We’ve all had them, right? Days where we made some food choices that weren’t “on plan” or ideal. It happens to everyone and being able to recover from these days is key if you’re going to be successful maintaining a healthy lifestyle in the long term.
I will confess that I haven’t been great about this in the last 6 months or so, which is where most of this extra weight has come from. I’d have a “bad” day where I found myself eating a ton of french fries or cookies or some other less-than-nutritious food and feel like a failure, which then led to days of crappy eating. Does it make sense? No, of course not. Am I the only one who has fallen into that trap? Nope. I’m pretty sure some of you have as well.
I found myself in this position again at the beginning of this trip to Montana. Like I mentioned Monday, we had a really delayed travel day, leading to lots of fatigue and airport food. I actually did reasonably well with my eating all day Sunday until Sunday night, when I found myself back in my hotel room, exhausted and hungry because I hadn’t eaten much dinner. It wasn’t the best – the food here is hit or miss other than breakfast. I got back to my room, ordered room service and proceeded to eat a grilled cheese sandwich with tater tots. Lots of tater tots. They were just salty enough and delicious. Could I have gotten salad if I were hungry? Yes, but that wasn’t what looked good, so I made the less than healthy choice. With my prior work trips this spring, I would have gone to sleep feeling disgusted with myself, woken up Monday morning feeling like a failure and proceeded to eat ALL THE FRENCH FRIES all week. For work travel, apparently french fries are my weakness.
There were several trays of yummy looking pastries and that part of me that has fallen down the path of “you’ve already eaten crap, might as well keep eating crap” in the past was honestly tempted again. I’m proud of myself for resisting that urge and going with fruit, oatmeal and a hard boiled egg. I’ve had that for breakfast every day this week and every time, I’ve mentally applauded myself. Cheer yourself on when you make even the smallest good choices to get back on track. Positive self talk is crucial for countering that “I’ve already failed” voice.
I’ve made activity a priority because I know that I make healthier choices all day when I’ve exercised throughout the day. Reminding myself what my body can do reminds me that I’ve made huge changes in my lifestyle. I can be healthy. Bonus: when I’m out hiking, I’m not sitting in my hotel room, hiding from the forced socialization of these “networking” conferences while I watch the Food Network and eat. And eat. And eat. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person who feeds their social anxiety – now I just try to walk those nerves off instead of smothering them with calories. Still allows me to hide from small talk!
I prepare for the highest risk times. For me, that’s at night when I’m tired from a long day and the vending machine or room service menu beckon. I bought a bag of grapes from the little grocery store here at the resort so I have something sweet waiting for me back in the room at night. Just a handful is enough to take the edge off.
Any time you don’t have complete control of your food, of course you’re going to be a little more at risk for bad choices or weight gain. What we can control, however, is how we feel about our choices. Do the best you can and be kind to yourself. Beating yourself isn’t going to make anything any better. (Can you tell I’ve been doing lots of positive self talk?)
I have to say, I feel really good about this week so far. Sure, Sunday wasn’t great and I’m not eating my normal diet. However, I’m making reasonably good choices and getting in tons of activity, so I’m happy with how I’ve done. I feel like I’m out of the “I’ve slipped, time to binge” danger zone. Knock on wood!
How do you get back on track after you’ve had a slip?