If anyone ever says losing weight and following a healthy lifestyle are easy, they are lying. These are perhaps that two most difficult thing one could ever face in life (even raising a kid seems like a breeze in comparison). This is because discipline is hard, and you’ll need a lot of that to keep yourself in shape, and also because it’s not a one-time thing but a continuous, never-ending process.
In the two plus years that I’ve been on my fitness, diet journey, there have been numerous times when I’ve almost given up. There would be parties that wrecked havoc on my carefully planned diet chart, unplanned drinks with friends all too often, and temptations in the form of newly opened bakeries and restaurants. I would eat healthy and exercise for a week or two before going back to living it up, aka eating and drinking without a care in the world.
Everybody who has ever gone on a diet plan can relate to what I’m saying. This happens to everyone, over and over again, even to the most disciplined ones. The way to move forward when this happens is to brush it off and begin again immediately. People tend to fall behind because once they have that slice of cake or pizza or skip gym for a couple of days they fall into that pattern and can’t seem to shake off and resume their fitness plans again.
What I’ve discovered is that it’s okay to cheat on your fitness and diet regime if you manage to compensate for it somehow. Let’s say you have to go out for a drink with a friend on a weekday, then maybe you could walk for 30 minutes before meeting your friend or do some extra crunches and jump rope session that day. I’m not saying this is ideal but what it does is bring in a sense of control in your life and you’re more likely to not give up on your plans because of a single slip.
What works best for me is when I make plans I schedule cheat days/plans as well, and make other plans to compensate for those hiccups. For instance, last week I went out for a pizza with a friend on Monday. Since I had allowed myself two cheat incidents for that week, I went to aerobics classes four times that week instead of just three, and added two more minutes on the jump rope for that week. My mantra is if I eat extra, I work out extra. It’s as simple and basic as that.
But what about when we skimp on gym and exercise, you might wonder. The same principle works here too. If I don’t go for my aerobics classes on the scheduled day, I make sure I do something else – like walk to and from work, or cycle when I get back home – on that particular day. For everything I don’t do, I do something else. And so far, it’s helping me stay on course. Earlier if I didn’t follow my plan for a day, it would all spiral down from there but these days, because I have backup plans, I don’t lose focus.
During conversations regarding our fitness plans with family, friends, and colleagues, I’ve found that most of us tend to make such strict plans that it’s bound to fail. Inflexibility is a major deterrent when it comes to sticking to a fitness regime. And it’s easy to lose focus and motivation when you don’t end up following your plans like you promised yourself you would. The key here is making your fitness plan adapt to your lifestyle so that you make it a part of your life rather than letting it dictate and ruin it.
You have to learn to live with occasional slipups and learn to bounce back immediately (preferably within 12 hours) when you start your weight loss journey. That’s the only way you’ll be able to achieve your goals. If you let every tiny hurdle be a reason to stop, reevaluate and restart after days (weeks even), then your weight loss journey will just be a series of ups and downs that never yields any results.
Commit yourself to eating healthy. Remember you want to look and feel great, and it doesn’t matter if you slip occasionally. If a cupcake comes calling, or your friend wants you to have a drink to celebrate her promotion, then don’t let your diet plans come in the way. You deserve a day off every now and then. Just don’t let these indulgences set you on a seesaw of destructive eating habits.
Take it from me, someone who has struggled with weight loss and managed to shed some serious kilos, that you can’t let minor things – like a glass of cola, a bar of chocolates, and even a scrumptious feast on junk food – stop you from achieving your goals. You have to anticipate these incidents when you begin your weight loss journey, work on how to balance it out when it happens, and simply keep moving forward without giving up. Don’t let one ‘not- on-the-plan’ moment get you off track and make you forget the bigger picture.
Disclaimer: I’m not a fitness expert. I’m just someone who lost oodles of weight – almost 30 kilos – wanting to share my experiences hoping it will help others who are struggling with weight loss. If I could do it, so can you.