What do you do when the inevitable diet or exercise setback happens?
It might be an injury that prevents exercise, an emotional event that causes you to overeat or a simple slip-up.
I know it’s easy to give up.
But according to my new friend Linda Spangle (a top-selling author and emotional eating expert) …
You can overcome these setbacks and get right back on track as long as you have the right strategies.
As a special favor, I asked Linda to write up her thoughts on the subject …
A couple of months ago, I headed out the door to take Peppy, my cocker spaniel, for a walk. About a block from my house, I slipped on some loose dirt and fell down — hard — on the sidewalk.
After I caught my breath, I did a full-body check. Everything seemed to be intact, other than a badly scraped knee. And, of course, an injured ego.
Or so I thought.
The next morning, everything hurt. I couldn’t even take a deep breath without pain rushing through me. The diagnosis? A bruised rib.
This fall came at an awful time. My schedule was filled, and I didn’t have any time to lie in bed to recover. So I loaded myself up with ibuprofen and just kept pushing.
The one thing I could not continue, however, was my exercise program. At least not for a few weeks …
As the days went by, I gradually began to heal. Physically, that is.
My spirit took a nosedive. I had worked hard to build up my exercise program, and suddenly, I felt back at square 1.
To console myself, I slid into a haze of ice cream and cookies. While that comforted me for a while, I soon felt worse because I was unhappy about my eating.
Finally I decided I’d wallowed long enough. I made a decision to get back on track with my weight-management efforts. It worked, and I’m eating a lot healthier again. And even though I had to move a bit slower than usual, I went back to taking walks every day.
Setbacks happen to all of us!
My fall was painful, but I think the setback in my eating and exercise felt worse. We all go through setbacks, and it’s easy to let them pull us down for a while.
Push the “reset” button
Overcoming a setback doesn’t have to take a long time. When you feel ready to get back on track, think of it as pushing the “reset” button on your life.
Here are 3 simple steps to help you recover from a setback.
1. Allow a grace period.
This is a time to let yourself be human. So take a break from dieting and exercise. Cry as much as you want. I know I sure did after my painful rib injury.
When you’re ready to move on again, you will know it. And at that point, the grace period is over, and you need to choose to get back on track.
Yes, you read that right. I believe you can end your grace period and CHOOSE to get back on track. It may not happen right away, but if you don’t draw a line in the sand, you may never get back to the program.
Just know that setbacks are normal, and then move on.
2. Return to what worked.
Make a list of things that worked for you in the past, including any routines or activities that helped you stay committed to your program. For me, this included pulling out my journal as well as going back to my favorite online tracking program. (I use www.trackyourplan.com and www.myfitnesspal.com.) I also reviewed my list of reasons why I wanted to lose weight in the first place. I used it to remind myself that I really do care about my goals and my health.
3. Start with small steps.
With your exercise plan, use what I call the “10-Minute Solution.” Make a deal with yourself that says you only have to exercise for 10 minutes, and after that, you can quit.
Then go do it.
Sometimes, at the end of the 10 minutes, you’ll be relieved it’s over and stop. But more often, you’ll discover that getting started made you feel better. If so, you might choose to keep going longer.
Either way, you’re a success!
I have used this solution many times over the years, and it helps me overcome feeling stuck and overwhelmed about exercise.
A setback doesn’t have to ruin your weight-loss plan. In fact, I encourage you to view a setback as a gift, not a disaster. Let it be a time of learning and renewal, rather than a dent in your belief that you can be successful.
Linda’s newest book is “Friends with the Scale.” www.weightlossjoy.com.
Steven Sisskind, M.D.