When you fall off your fitness horse, get back on a more informed rider
Falling is not only normal - we are all human - but when managed it can actually be a positive!
I fall - and I am proud of it! In fact, I usually tell my clients all about my falls - so both of us can learn and grow through my experiences. For example, I used to buy a box of fudge ice-cream treats each week or so. At the store I would say “I will only have one every few days.” False. By the end of the night I had usually consumed all of them. So, now I know. I cannot have fudge bars in the house. I set myself up for success - I buy a box and leave them at my mom’s. When I want one I go and visit her. This is a win/win - I get to see her and have a yummy treat.
All experiences are opportunities for growth and learning. To paraphrase Brené Brown, a woman I respect immensely, the only people who don’t fall are the ones not stepping into the arena of life.
Plus, just being aware that you fell — that you deviated from your plan — demonstrates that you are mindful of your behaviour and that you have at least a semblance of a plan; noting a health choice proves that you are at least “in the game.”
Basically, learn how to productively “lean into the “fall!”
Don’t misunderstand me. I am not suggesting that you fall on purpose. What I am saying is, when you make a choice that your future self will not be proud of, lean into the fall and learn from every choice — both positive and negative. Work to understand your personal triggers and coping mechanisms so that you evolve into the healthier and fitter future self you want to be.
Falling in this productive way will help ensure you don’t let one less-than-ideal health choice spiral you down the body shame rabbit hole. I am sure you know this all too common spiral - “I suck. I will never succeed. I might as well have more [fill in treat of choice].”
A Few Things To Keep In Mind
We either grow and adapt, or we stagnate. So, ask yourself, “Am I content with my health? Am I happy with how I navigate life’s ups and downs?” If your answer is no, then your only productive option is to grow.
In order to grown you need to “ACT to solve”. Take small steps if needed, but take steps. Don’t just “wish” for better health. Make a plan. Health is an active process!
When you deviate from the plan - i.e. fall - be flexible and adapt accordingly. Embody the knowledge that you are human. You have emotions — you are not a robot — and thus will fall off the horse from time to time. Instead of letting this reality frustrate you, frame your fall as feedback. Use the feedback to propel you forward; get up stronger and wiser. Negative emotions are not “bad,” they are a call to action — a way for you to understand your limitations and thus to grow.
Learn — through falling — how to make choices that your future self will be proud of. Live life as if you love yourself; work out and eat well because you love your body not because you hate it. Love yourself enough to demand more of yourself. Don’t let yourself off of the hook; when you fall, get up, learn, and grow. Work to find solutions, not excuses. Or as Brené Brown would say make your goal to “show up and be seen.”