By Cheshire Que, RND, RN, RD
Nobody is perfect. Even the healthiest person you can think of has his or her occasional slips in terms of eating, exercise, sleep patterns, and ways of coping with stress. For instance, you may be successfully adhering to a strict diet of “clean eating” when you find yourself stuck in an environment that favors unhealthy eating with no plain water in sight. You will probably end up taking sips of that sugary beverage just to quench your thirst, especially when that water bottle you brought with you goes empty. Or would you rather succumb to dehydration?
Perhaps you sleep at 8 p.m. every night but something happens and you have to stay up late to take care of a sick family member or pull an all-nighter to meet deadlines, which are beyond your control to finish within the confines of your work schedule.
You see, as much as we want our lifestyle to be perfect, we live in an imperfect world. This does not give us a reason, however, to just give up when we find ourselves doing something outside the ideal routine. Here are some tips on how to get back on track:
Staying up late at night – movie marathon, browsing the internet, feasting on social media before bedtime is tempting. Do not be surprised when you see the morning light streaming through the windows after spending the entire night wide awake. Regulate your sleep pattern by deciding on having a downtime one hour before bedtime. That means having to put your gadgets away, taking a warm shower, dimming the lights, having a quiet time, setting your room to cold temperature or whatever will promote sleep. Do this every night until your body clock adjusts and you begin to get sleepy around the same time each night.
Binge eating and food cravings – Occasional treats are fine as long as you practice portion control. When you deprive yourself and obsess with foods that are off limits, however, it could result to a cycle of deprivation and overindulgence. Get back on track by embracing all food while eating everything in moderation. If you want more treats after taking one or two bites, drink water. Practice delayed gratification. Give yourself 10 minutes after drinking a glass of water before assessing if you are still hungry for more. You will be surprised. As you delay gratification, you will eventually forget about wanting more.
Skipping your exercise routine – Exercise schedule gets compromised. You may not have enough energy to exercise when sleep deprived or on those times when you are recuperating from an illness. There are many reasons that we can think of. But you have to get moving as soon as possible. Set a realistic schedule for your exercise. If you only have one precious hour to spare in a week, then take it. Having some exercise is better than none at all. Increase the frequency and duration of your exercise on days you have more time on your hands to make up for the times you are too busy. Squeeze in a few minutes of mindful movement such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking for 10 minutes after meals, or work on standing desks. Be creative in getting back to being physically active. If you have been sitting on your desk for hours, stand up and walk in place before going back to work.
Do not feel hopeless or frustrated when you slip once in a while. The most important thing is how soon you get back on track.