Thanksgiving is over in the USA, and we’re fast approaching holiday and vacation time for many around the world, and food is a big part of a celebration in most cultures. We’re coming up on a time that can test even those with strong willpower. I consider myself to have moderate willpower when it comes to food. But when I go to town, I go to town! And it happens to everyone at some point. You set up healthy eating goals, and something comes up that sabotages them.
Anyone who tries to eat a healthy diet on a regular basis experiences the frustration of trying to maintain it when eating at a restaurant, someone else’s place, during a party or for other reasons. Regardless of why you backslid, instead of getting upset about it, first figure out why it happened and then quickly get yourself back on track. Some of the common reasons include:
- Social commitments
- Lack of motivation
- Lack of confidence
- Discouragement with slow progress
- Problems with family or friends
- Impulse eating
My two biggest issues are social commitments and impulse eating. If something is there, I will eat it, even if I shouldn’t. I’m lactose intolerant, but if anyone brings chocolate around me, I’ll eat it…all of it!
Some tips to beat backsliding
Once you figured out why it happened, find out how to overcome it. What caused you to backslide? For example, if boredom caused you to backslide, find something to do to overcome it, such as taking a walk or reading. When it’s the result of thought patterns, it helps if you recognize those thoughts, shut them down when they begin, and then focus on the benefits of staying on track.
Remember why you started your journey. Work through and resolve any negative feelings that are starting to become self-fulfilling prophecies. Remind yourself that even the strongest individuals can relapse.
Remove yourself from distractions. If you can, limit your interactions with people and places that enable you to go off course. It’s hard when it’s family, friends or at work but people that try to minimize your successes are probably not that good for you.
Get back to your plans. You started this journey for a reason, so get back to it as soon as possible. For example, if you consume too much or not enough food at dinner one day, return to healthy eating the next day.
Record your food. Even though it can get tiresome, it will help keep you accountable. You don’t have to get down to in-depth details, but taking a couple of minutes to make your list can help you stay on a healthier course. A tool like myfitnesspal.com can help.
Take cues from your stomach. Your stomach knows when you’re full. If you’ve eaten your regular portion but still feel like eating, wait 20 minutes and see if you’re still hungry. If you are, then eat, if you’re not, don’t overindulge because the food is there.
Connect with supportive friends or family members. These are people that want you to succeed and can give positive feedback to help you push through, especially when you feel like you’re about to relapse.
Reward yourself. Give yourself encouraging feedback for your successes, especially when you initially restart. It can help you stay motivated.
Everyone backslides sometimes, so don’t give up! Treat it as an opportunity to learn and push through.
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