Behold, the proverbial wagon.
For some reason the fitness and nutrition wagon is extremely difficult to stay on. People are constantly falling off, right and left. Every time someone falls off, a little damage is done, an injury occurs. I have an image in my mind of someone falling off the wagon, accumulating scrapes and bruises in the process, then tentatively climbing back on, knowing that being on top of the wagon is the best place to be.
What does life on top of this fitness and nutrition wagon look like to you? When you are “on the wagon”, what do you envision? I bet you see workouts done consistently. You probably see healthy meals. You might even see tracking, charting, prepping, focusing, showing up, busting out, and getting it done.
Obviously, being on the fitness and nutrition wagon is the place to be. This is how you will steadily roll forward toward your goals. This is where you will always feel the healthiest. This is where your body will be clicking and humming.
Whenever you fall of the wagon, it hurts.
Your pride is damaged. Guilt bruises you. Feelings of failure entangle you. And it’s always harder to climb back on.
So why do you fall off? Here are the most common reasons why:
If you find yourself constantly on-again-then-off-again, which of the reasons above is the most obvious culprit? Make sure you pause and identify this.
Knowing what derails you from your fitness and nutrition is essential.
What can you do to stop falling off the wagon?
1. First, have a tangible and realistic plan in place. If you’re just showing up to this class or that class, popping in a workout video here or there, and flying by the seat of your pants, it is incredibly easy to drop things because you don’t feel like you’re getting anywhere. Have a black and white plan with every workout scheduled out.
2. Make sure you have at least two layers of accountability. Accountability is anything beyond yourself that provides motivation and helps you stay the course. One layer of accountability could be simply journaling your meals and checking off your workouts. Another layer could be having a friend asking you daily what steps you’ve taken to reach your goals. Another layer of accountability could be hiring a trainer to set you on the right path and then ensuring you adhere to it. The more layers of accountability you have, the better.
3. Saturate yourself in the fitness and nutrition world. I guarantee that one of the reasons I rarely, if ever, fall of the wagon is that I am completely saturated in fitness and nutrition. All of the Instagram accounts I follow are nutrition, strength and yoga gurus. I am on several email lists of leaders in the industry. When I hop on Pinterest, I’m always looking for healthy recipes to try and inspirational fitness tips. It’s pervasive.
Obviously, this is my professional life so it’s natural for me, but if you expect to keep yourself on the wagon, you should be absorbed to a certain degree, too.
4. Create “pressure release valves”. What are your weaknesses? Is chocolate a weakness? Or garlicky French bread? Perhaps a nice glass of cabernet? Know what your weakness is and then create ways to indulge in that craving while staying in control.
If ice cream is your special indulgence, but somebody told you that you couldn’t have it for the next 4 weeks, what would happen? The pressure from that craving would build so high that you would eventually burst, binge and fall off the wagon. It becomes the forbidden fruit that you want so bad! It’s better to indulge a little at a time in a controlled setting to keep releasing the pressure.
5. Lower the height of the wagon. Is your fitness and nutrition wagon rollin’ on 22’s? Good grief, girl! If you set your standards so high, it’s no wonder you fall off. Lower your expectations (I know this sounds bad, but trust me).
What sounds more doable for a beginner: doing 5 workouts per week or doing 2 workouts per week? Clearly, setting the standard of 2 workouts per week is much more doable for a beginner. If you set your expectations at a realistic level, you will rarely fall off.
6. Celebrate every victory, even tiny ones. Discouragement can quickly derail you. If your goal is to lose 30 pounds, and you feel discouraged with only a 2-pound weight loss, you’re looking at it all wrong. Celebrate the heck out of that 2-pound weight loss! And then continue celebrating every single victory along the way.
7. Lean on Jesus. This last point could be a game-changer. If you believe in Jesus, then you have a giant Helper on your side. Don’t discount this. You have His Holy Spirit living inside of you, providing you with His perseverance, courage and self-control that you would be unable to muster up yourself.
Do you remember that one of the Gifts of the Spirit is self-control? He will give you His measure of self-control when you have none.
When you reach the end of your rope and notice that you’re about to fall off the wagon, press into Him for strength to continue on. He’ll give it to you, I promise.
All of these tips should be helpful the next time you feel like you're sliding off the fitness and nutrition wagon. Even so, it will inevitably happen from time to time. Learn from it, think about what triggered the fall and see how you can prevent it in the future. But above all, brush yourself off and get back up. Every time.
What helps you whenever you feel like you've fallen off the wagon? Do have anything that helps you stay the course when life is pushing you off the wagon? Share with us below!
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Megan P. Dahlman
Hi friend! I'm a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist, Precision Nutrition Certified Coach, Wife to Scott, and Mom to two crazy boys, Calvin & Peter. I train hard, eat well, rest just enough to keep going, and do my best to maintain a heavenly perspective. I'd love to coach you to do the same. Cheers!
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