Have you been in any of these situations?
- Tempted to taste that sugary item in a buffet lunch and continue to binge on it for the rest of the lunch
- A friend invites you to accompany for a smoke with him. A single puff leads to many more such sessions and before you know, you are back being a regular smoker
Most of us have come across these circumstances and the common reason seems to be the ‘Perfect or Nothing’ attitude.
All of us have an idea of a perfect lifestyle – perfect diet, perfect exercise regimen, etc. When this is interrupted for any reason, we tend to lose focus and go down the proverbial slippery slope. Achieving perfectionism is difficult in real life. Many obstructions might come up. That does not mean that you will have to quit your healthy living altogether.
Where does this impact most?
- Eating – It is good to be healthy and disciplined in our diet. However, it is almost impossible to stick to this ideal diet every time. In fact cheat meals are encouraged by dietitians. But there are numerous opportunities in everyday life to lose control
- Exercise – It is not necessary to visit the gym every day and perform three sets of three different workouts per body part. This is only an ideal image of fitness created in the social media. It may not be a sustainable exercise plan for many average folks like us. Pick a physical activity that you love and make it fun and challenging. In case, you are unable to sustain that, do something small – do some quick body weight exercises, go for a 10-minute run or even a walk, etc.
- Smoking and Alcohol – These two are heavily impacted by our social life. An old friend asks you for a drink. While you are having some beer and laughing about good old days, it feels good to indulge in smoking. This becomes a vicious cycle.
How can we avoid this behaviour?
- Whenever you realise that you are slipping into this trap, pause and think. I know that it is easier said than done. However, with some practice, this can be achieved. In addition, this is where mindfulness comes handy.
- Know that you can still salvage from that situation. However, if you continue going down the slope, it will become harder to recover.
- It is important to keep recovering from setbacks during the course of a healthy lifestyle. However, if these setbacks are happening on a regular basis over a long term, then it is time to analyse. Think about the trigger, which causes this. Are there any specific situations or emotions, which make you lose control? Stress is a common trigger for many working professionals. A close relative of mine indulges in sweets whenever she feels depressed or bored. After the trigger is clear, then you can adopt one of these approaches:
- Avoid that situation
- Change the way that you react to the trigger. Design a better reaction and apply it