Getting back on track: A Practical Guide

If you’re struggling to get back on track with healthy eating, don’t get discouraged. Many of us experience this. Yes, it can be challenging, but…it’s not impossible to fix.

As a clinical weight loss specialist helping women with their health and weight management for decades, I’ve seen this struggle many times and saw some amazing comebacks..

In this practical guide, I’ll share some of the tips people have used successfully after experiencing a serious ‘Eat Everything’ followed by ‘Regret Everything’ stage. Hopefully you’ll like a few that will work for you as well.

The Cycle of falling off the wagon and getting back on track

This is the usual cycle of falling off the wagon and getting back on track with healthy eating and exercise

Understanding the Cycle

Before looking at my suggestions, you should ask yourself why you fall off the track. Often, it starts with a teenie weeny slip-up which then spirals into a cycle of negative thoughts and behaviours.

For instance, an initial little indulgence might lead to feelings of guilt or shame, which then triggers negative self-talk. And when that starts, an all-or-nothing type of decision might follow. Like ‘Heck. What’s the use? I’ve blown my diet anyway.’

The next step is usually several more unhealthy choices (because by now we don’t care anymore). And instead of picking ourselves up and getting back on track the next day, sometimes we linger for several weeks without doing anything about it.

It’s pretty common to give up on a healthy eating plan for several months in a row, just because of one initial slip up.

But I bet when you see it written out like this, it does seem a bit bizarre, doesn’t it?

The good news? This frustrating cycle can be interrupted at any point.
So here are the tips…

Changing Your Mindset

The first step in getting back on track is shifting your mindset about a temporary set back.

Let’s say that instead of half a pizza you ate the entire thing by yourself. Instead of allowing this to turn into a downward spiral, see it as an opportunity to work out how you can avoid it the next time.

And image of a woman looking guilty, thinking 'Oh no! If I eat this last piece, I've eaten the whole pizza by myself!'

When ‘just one more slice’ turns into an entire pizza…..

Find out why this happened. And once you pinpoint it, put a plan into action to stop it from happening again.

Think back how this started. Were you really hungry before this meal and that’s why couldn’t stop at half a pizza? Would it have helped to eat a mixed salad with some roasted veggies with a nice dressing before the pizza to stop crazy hunger? Or some raw veggie sticks with hummus?

This sort of pre-loading takes the edge off your hunger and creates a ‘sensible decision opportunity’ before taking that first bite of the pizza.

So, here’s the deal: figuring out why this happened and then coming up with a game plan to avoid it next time can really help you get back on track.

Another Step for Getting Back on Track

Getting back on track doesn’t have to wait for a specific day. One does not have to wait for a Monday (unless today is Monday) or wait until after your sister’s wedding. You can actually start right now.

Any day and any time is a good time to make a positive change.

Another tip to get your motivation back is to reconnect with your reasons for starting this journey. Remember why did you wanted to do this in the first place?

Was it for health reasons? To feel more confident? For a special event or for your holidays? Once you remember your ‘why’, and what it would feel like to reach your goal, it is so motivating…and then BOOM…at the next meal, you could be back on plan.

Happy woman eating a healthy breakfast

She’s back on track with a healthy breakfast

Plus, it doesn’t have to be a full-on entire lifestyle overhaul. That can be a bit daunting. Even mini actions will lay the groundwork for your longer-term success and get you excited again about taking back your power.

Talking of prepping…..

One of the biggest hurdles to staying on plan is not having the right foods at home. Being unprepared for a ‘snack attack’ or lacking the right ingredients for a decent meal when you’re tired or stressed, can totally derail even the best intentions. Therefore, take some time out to plan what you may wish to eat over the next few days.

The next step on from there: get yourself down to the supermarket to buy helpful foods. Including helpful snack ingredients.

Stressed woman in mesy kitchen after batch cooking

Batch cooking the wrong way can be time consuming and messy.And there is no need whatsoever to set aside a whole day of prepping, unless of course you want to. But who’s got time for that? I don’t.

My way is to batch cook as I go along.

When I make soup, I cook a bit more and freeze the leftovers for a busy day. Same with a stew. And within a few days, I’ll have plenty of time-saving options to keep me going in the right direction. You can do the same.

Dealing with Obstacles

Overcoming challenges like emotional eating, social pressure, or lack of time does take some effort. Start by understanding your triggers and then find ways to shift your focus away from eating.

Then think about some coping strategies, like deep breathing, meditation, or journaling. All these can help manage your emotions when you’re facing obstacles.

But one of the main keys in the process is Self-Compassion. If there’s a slip up, (and there will be one) be kind to yourself, knowing that progress, not perfection, is the goal.

Progress, not perfection, is the goal.

Replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Plus it helps when you surround yourself with supportive people who understand and encourage your goals.

Consider the following strategies to get you over the hurdles:

  • Set realistic expectations, understanding that change takes time and setbacks are normal.
  • Stay connected to your ‘why’ by regularly reminding yourself of the reasons you started this journey.
  • Practice emotional control techniques to better handle challenging situations.

Keeping the Motivation Going

Last but not least, let’s talk about staying motivated for the long haul. It’s not just about the number on the scale – celebrate and get happy about other wins too! Notice how your energy improves or how your favourite clothes fit better.

Keep things from becoming boring: try new recipes or switch up your workouts. And as you achieve your mini-goals, always set yourself new challenges to keep the excitement fresh and alive.

One of my favourite ways to stay motivated is to visualize myself achieving my goals. It’s such a powerful way to reinforce commitment. Professional athletes use this method all the time. If it works for them, I know it can help you as well.

And when things get tough, lean on your support network – that’s what we’re here for. Join us in our close-knit VIP support Vegan Wellness Club on Facebook and you’ll get to chat with helpful women on a similar path as you’re on. You’ll receive a helpful menu with slimming recipes and my daily support.

OK, now, over to you: What’s one small thing you’ll do today to get back on track?  Your ideas could be exactly what someone else needs to hear!

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