Why do we fall off the wagon?

February 9, 2019 BY: LISA

How can you get back on track

I was with a client recently and we were discussing the reasons why you might go off track. She, very cleverly, had been keeping a journal to see if she could get some insight into why this happened for her.

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My client had realised that she tends to go off track in situations where she feels out of control, or helpless to change a situation. At these times she stops exercise and increases snacking which was not helpful to her desire to be healthy and manage her weight.

 

Following this we were able to talk about the importance of awareness to changing an unhelpful habit – you can’t change what you are not aware of!

 

The bottom line is the sooner you can realise what is going on and take steps to rectify it, the sooner you will get back on track and be acting in a way that you are happier with.

 

During the session, offering another reason we might fall off the wagon, I was prompted to tell my own experience where I have a regular exercise habit of doing a few sit-ups when I get up in the morning. I had been doing this for a number of years and one day I thought- “I’m going to Bali soon, so after that I won’t have to do sit-ups any more”- which was odd as it had never been about Bali, it was more about feeling fit and being able to keep up at my gym classes.

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As soon as you assign an end date to a plan, you will subconsciously stop it when that date comes- doesn’t matter that your plan was to keep going. Be aware that as soon as you even have a whiff of an end date, that will be the end of your good habits…at least in the short term until you become aware of what happened! As well as assigning an end date I had started to make my daily exercise about my body rather than my fitness and I was surprised at how quickly I then added the end-date.

 

This blog post explains it well. When exercise becomes about appearance and weight loss, the joy is taken out of movement. When it’s about being fit and enjoying a strong body, you can more easily sign up for that.

MabelAmber / Pixabay

People fear that if they are not making it about weight loss that they won’t concentrate or be as diligent, but that isn’t the case. Have you fallen off the wagon in the past by focussing on weight loss instead of what you need to do? For example, you’d been planning meals and eating a healthy diet, however, it didn’t lead to the weight loss you wanted, so you stopped the meal planning and eating well which led to weight regain and a decrease in your energy levels. Making food and exercise about weight instead of health or fitness or energy levels can cause you to question yourself and decrease your healthy habits. But it is these healthy habits that assist weight loss and weight maintenance.

 

So, if you are falling off your own wagon, have a think about what might have caused it. It could be a situation occurred that you had no control over which threw you off or it could be that you started to make a healthy habit about weight or body image which is never really going to work in the long term.

 

One thing that did help my client was being able to discuss this with someone outside her own head- another great reason to check in with a dietitian!

Enjoy!
Lisa APD

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