We are faced with thousands of decisions each day. This can be mentally exhausting and, particularly as the day wears on, the chances are that we won't make the best decisions 100% of the time.
Sometimes we end up just needing to take the path of least resistance. When this happens around food decisions, you might not feel great physically and might even feel guilty about "slipping-up."
We're here to tell you this is absolutely normal! Life happens and we all deviate from plans, and one "slip-up" does not equal "failure." So cut yourself some slack. Finding your feet in a new lifestyle can take some time, trial, and error. It's consistency over time that's key.
Here's what to do if you "slip up"
- Consider how you were feeling before the slip-up and, if avoidable, plan an alternative response to feeling better prepared next time!
- Revisit your "why." Remember, when you run into difficulties, just thinking of a goal like, "I want to lose weight" may not be enough to keep you motivated in the long term. You will need to tap back into your "why" the why at your very core.
- Revisit your "if-then" plans. Are the strategies you've set working for you? If not, how can you shift your strategy to serve you when you need it?
- Avoid trying to "make up" for it by being super restrictive afterward. This will only further throw your routine out of balance. Instead, focus on resuming your normal routine and listen to your biological signals. For example, if you overeat on one day there's a good chance you'll probably be less hungry the next day without having to intentionally restrict as your body works to maintain its natural balance. If this isn't the case and you find yourself equally hungry, that's ok too! Listen to those hunger cues closely.
Step back and take a look at the bigger picture
Another thing worth doing is evaluating whether there are any other aspects of your health that are making mealtime decisions more challenging.
Are you getting enough sleep?
Being tired can often lead to less than ideal choices and for good reason. A lack of sleep can have an impact on the hormones that regulate hunger so we might end up feeling hungrier when we're tired. Focus on improving your sleep habits to avoid this common pitfall.
Are you feeling stressed?
Stress can affect our decisions around food and our overall appetite. Maybe try meditation, yoga, or simply a hot bath. Focus on finding ways to de-stress that feel suitable to you.
Does your work/life schedule not leave enough time for preparing healthy meals?
If not, consider how adjusting your meal prep might help you. If this feels a bit daunting, here are some helpful tips:
- Buy pre-chopped or pre-cooked foods to reduce prep time (some examples for you might be pre-cut veggies, rotisserie chicken, canned beans, frozen ingredients, etc.)
- Focus on the meal you struggle with the most. For example, is it your breakfast that you are finding difficult? Consider how you can simplify or prep this meal in advance.
- Choose simple, quick recipes to help save you time and energy.
- Select a few simple meals that freeze well for an easy last-minute meal!