After losing 60 lbs in the course of a year I get many questions and asked advice on "How'd you do it?" The conversation commonly goes like this:
Them: "So how'd do it?"
Me: "Eating right, exercise."
Them: "What diet did you follow?"
Me: "None. I ate whatever I wanted, but in smaller portions, healthier foods, and watched my nutrients."
Them: "You worked out at a gym?"
Me: "Nope, I have an elliptical at home and a few workout DVDs and now I'm running in the mornings around my neighborhood."
Them: "I tried that once and couldn't do it."
Me: "Yeah, well it's all about The Bounce Back..."
Talk to any fitness expert, any nutritionist, any doctor, any HUMAN. We all lose focus in regards to our health every once and a while. Sometimes we do it on purpose! ("Forget worrying about calories tonight, its my birthday, hand me another piece of chocolate cake!") If you think that skinny girl in the gym never eats burgers, you're wrong. Or that guy with the rippling muscles, trust me, he occasionally enjoys ice cream too. And guess what?
Many failed "diets" or programs fail because most of us have an ALL or NOTHING point of view. It's black or white, no shade of grey. If we eat that muffin today the ENTIRE DIET IS RUINED! If we don't workout for one week, it's ALL OVER. If we don't see any weight change then its not working and time to GIVE UP. It's so dramatic... And it's not the case.
Think of it this way... a person doesn't get fat from one day (or one meal) of eating unhealthy, it takes many many days. In my case it took ten years for me to get to 255 pounds. That's 3,658 days. And most of them were spent with a potato chip bag in one hand, a pint of Ben & Jerrys in the other and the TV remote on my lap. So after ten years of becoming the way I was it wasn't going to instantly change. I wanted the quick fix, instant results. I tried diets, I went to gyms, and after 3-6 months, each time I caved. What were the excuses?
"Life got busy"
"Its not a good time right now"
"I don't have time"
"I'll restart later"
...the list goes on and on...
So what's different now? Why have I been successful thus far? How'd I do it?
It's what I call: The Bounce Back.
The Bounce Back is very simple and I'll use Newton's Third Law of Motion (paraphrasing): For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Think of a tennis ball falling from a second story window, the higher it is, the larger the bounce back, the lower, the lower bounce back. The ball doesn't just stop, it doesn't deflate. Now think of that window (the height) as time.
So the longer I wait to regain focus, restart my program, "to get back on track" the harder it will be. The shorter I wait, the easier it is. Continuing to "bounce back" to rebound myself back to my goals is what has made me successful. I won't "just stop" or "deflate."
Routine can be your ally! Once you have a daily/weekly method down it seems so easy to upkeep and then life throws a wrench in the plan (birthday, vacation, injuries or just plain boredom). That's when The Bounce Back is so important.
And it isn't easy, in fact, its down right difficult. But every time you do, you're increasing your chances for success, you're gaining experience on the "healthy living road." Every time you bounce back you're proving to yourself that this isn't just a whim or a fad, but that you have the ability to keeping going. The Bounce Back is a life long process.
When you don't exercise for a week, or have an "off weekend", or just things get lazy. Think of those who have been successful, think of the days/weeks/years spent bouncing back, think of that tennis ball. Bounce Back.