What throws people off the wagon the most when they are on a mission to making positive change in their health?
…and how they react to it!
So, you begin a new journey to lose weight and get in shape. You’re doing great, you’re making healthy choices, and feeling positive about your efforts. Then all of a sudden stress hits you in the face and you soon find yourself stuffing your face with lots of chocolate and drinking too many glasses of wine. The last thing on your mind is your workout.
You’ve officially fell off the health and fitness wagon, with a thump!
Later, you ask yourself, “Why did I eat that junk and skip my workout?” You feel disappointed in yourself, maybe even defeated. The thought of starting on your journey again causes you more stress. You find yourself saying, “Why bother. I’m just going to fail again.” After a few days, maybe you start again…maybe you don’t.
Stress causes a reaction in us all, and it’s how you react that will make a difference in your life. When you are trying to lose weight and get in shape, how you react to stress will determine how quickly and successfully you achieve your goals.
How you react to stress is actually a habit that you have developed. It’s a self-taught routine. The good news is, it can be changed. Let me explain:
Here’s how it goes, known as the Habit Loop:
The Cue – stress.
The Routine – eat junk, skip workout.
The Reward – feeling pleasure and stress relief.
Stress (the cue) will always be in your life. You deal with it by eating junk food and skipping your workout (the routine) because you need something to make you feel better (the reward). This is how you’ve been coping for as long as you can remember.
You have a right to feel better and find something to relieve your stress. The problem is that your routine, the stress reaction habit you have formed throughout your life, is self-sabotaging your health and fitness goals.
There are two:
- Reduce stress in your life. Easier said than done, I know. However, if you can reduce the amount of stress in your life, you will have fewer cues that trigger your current self-sabotaging routine. Reducing stress may require some serious changes in your life, like terminating certain relationships or finding a new career. Reducing stress is a very difficult task but it will change your life, for the better.
- Change your routine, the way you react to stress. Remember, your current routine reaction to stress is a habit that you have formed. It is self-taught, but it can be changed. For example, emotional eaters have formed a habit to eat when certain emotions are triggered. It’s automatic. If they would make a conscious effort to change their reaction, do a different routine other than eating, they would no longer be emotional eaters. Emotional eating is not an addiction, it’s a habit! It can be changed.
So let’s talk more about #2.
Here are 4 steps to stop self-sabotaging by changing your routine.
Recognize that your self-taught habit routine that you have formed throughout your life is sabotaging your health and fitness goals. If you don’t first recognize that your behaviour is the problem, you will not be able to change it. Most people already know this, but they have a hard time stopping it.
Accept that you MUST change the routine if you want to stop self-sabotage and reach your goals quicker. Knowing your behaviour is causing a problem and being willing to make a real commitment to change it are two different things. One cannot say they have achieved a healthy lifestyle if they are binge eating and skipping their workout every time stress occurs.
Plan out a different routine to practice when stress occurs. Think hard, as this is key! This new routine must give you the same reward as the old one because it is pleasure and stress relief you seek to obtain when stress occurs. Find a healthy food that you love and make it easily accessible. Find a workout that brings you joy, like yoga or a bike ride. We all know that when we do good things for our health, we feel amazing and proud of our choices. These feelings are rewards for our efforts. Pick something, and be willing to make it the new way you react to stress – your new routine.
Practice! The new routine MUST be practiced to become a new habit when stress happens. Stress can occur anytime, so you must be ready. Old habits never go away, but they can be changed by a new habit. Be aware of how you react to stress, and make an effort to change the routine, and you will succeed at stopping the self-sabotage.
These 4 steps require a 100% commitment. You have to practice many times before the way you react to stress will change. Once your new routine reaction to stress occurs without thought, and happens automatically, you will have succeeded to stop self-sabotage.
It takes effort and patience to reach your health and fitness goals. People who reach their goals make it happen by sticking to their plan and practicing it on a regular basis. If you want to reach your goals, then take the necessary steps you need to make it happen. Your health is a product of the choices you make every day.
Positive change is good. You will be happier. There is no greater reward than that!