I’ve reached that stage of a new habit. Everyone reaches this at some point when they’re trying something new or different. Stop shaking your head or walking away slowly. Admit it. You start out all gung-ho and excited. You’re going to DO IT this time. You’re going to be the skinniest one in the room. You’re going to be fittest of your friends. You’re going to run that 5k and WIN.
For the first few days/weeks you’re on a roll. You’re acing your plan. Every meal is perfectly portioned. Every exercise day has a big tick next to it. You are AWESOME.
And you ARE awesome but also human. But at some point, your enthusiasm flags. Maybe you’re tired after a really long day at work and you can’t be bothered going to the gym. Maybe you wake up craving pancakes and cheese and chocolate and you tell yourself “It’s okay. It’s just today. I’ll be back tomorrow”. And tomorrow you wake up at a crossroads. Do you get back on track or do you give up? It’s not always such a clear cut decision – if it was, it would be super easy. Who really chooses to give up over staying the course? I mean, most of us do at some stage but after one day, it’s not as obvious when you’re making that choice. After one day, all it seems to be is that you’re choosing to take it easy – I mean, you’re busy at work, right? It’s the holidays, it’s too hard right now. You just don’t have the time. But you will later. You’ll start again later.
I’m at that stage right now with trying to eat healthy and exercise again. It’s been 2 weeks of enthusiasm and excitement. I’ve been losing that extra weight (only 6lbs to go!), fitting into my clothes better, feeling brilliant about myself. You’d think that this would be the ultimate in motivation, right?
Yeah, not so much. I’ve become bored and complacent. I went over my calorie budget last night by 500 calories. I’ve eaten almost my entire calories budget today already and it’s only lunchtime. I’m annoyed with myself and annoyed with the fact that cheese has a lot of calories – why in G-D’s NAME does my favourite food have so many calories? And why on EARTH did I decide to know that?
What I do now is going to influence what happens to this newly unformed habit of mine. If I choose to be grumpy about it, I’ll stop tracking entirely and give up, convinced that my weight is FINE THANKYOUVERYMUCH and maybe I’m being ridiculous to even keep trying to lose weight. Or I can choose to give myself a day or two of chilling out, eating pizza (for dinner, it was lovely) and then get back to it, knowing that this is a GOOD path and a GOOD choice. And it is a choice. Everyday is a choice. Every meal is a choice. Everytime I exercise is a choice.
Everyone has a different way of staying motivated and different reactions to blips along the way. It’s important to remember that we’re all human. Nobody is perfect. If we were perfect, none of us would be unhealthy or unfit. Sometimes you may just need to remind yourself of why you’re choosing to do this.
I’ve done this today by re-reading my archives, by remembering how good it feels to be strong and fit and healthy. Knowing that, remembering that, means I’m back on track tomorrow.