Diet and exercise… what derails you?
How to stick to a fitness plan? Well, ‘in time of peace prepare for war’. A very famous quote and a great way to approach the threats and challenges that are out there, ready to derail you from your exercise plan or diet! By prepping and preparing when things are going well, you’ll be ready for when things get tough!
I’ve talked a little bit about how to prepare for social eating occasions and how to approach them with a healthy mindset, but what about other types of challenges? What other barriers stop you from sticking to a workout regime?
There are external barriers like when plans change unexpectedly, or not having enough time, having to go to work, carer commitments, injuries etc.
Then there are internal challenges, like when you get stressed, bored, upset, excited (any emotion really!) that make it difficult to be healthy.
So let’s prepare for how to stick to a fitness plan:
Make a plan of defense!
I wrote this blog post on things to do instead of snacking after dinner, but what other work can we do to better equip ourselves for overcoming challenges? They often pop up when we are least prepared so it is a good idea to spend some time on this when you are feeling good (often the time you feel you don’t need to).
Spend some time thinking about what makes healthy choices difficult and have a plan or some strategies for if this comes up. Reflect on what has worked and not worked for you before. Remember to include being kind to yourself and some positive words for when you are doing the best you can!
Here are some of the challenges for me, and how I prepare for them:
*Disclaimer – these do not work 100% of the time for me! Be kind to yourself.
Challenge: Working long hours
Preparation/planning: Make meals the night before, use pre-made freezer meals if need to. Go to bed early, get up early. Drink plenty of water and take stretch breaks during the day. Set an alarm, get gym clothes ready the night before.
Challenge: Suddenly asked out to dinner
Preparation/planning: Think about whether you really want to go. If not, say No – it’s ok! Reschedule for another time. If you do want to go, save your prepared meal for the next day. Think about how you want to approach the meal without over-analysing! If you need to prepare your food or exercise for the next day, do it before you go out!
Challenge: An injury
Preparation/planning: Think about what fitness means to you, remember this is a journey not an end point. Take some rest, consume food and drink that nourishes your body and soul. Health right now looks like healing and that’s ok. What else can you use this time for? Reflection? Journaling? Gentle stretching?
Challenge: Just wanting to keep eating
Preparation/planning: Ask yourself why? Am I genuinely hungry? If so, eat. If not, that about what is really bothering you and causing the agitation. Are you bored, worried, upset? You might find there is something quite small niggling at you that can be worked through, rather than buried with food. Overeating may effect your motivation to workout and to stick to your fitness plan. Choose something from here to do instead!
Challenge: Life gets in the way
Preparation/planning: This one is tricky. I talked on my last day of Rachael Attard’s Lean Legs review about managing competing priorities and being clear what is important to you. If you are putting your fitness program at the top of your priority list, what does this really look like in daily practice?
What activities will get bumped down the order? Is this an ongoing priority set up, or do you have a goal/end date in mind before a change of seasons and re-ordering your priorities?
Check out my page on how to stick with a diet and workout program by getting clear on your priorities and what health looks like to you.
Sometimes it’s a case of being prepared, planning ahead and knowing that you’re doing the best you can when things pop up or situations change. You can’t control everything and sometimes life really does get in the way and you just need to accept it and move forward.
Other times, you will have a choice. Sleep in or exercise? Go out to the movies or prepare your lunches for the week? There are no right or wrong answers – it is your life and your journey. By preparing beforehand (in times of peace!) you can see your priorities clearly when challenges arise, and know how to stick to your fitness plan.
What challenges do you face when striving for health? How do you prepare and plan for these times? Are you spending your time and energy where you want to?
Frequently Asked Questions
A macro meal plan is about getting the right balance of protein, fat and carbs. It can be tricky to calculate yourself, but there are tools to help you and ‘ready-done’ easy macro meal plans to follow.
Are you getting enough sleep? Sleep and appetite can be connected and lack of sleep may be behind your case of the munchies!