A frequently asked question is “How do I start again after I lose motivation/stop/don’t train for a while/stop eating healthy?”
We always say healthy eating is a lifestyle change, not a diet. It sounds like a cliché but it is true.
In the real world our behaviors are not uniform. Every day is not the same, every week varies, and life can be entirely different month to month. While overall life may be oriented towards one particular path (working/learning, eating well, exercising, or a combination of these or many others), the intensity with which we pursue what we deem valuable will vary over time.
Sometimes you are more ‘on it’, sometimes less so, but you’re still on the same general road.
Ideally we want to create a healthy lifestyle rather than embark upon diets. This means that periods when you don’t stick to what is optimal are normal, expected, and a part of the journey, rather than a deviation from it.
Even if you sometimes stop and go backwards, the important thing is to stay on the road: a meal, a day, a week, a month of being ‘off track’ doesn’t matter in the long run. You just need to pick back up and start moving again… but how?
If you were 100% ‘on it’ a few months ago then fell off, you have to ask yourself – why?
Did circumstances change? Was the strategy unsustainable to begin with? Did your priorities change?
Once you know the answer to these you can start to think about ways to adapt what you were doing to your current needs. You can’t always expect yourself to start doing what you were doing before if you’re not in the same environment, situation, or mental space. Act accordingly.
Once you’ve worked that out, you need to pick only 1-3 things to start with, and start. They may not be perfect, they may not be ‘as good as’ what you were doing before, but they can put you in a better position tomorrow. Once you start you can change your approach and adjust things when you’re ready, but the important thing is to simply start.
Taking a break is a part of a healthy lifestyle, not an abandonment of it.
Work out why you took the break, or where you are now vs where you were then, and set your expectations accordingly.
Pick a few things to tackle right away, and tackle them.
Adjust as you go.
It may seem that simple, however in practice it can be a little harder. The principle is there regardless.
Oftentimes the thing preventing you from dusting yourself off and starting again is the lack of knowing where to start. Fix that and start moving. The rest can be worked out on the fly.
The article is based on the newsletter of the UK based BTN Academy.