Wednesday, 27 March 2013

What to do when your motivation deserts you........

You know how it is, you are going full steam ahead with your diet and exercise programme, eating well and going to the gym/exercising a few times each week. Then wham, something (or sometimes several things) happen which de-rail your efforts and you stop or reduce the exercise and start eating foods you know will not support your weight loss efforts. This happened to me recently (coaches are not exempt from these blips!) so I thought it was worth sharing. Setbacks are all part of life but you can recover before all your efforts are totally wasted.

A few weeks ago I had a bad bout of flu, the first illness for years that forced me to stay in bed, probably brought about by some intense stress I had been under. I actually find being ill a personal affront to my healthy lifestyle which is quite irrational but probably brought about by me telling people 'I never get ill'!! 

Once I was feeling a bit better I was really hungry all the time, normally my protein and fat based breakfast of eggs, veggies and coconut oil will see me through until lunchtime but I was finding myself hungry by 10.30am and wanting to pick at food. Same mid afternoon, by 4pm I was craving something to eat. I also found myself wanting to drink a lot of tea. 

I was snacking too much and picking at food far too much and had started gaining some weight. So what to do about it? These tips will help you to manage your lack of motivation and hopefully help you to find it again:

Take small steps to gain your momentum back. If you try and do it all in one go you might find it too overwhelming. Make one change a week. For example I know that if I drink hot water with lemon first thing in the morning it supports my digestion and helps with elimination. For some reason I had got out of this habit and started drinking tea first thing in the morning. So, this week I have started drinking the lemon water again, starting the day as I mean to go on. Every one of these small steps will support your health and weight loss goals and will become habits if you repeat them every day.

Be kind to yourself - if a friend was telling you a story about being under a lot of stress and then being ill for a couple of weeks you would sympathise with them and say things like 'your body needs time to recover' and 'take it easy for a while until you are much better'. Why then don't we give ourselves this kindness? From now imagine you are your own best friend and not your own worst enemy. Make that voice in your head kind and loving not harsh and critical.

Try not to have an all or nothing mentality about healthy eating - for example 'if I can't eat well/stick to my diet all the time I might as well not bother at all'. This will sabotage all your efforts. Eat well as often as you can. 

If you are hungry between meals make your snacks nutritionally worthwhile if you can, nuts, seeds, dark chocolate, raw veggies and dips, natural yogurt. Snacking on sugary grain based foods, even those advertised as healthy options such as cereal bars, granola, flapjacks etc will cause you to crave food even more.

If you're not hungry but just want to eat try and do something else instead. Have a drink of sparkling water or herbal tea and move away from the kitchen. 

Think of eating a healthy diet and avoiding grains, sugar and processed foods as supporting good health first and foremost rather than focusing on weight loss. Eating well will do so much more than help you stay a good weight. Improving energy levels, alleviating joint problems, longevity, disease prevention - a good clean diet will support your long term health and well being. Good health is the most important factor in your quality of life; every aspect of your life is adversely affected if you don't have good health. Many people find when they remove the emphasis from weight loss and focus on improving their health their motivation becomes much stronger.

Listen to your body when it comes to exercise. If you normally run three times a week but don't feel up to it walk instead. Swim and have a sauna if you can. Weight train with slightly lighter weights until you get your energy levels back. Remember to be kind to yourself when your voice in your head tries to tell you that it's not good enough. 

Do things you like to do whenever possible. The pace of life today means we don't get much time to ourselves to pursue what we like to do most.  

Open your mind to stress relief techniques like meditation. Read a self-help book (The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle will help you live more in the present and banish the worries and anxieties about the future). You may think these things have nothing to do with healthy eating and weight loss but stress and the quality of sleep have a huge impact on hormones which need to be in balance if we want to be lean and well.

Whatever you do don't try to go for a quick fix by starting a low-fat calorie controlled diet or a meal replacement diet. These kinds of diets are unsustainable and will end up giving you uncontrollable cravings for unhealthy foods. Eat real food at every meal, listen to your body, be forgiving of yourself, manage your stress and get 7-8 hours sleep each night and slowly your body will respond.

So do I have my mojo back? Well partially, but not quite. I am taking small steps every day to get back to full health, eating cleanly, listening to my body, exercising lightly. My appetite is slowly getting back to normal so the weight I gained is slowly disappearing.  In the past a 'blip' like this would have spelled the end of sensible eating for several months which would have taken me back to square one with my health and weight loss goals. Now I have a good foundation with the paleo style of eating I can get back on track reasonably quickly. Motivation is easier because I eat well and exercise consistently so that is the norm for me, healthy habits are formed and my body will unconsciously seek to retain this healthy equilibrium. 

No comments:

Post a Comment