Wednesday, June 4, 2014

DOs and DON'Ts of getting back on track

I'm BACK after a week of shoveling a ridiculous amount of "food" into my face, a day and a half of food poisoning-fueled misery and a week of attempting to recover from said misery (aka no workouts and lots of plain, white carbs). 

I could NOT have handled that Jordon Almond.
I've never experienced that before, and while I know it was from something specific I carelessly scarfed down, I think it was also a pretty big wake-up call from my body, begging me to stop treating it so poorly by giving in to every tiny (and not so tiny) craving.

As you have probably realized, I am anything but consistent in my quest to maintain a truly balanced, healthy lifestyle. And Jared hears this just about every Monday, but I've never felt more determined to eat smarter and really just treat myself better. Getting back on track after a slip-up is never easy. I know better than almost anyone.

With all of my "starting over" experience, I have discovered some things that work and many things (obviously) that don't. Here are some tips from yours truly, but please keep in mind I am obviously no expert and this mostly serves as a reminder list for what I should be doing!

DON'T feel so hopeless (because it will seem that way at the beginning) that you just give up completely and go back down the path of drowning your sorrows in whatever calorie-laden grub you can get your hands the fastest.
DO eat! The worst thing to do is suddenly eliminate several food groups or vow to follow an absurdly restrictive diet. 

DON'T compare yourself to others or even yourself five or 10 years ago. I have a picture from four years ago I look at more often than I want to admit and wish I could go back to looking like that, but I need to base everything off of what I am now and what I can be in the future. That is the only "competition" involved.

DO realize it takes time - just like any other hard thing in life. 

DON'T copy someone's diet or workout routine because it probably won't have the same effect on you. Definitely use plenty of people and sources for ideas and motivation, but don't blindly follow your friend, roommate, yoga instructor or favorite celebrity.

DO come up with a better motivator than the mirror. I think one of my big problems is that I base my desire to eat and work out better off of simply wanting to look better. But it's about so much more: your health, your energy, how you feel, etc. What has recently struck me pretty hard is that, as a Christian (and in most religions, I believe), we are taught that our bodies are temples - essentially gifts from God. Looking at it that way, I would feel pretty terrible choosing snarfing down garbage over treating my body in the respectful manner it deserves, especially since there are certain things I never partake of (like alcohol, tobacco, etc.). So why do I justify a tub of ice cream as OK when those things are not?

DON'T start too strong. Whether you've missed a week or two months' worth of workouts, don't jump back in too fast because it will backfire.

DO set realistic goals that you can follow on a long-term basis (well, basically forever). Start slow and gradually work your way back; you'll be more likely to keep going and continue to improve your fitness.

DON'T reward yourself with food. For me, food = reward. I need to transition to food = nutrients that fuel healthy living, not just pleasure.

DO learn to listen to your body. I never bother to listen to my body because my mind is always screaming, "TREATS!" But it was loud and clear last week when it was screaming, "STOP!" It is a process, though, so be patient.

DON'T just wing your workouts. Plan them at least a week in advance so they're built into your schedule and you know what you're going to do.

DO incorporate new classes, exercises, running routes, playlists, etc. They challenge your mind and body.

DON'T feel like you have to tell people that you're trying to make a change. A lot of people say it helps hold you accountable, and if it does, great, but you should be doing it for yourself in the first place, and that should be enough.
DO post motivational quotes, pictures or other reminders in places you'll actually see them. I have plenty of these sitting on Pinterest, but I only see them if I'm on Pinterest. Hang them on mirrors, the fridge, your car, make them your phone or computer background.....anywhere you look often.

DON'T forget the power of sleep! When I get obsessed with making sure I follow through with every workout, I'll stay up until 1:30 AM if that's the only time I have to exercise....only to then get four or five hours of sleep and completely reverse any of those benefits.

DO ask yourself how you will feel after eating something before actually eating it.

DON'T get mad  at yourself or overreact when you end up not making the smartest choice, whether it's skipping a workout or forgetting that portion sizes also apply to desserts.

DO forgive yourself because you will never be perfect . . .

. . . but DON'T make excuses. I can rationalize anything. Don't.

DO take care of and love yourself because you deserve it, and DON'T you forget that!

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