What To Do When You Fall Off The Health And Fitness Wagon

Getting back on the health and wellness wagon can be a tricky business. Here’s how to get back on track when you’ve overdone and your cravings are doing you in.

We’ve all had that moment when we feel great about ourselves: we feel light, fresh and happy. We’re either at our happy weight or moving towards it.

I define ‘happy weight’ as the weight our bodies naturally find when we eat nourishing, mostly nutrient-rich foods with enjoyment, moving our bodies with love and pleasure, and otherwise being happy in our work and relationships.

Sometimes it’s a few pounds heavier than what we might consider to be our ideal weight, but it’s the point at which we feel healthy and vital.

And, we’ve all had that moment when we get completely derailed. Maybe it starts with a late night out and an extra drink (or three) while on vacation, which leads to a heavy hangover brunch the next day, which leads to a heavy dinner and then missed workouts.

Before you know it, you’re feeling heavy and you’re craving carbs or sugar or greasy fried foods and that awesome, fresh feeling that comes with your happy weight is gone.

Step 1: Create a turning point

Beautiful young woman eating a red apple in bight sun

When this happens, a lot of us (myself included) tend to get down on ourselves. Sometimes we try to go from these heavier foods and the not-so-great-for-us foods we’ve been eating right into a super clean and often restrictive diet.

In other words, if we’re on a pendulum over in the greasy, heavy foods, we swing right over to super clean and often low calorie foods. Inevitably, we swing right back into the heavy foods again.

Having a time after which point you will modify your behavior, automatically creates one bad set of eating habits and one good set of eating habits, and this creates ideal conditions for the splurge-restrict cycle.

That’s why it’s important to acknowledge the fact that our food and lifestyle choices have created legitimate cravings and perceived needs within our body. The trick to creating a turning point towards getting back on track is not to have one.

Instead, whenever you realize that you’ve fallen off the wagon and that you’re ready to get back on it, be sure to acknowledge your cravings and simply make better choices about fulfilling them.

Step 2: Don’t eliminate foods, swap them out

Making better choices doesn’t mean that any foods are 100% off limits. Without eliminating certain foods altogether, identify what you’re craving and then decide on a food choice that will satisfy your craving and leave you feeling both fulfilled and light.

What can you eat that will make you feel sexy? If you’re craving carbs, will a whole grain option like brown rice or quinoa satisfy it? If not, what about whole grain toast with grass fed butter? Or home roasted potatoes in olive oil?

Depending on what you’ve been splurging on, you’ll want to keep some of those types of foods in the mix, but perhaps in a different form. If you’ve been eating a lot of sugar, remember that you’ve created a craving for it, so invest in some good dark chocolate, bake some cookies using stevia or have an apple or some berries with raw honey.

If you’ve been eating high-fat, include high fat foods like avocados, walnuts and coconut oil in your diet in larger amounts than you otherwise would.

Additionally, focus on keeping your blood sugar stable. Cravings can often result from our blood sugar spiking and then diving when we eat too many refined carbohydrates or sugar. The easiest way to stabilize blood sugar is to make sure you eat some complex carbs and fiber, with protein and healthy fats at every meal.

Step 3: Make it stick

Woman drinking a homemade green detox juice

So, you avoided setting a mental trap by creating a turning point, and you’ve worked with your body and cravings instead of against them by swapping in more nutritious, cleaner versions of the foods you’ve been craving. The next (or simultaneous) step is to actively support your body as it returns to equilibrium.

The best way to do this is to support detoxification; replenish nutrients that get depleted from metabolizing alcohol, caffeine and processed foods, and to reduce the acidity that these things form in your body by eating alkalizing foods instead.

A great way to do all of these things is to have one to two fresh-pressed organic juices every day until you feel like you’ve found your footing again.

Greens, lemon, ginger and beets are all great juice ingredients for alkalinity and detoxification. If you don’t have access to fresh juices and do not own a juicer, then store bought bottled versions are an acceptable alternative.

You may also choose to add a ton of greens to your diet in the form of salads or steamed green sides at meals. Finally, targeted supplementation can help to replenish depleted nutrient stores and give your liver some added support.

So, next time you fall off your wagon, give this a try and see how fast you can start feeling light and happy again!

About the author

Kara DeDonato

I'm Kara, a Women’s Health Coach and founder of Libera Wellness. I'm dedicated to helping women live their best lives through balanced hormones and healed digestion. I believe periods should be painless, food should be enjoyed, and life should be good.

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