We all mess up at one point or another on our fitness journey. When it does happen, it’s rough to deal with; we either beat ourselves up for it and then punish ourselves by getting even stricter on the diet or let it lead to a free for all binge and tell ourselves that we’ll just restart tomorrow. Either way, it’s not good or healthy or helpful to yourself in any way whatsoever.
Going on a diet is really tough. At first you start off kind of excited and optimistic about how positive this is, how great you’re going to look and feel and how you’ll finally see a lower number on the bathroom scale. Sometimes the diet works well and you’re disciplined, staying on track and not even feeling restricted at all. Other times willpower goes down drain after a few days or weeks and then it’s all over and you’re back to your old habits. The latter is what typically happens when you go too extreme, too strict and too intense right from the get-go and you try to completely overhaul every aspect of your life without considering whether or not you can actually maintain it. However, I find that the former mentioned above is just as dangerous. You change your lifestyle, stick with it and find a great balance for your overall health, but then, at some point comes the slip up. The moment where you either overdo it on a treat meal, sneak in an extra snack or two, or add just a touch more of peanut butter to your meal. Then comes all the negativity coupled with that. I’m sure you’ll agree when I say that it’s all internal dialogue that throws you into a tailspin of bullying yourself. It’s a bit shocking when you become aware of the negative self-talk that goes on; you would never say or even think any of this stuff toward anyone else who was struggling or got off track. And yet we do it to ourselves all the time. Anytime we’re not “perfect” or aren’t sticking to something full force, we beat ourselves down and ruin the opportunity to have actual self-esteem.
The good news is that there is definitely a shift going on where there’s more of a focus on health and wellness as opposed to just weight loss and quick fixes. However these are still marketing ploys by companies trying to sell you a product, usually some kind of snack food or diet plan that’s probably not as in line with “clean eating” as they proclaim (keep in mind that organic, natural or even healthy are labels that anyone can use without any regulation whatsoever). That’s not to say that these companies and their marketing are evil, but this is just a simple reminder to read your ingredient and nutritional labels. That being said I can attest to the fact that it’s certainly nice to have more positive advertisements out there today and hopefully it will have a great impact on everyone, so that we can all start to appreciate where we are at now and better understand the importance of prioritizing good health.
I myself have slipped up many times, even during my contest prep. Where a weekly treat meal would turn into an entire day, one little bite more would turn into two or three and where the intention to eat a balanced, planned “cheat” would become a big plate pasta instead. Even the most disciplined and dedicated have their moments. Last year during my prep although my coach advocated balanced weekly treat meals, they were more like fatty, carb rich days. Thankfully my discipline muscle got stronger with time and I was able to see past the treats and no longer feel restricted or tempted and ultimately I made it to the stage looking pretty freaking amazing. This time around it’s a bit different; everything is second nature from the two-a-day workouts, the meal prep and nutrient timing, it all feels automatic. This makes slip ups (however rare) that much more painful. Prime example was yesterday. After meal #2 I was still feeling like I wanted to eat more and I wasn’t satisfied. I knew exactly what I wanted; peanut butter on toast. It sounds innocent enough, but the combo of carbs with fat can be a major deterrent in any muscle building or fat loss regiment. PB on toast is one of my biggest vices (along with cashews and coconut ice cream). So one slice led two which led to a big piece of cake. Yup, one small thing led to a big extra meal of overeating and extra calories.
What I’ve realized through this and all of my latest slip ups is that I’m no longer rationalizing with myself that it’s no big deal or that as long as I enjoyed that’s all that matters. In reality I know the impact that this will have on me, my progress and my goals. Thankfully this awareness has also enabled me to avoid all the negative self-talk that I used to have and now I just accept it and move one. I just choose for this to be my treat meal for the week (even though it was totally unbalanced and unplanned) so that I can keep going and stick with my plan.
I’ve been in contest prep for a long time. Last year it lasted 8 months and following my show I was still on a regiment, still working out 6 days a week and still doing meal prep. Even though this prep will be shorter than the last (4 months) it’s still a long process. I think the fact that I haven’t taken a full week off from working out in well over a year is probably playing part in this too. Sometimes you do need a break, but soemtimes you just have to power through. So instead of taking time away from the gym or continuously eating more than what is on my plan, I’m going to get to bed earlier to get more rest and try mixing up my recipes a bit to keep it interesting and delicious. As for yesterday, well that’s all in the past and I’ve already moved on from it without any self-criticism. If I can do that then so can you. The next time you find yourself slipping up and punishing yourself for it, just remember that it’s done and what you do next is what really matters. You can move on from it and better yourself by choosing to do what’s best for you going forward.
Start It, Finish It