Getting back on Track with Your Health
10 Steps for Restoring Wellness with Nutrition and Exercise.
We’ve all gotten sidetracked at one time or another when it comes to healthy eating and exercise. Life happens, we get bored or we might lose sight of why we’re doing what we’re doing in the first place. It’s not the end of the world. The most important thing is recognizing what’s going on and getting back on track. It’s not the easiest thing to do, but it’s probably easier than you might think – especially if you use these 10 steps for restoring your health and wellness to guide you along the way.
- Acknowledge that you’ve gotten off track. As with anything, this is the critical first step – acknowledging that we’re not happy with the way things are going or that we want them to improve. It’s hard to make any changes if we don’t do this first. This isn’t meant to judge or to be hard on ourselves. It’s just looking at the situation in a very matter-of-fact way and recognizing that we want something to be different.
- Track macros and other nutrients if possible. I am not a proponent of this on a regular basis because it’s too easy to get obsessed with it, but it is a beneficial exercise to do for a week or so if we feel like we’ve gotten off track from where we want to be. Unless weight loss is your goal, that’s not how this is meant to be used. This is primarily to let us see how many carbs and how much sugar we’re really taking in every day. That’s not to say that either of these are necessarily bad, but if they are the wrong types of each, they could be among the culprits for us not feeling our best. Complex carbs and natural sugar from whole fruits and vegetables are usually okay. But if we’ve gotten off track, it may be that we’re eating too many processed foods which tend to be loaded with simple carbs and added sugar. While eating those types of food every now and then is okay, we have to be careful that “every now and then” doesn’t become every day. Tracking what we’re eating and figuring out what that really meant for our numbers that day is an eye-opening way to recognize where we may be getting off track. Keeping up with other nutrients is all the better. If we can make a connection between something we might have been low in for the day or for a few days in a row and how we were feeling those days, it can be very helpful in recognizing where corrections need to be made.
- Accept responsibility. When we get off track, it’s very easy to blame outside circumstances and to convince ourselves that we really didn’t have control over the situation. Life does happen, but we need to recognize that’s it’s still our choice as to how we handle different situations. Again, this doesn’t mean that we should be beating ourselves up, but it does mean that we should recognize where we’ve made our choices and what the consequences of those choices were. It’s truly an empowering truth. We are the only ones responsible for our health and wellbeing. While our life circumstances may change from month to month or even day to day, and we do have to be flexible, it’s still our choice as to whether we find a way to do the things that keep us healthy or not.
- Think about how you’re currently feeling and how you felt when you were feeling good or at least better. This exercise is most effective if the responses can be written down. That way we can easily compare the two and recognize how we want to be feeling and whether that’s different than how we’re currently feeling.
- List your current challenges to eating healthy or exercising. The more specific we can get with this, the better. Don’t just say, “I don’t have enough time right now.” If we had time at one point, we can find it again. If it’s that “The kids are out of school for the summer, and our schedule is very unpredictable,” then say that. Or, if it’s that you’re planning certain meals at the beginning of the week and then don’t find them very appealing when it comes time to make them, admit that. Or, “I’m in a food rut, and it’s all just boring right now.” Say that. Be honest. No one is judging us on our answers, but the more specific we can be on what our current roadblocks are, the more specific the solutions can be.
- Set new goals – short-term and long-term. We have to start where we are with this, not where we were previously. If it’s that cooking meals at home has become more difficult, we can’t rely on the fact that we were cooking at home every night at one point. If that’s no longer happening for whatever reason, it’s no longer happening. While it’s critical that we set short-term goals to get us where we want to be, it’s also important to set long-term ones as well. Sometimes we get off track because we lose sight of the big picture of what we want for ourselves in the first place, and sometimes this happens because the long-term goals we once set no longer fit. That’s fine. Re-evaluate and set new ones.
- Get specific with possible solutions. Once we know what our current challenges and new goals are, we can list possible specific solutions. The more specific we can be with this, the better. If cooking meals at home again is a goal, then get back to a reasonable starting point of saying that three to four meals for the first week is what we’re shooting for. Once we’re back in the habit, it will become more natural again. If getting exercise in has become difficult, aim for two to three days for the first week.
- Recruit a partner or partners to help you. This is huge because accountability and support can make the difference between whether we’re able to get back on track or not. The most important thing is that it’s someone we feel okay being completely honest with and who won’t judge us because we were doing great and have now gotten sidetracked. This can be one person or many people – whatever works best. If putting it all out there on social media and asking for help and support that way feels comfortable, then by all means, go for it. The main thing is that a support network is in place.
- Adopt a positive attitude about health and wellness goals. If it’s not something that excites us or makes us feel good, it’s not going to work – again. Drudgery is not what we’re going for here, and if that’s how we’re feeling about it, then that’s probably why we got sidetracked in the first place. Really recognizing why we’re doing what we’re doing and the impact it’s going to have on our overall wellbeing can help get us back in the right frame of mind.
- Give yourself some grace. This is probably one of the most important steps we can take when getting back on track. We are not perfect. No one is. But that doesn’t mean we don’t keep trying. Beating ourselves up because we didn’t get exercise in one day or that we had two days of eating foods that we knew weren’t good for us isn’t going to help anything. We have to simply accept it, think about it enough to figure out why we made the choices we did and work to make choices we do feel good about the next day.
Getting sidetracked doesn’t mean we’re failing, and it doesn’t mean we can’t still accomplish our health goals. Sometimes getting sidetracked shows us where tweaks need to be made in what we’re working for in the first place, and sometimes getting off course just happens. It’s all okay. The most important thing is that we learn from it and move on toward our best life possible.
Lean on Your Community
If you need help or support in getting back on track, leave a comment below, head over to the Peppermint Tea & Me Facebook page or to keep it more private, feel free to email me at [email protected].