Tell me if this sounds familiar…
You’ve woken up one day and decided to start getting your “shit together” and losing weight.
You decide to start making healthier food choices, you join a gym and you start to take care of your health.
This initial spark of excitement drives you forward and you start to make good progress.
You get into a good habit of training, you start eating less junk food, you’re drinking less alcohol and you’re creating good habits.
As a result, the weight starts dropping off.
You’ve gone down in clothes sizes, you’re feeling more energetic and everything seems to be going smoothly.
After eight to twelve months of doing this, you’ve totally changed the way you look and feel.
You’ve become a totally different person and you feel amazing.
Then, something seems to rock the boat…
Sometimething happens that causes you to move backward.
You say yes to going out for drinks one night.
One drink turns into twelve drinks and you have some Mcdonald’s on the way home.
You wake up Sunday morning with the worst hangover, you’re bloated and feel terrible.
You’re sitting there remembering this is what it used to be like before you started taking care of your health and fitness.
Going out and drinking used to be a regular occurrence for you and you wonder how you did it because right now, you don’t want to do it again.
Even though you feel horrible, you want something greasy.
You decide to deviate from your good nutrition habits on Sunday and eat whatever you want because you feel so terrible.
“it’s only one day,” you tell yourself and you’ll get back on track Monday.
You wake up Monday morning and still feel the effects of your hangover.
You skip the gym and decide that you’ll go for the rest of the week.
It Keeps Going
When lunchtime comes around you decide that you’re not going to eat your normal chicken salad and you put in the order for Thai food like everyone else at work.
Instead of the chicken stir fry, you get fried pork and noodles.
You continue making bad choices during the week and skipping the gym for the next two weeks.
You continue to go out drinking and eating whatever you want.
It’s like your body is rebelling.
You can see it in front of your eyes but you can’t seem to stop yourself from making bad choices and going back to your old habits.
Then all of your hard work begins to unravel.
Six weeks later, you’re up a few kilos, your clothes feel tight, you’re fitness level has decreased and you’re lying there wondering why you can’t just “pull yourself together” and get back on track.
It Happens To Everyone
I just want to let you know that you’re not alone.
Everyone goes through these ebbs and flows during their fitness journey and it’s easy to let all of the hard work you put in slowly disappear.
The reason this happens is that you’ve got old habits that have been ingrained for years and the body likes those old habits.
Eating junk food and sitting around doing nothing is what the body loves to do because it’s easy.
It’s more pleasurable to order Thai food with your work colleagues and eat a fried tasty meal as opposed to eating a chicken salad that most of your coworkers judge you for.
The same goes for drinking on the weekend. When you get drunk and have fun with your friends while eating whatever you want, it’s fun.
Whether you like the feeling of being hungover or not, the experiences and relaxation you have when drinking is what the body remembers.
That’s why it’s easy to get roped back in.
But if you want to take care of your health and fitness then you have to be able to rein it in and you’re not going to be able to drink and eat whatever you want.
While this does suck for the most part, you know you’re better off for it.
So if you feel like you’ve been letting all of your good habits unravel and you need to stop yourself from going any further, here’s what you need to do…
How To Fix It
Swallow Your Ego
You can’t compare yourself to your past. If you were at a point where you were at peak fitness levels, that’s most likely not going to happen again anytime soon. So you can’t compare yourself to your past and you have to swallow your ego. This was hard in my situation because I was comparing myself from being a single personal trainer being 21 who didn’t drink to a 24-year-old who loves to drink, date and eat good food.
I’m not that guy anymore and you’re not your old self, you are who you are and you have to swallow your pride and start from where you are now. Do not let your ego tell you that you can go back to exactly who you were because you can’t, not right now anyway.
Be Patient And Start Small
You’re not going to be able to make a change overnight. You can’t quit your bad habits, start living like a saint and expect everything to be sunshine and rainbows because it doesn’t happen like that. Unless you have traumatic life experience and can change everything on a whim, you’re going to have to play the patience game and start small.
Start with choosing one meal to fix in your diet. If you’ve been binge eating at dinner or you’ve been eating terribly at lunch, work on that part of your diet first. Once you start to make a healthy change with one of your meals, it will have a knock-on effect on the rest of your meals for the day.
If you’ve gone from not exercising at all, set yourself a goal of exercising once a week.
That’s not to say you can only exercise once a week, but have that as a goal and move up from there. If you set a goal for once a week and you exercise three times, that’s great. But don’t set a goal of exercising five times and you only go three times because that will make you feel bad.
It’s a weird mental trick you have to play on yourself but trust me it works.
Be Better Than Yesterday
You’re going to get back on track with these good habits and you can get back to where you were before it all started to fall apart but it will take time. There will still be days where you mess up and there will be times where it feels like its’ all unravelling again but don’t worry.
As long as you are always aiming to be better than yesterday you can keep yourself on track.
This is going to happen from time to time but if you can catch yourself early, you start to make small habit changes to get back to where you were, everything will be ok.
You’ve got this.