. Try to maintain this lowered-level of activity for a week before picking up the pace again.
6. Drink Water
If you’ve suddenly upped your food intake and made the change from diet-style cuisine to full-fat, starch-laden cooking, the chances are good that you’re carrying some water weight. Remedy the situation by making sure that you drink around 8 glasses of water a day.
7. Remember Why
If you fall of the diet wagon, it feels bad – really, really terrible, in fact. Along with sugar buzzes and carb crashes, there’s also awful guilt and the sense of failure to deal with. Try to use this general unpleasantness to your benefit. Surely discomfort and that ‘unhealthy’ feeling were reasons you embarked on your diet in the first place? Take advantage of the sensations as they resurface: they can motivate you in your redoubled efforts to eat well and exercise.
We all experience diet issues at some point, and while stumbling off the track to a healthy lifestyle feels terrible at the time, it can become an incentive to try harder in the future. With a little perseverance and some solid re-commitment, you can still reach those goals you set yourself in the first place. That concludes my list of 7 things to do if you’ve slipped off your diet; do you have any great tips to add?
Top Photo Credit: alancleaver_2000