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Taking a break from healthy eating and/or exercise is inevitable at some point in our lives, whether that be when we are on holiday, busy with a chaotic week or two at work, moving house or when we are unwell or injured. So how do you get back on track after a break in routine?
Here are a few of our top tips.
1. DON’T “WAIT UNTIL MONDAY” TO GET STARTED
Getting back into routine as soon as possible will increase your chances of achieving your health and fitness goals. One of the biggest factors underpinning procrastination is the belief that we have to feel motivated to complete a task at a certain time. However, the reality of the situation is that if you are always waiting until you are in the right frame of mind to get started, you will likely find that the right time never comes and you simply never get back to your usual routine or make the changes necessary to achieve your goals.
· Do a grocery shop the day you get back from holiday or after a break from healthy eating to ensure the fridge, freezer and pantry are well stocked with nutritious ingredients.
· Schedule regular physical activity into your diary like any other important appointment for the week.
2. AVOID SKIPPING MEALS
I understand the temptation to skip meals following a period of overindulgence, especially if your goal is weight loss. However, this will only increase your chances of falling off track when true physical hunger eventually sets in and may even result in binge eating behaviours.
· Stick to a regular eating schedule.
· At minimum focus on 3 good main meals. Snacks are not necessary if you previously weren’t snacking between meals.
· If your usual routine includes 1-2 snacks per day, make nutritious choices e.g. fresh fruit, low fat Greek yoghurt, handful of mixed nuts/seeds, wholegrain crackers with reduced fat cheese and tomato.
3. SET A GOAL AND TIMELINE
Without a goal and timeline to work towards, it is very difficult to put changes in place and stick to them.
· Choose SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely). For example, “to lose 10kg over the next 2 months” or “to improve my 3RM bench press by 5kg over the next 10 weeks” rather than “weight loss” or “increased strength”.
· Break up this overarching goal into specific things you need to change to achieve that goal. For example, if your SMART goal is to lose 10kg over the next 2 months, you may need to replace soft drink with water or diet varieties, reduce your intake of fast food to no more than once a week or increase your intake of fruit and vegetables.
4. MAKE SUSTAINABLE CHANGES
If you don’t see yourself following a particular diet or exercise regime 5 years down the track, it’s likely not going to achieve sustainable results. Realistic and sustainable changes produce long term results as we are less likely to jump at any chance to deviate significantly off track when given the opportunity.
· Only change aspects of your diet and exercise regime that you feel you can stick to long term.
· Understand that change is hard, and results take time (longer than we often want or expect). A quick fix is like putting a band aid on an open wound. It may stop some of the bleeding initially but won’t last long.
· If you want a quicker fix in the short term, AND the long term, see a dietitian.
5. LEARN FROM EXPERIENCE
Use the break as an opportunity to learn. If you had your time over, could you have done anything differently to minimise the damage? In some cases, no. For example, if work is chaotic with a few 50 hour weeks in a row, it is unlikely you will have time for your usual planned physical activity. However, you could have improved mental focus at work and prevented negative shifts in body composition by ordering from a meal delivery service instead of relying on high fat, high kJ takeaways most days.
· Reflect on your time away/break from healthy choices.
· Implement strategies before your next break/holiday to ensure you are still achieving goals or at the very least maintaining progress.
· Learn from previous mistakes and put strategies in place to prevent the same slip ups next time you are away on holiday or taking a break from healthy eating/exercise.
Breaks from healthy eating and lifestyle choices are inevitable and are a normal part of life. There are always going to be detours we need to navigate around on our journey towards our goals. In many instances, these roadblocks will be out of our control but there are things we can do to mitigate the damage, get back on track as soon as possible and even learn from these experiences so we don’t repeat the same mistake again. Try a few of these tips moving forward, and don’t be afraid to let us know the great results you get - @fuelyourlifeaus
Fuel Your Life is an award-winning nationwide company with dietitians available to clients in all areas of the country. For more tips, be sure to check out our Instagram page @fuelyourlifeaus, or to find your closest dietitian, get in touch with our team today via our website www.fuelyourlife.com.au