What to do when you find yourself relapsing into bad habits

Ok so I always like to be honest with you guys because I want to be real… and I think the message that I send is that nobody is perfect and we all have struggles to overcome on the path to a healthy lifestyle. There are always roadblocks and obstacles, and the path to success is never a straight line.

So I’d like to talk about something that I’ve been struggling with lately and that is relapsing back into old habits. I think if you start to notice yourself slipping back into bad habits you need to make some adjustments, and think of it as a little warning signal. Most of you know about my struggles with bulimia and I am STILL not totally recovered, I wish I was. Lately I’ve been having a really tough time and I wanted to share it with you in case anyone else is struggling. I know a lot of my clients have good days and bad days and I want to spread the message that you do not need to follow a meal plan perfectly all the time or work out everyday to be healthier. Sometimes its simply eating one less bite of ice-cream, or one less slice of pizza.

These past 2 weeks I’ve found myself binging and purging a lot and spiralling back down that unhealthy pathway. I never, ever want to go back to where I was so I want to be open and honest and maybe this can help other people who are struggling with similar issues. It’s OKAY to ask for help! I find it a lot easier to write a blog post on here than I do to talk about this to people in real life, and I know it can be super difficult to bring up struggles when you feel vulnerable and weak. I think it started when I realized I had lost some weight- and that triggered those old thoughts back in my head. “Well you should lose more weight. You can handle counting calories now. Starting weighing out your food. Count your protein, carbs, and fats, trying cutting out a little more carbs, start weighing yourself again, don’t go out for meals, don’t eat that ice-cream”… etc. I really did think in my head that I had it all under “control” and it would be fine for me to start counting calories again. Well, all this did was completely send me back into binging and purging and restrictive thoughts and overexercising habits. I think I’m only realizing this now as I write it out. So if you are finding yourself getting back into bad habits- ask yourself why. What changed recently that could be causing this? Is there something you can do to counteract falling down?

I guess the point of this post is to say that everyone falls on and off track. Some weeks I feel like a million bucks and don’t think I’ll ever engage in binging and purging behaviours, and then a week later I can’t stop. I know this is a sign that I need to stop putting pressure on myself body image wise, love myself as I am, and reduce the stress in my life. Sometimes I struggle with finding balance and I deal with a lot of anxiety around work as well as my body image. I know that I need to ask for help from people around me and keep on working through those struggles.

My goal for myself for tomorrow is to listen to my body and feed it what it wants. I will eat without distractions and eat what I love. I also want to let myself sleep in and get a little extra rest. If you are struggling lately- what makes you feel back on track? Maybe you need to write in a journal, or call a friend and talk to them about it. Maybe you need a hot bubble bath or a good sweaty workout. What is a small positive step you can take tomorrow? Set TINY goals. Most of all BE NICE TO YOURSELF. Treat yourself like your daughter or your best friend. Don’t chastise yourself for failing. Give yourself and hug and tell yourself how beautiful you are and do everything you can to comfort yourself in a constructive way. My goal tomorrow is to eat intuitively and get back in tune with my body and my hunger and fullness signals.

If you are struggling and ever need help please never hesitate to ask me!

Are your thoughts & beliefs holding you back?

I’m going to address a massive part of fitness and health that isn’t discussed as often as the exercise and working out part.

It’s Mindset!

Your mindset is absolutely critical to your success, and determines whether you will reach your goals or not. You need to be mindful of your thoughts and beliefs regarding yourself and your fitness journey. You probably don’t even realize the thoughts that are running through your head on a daily basis! Did you know that the average person has 70,000 thoughts per day? (According to Laboratory of Neuroimaging at University of South Carolina). Research indicates that most humans tilt towards pessimism as well. Now imagine if 10% of your thoughts were negative; thats 7,000 negative thoughts = 300 per hour! That’s a little depressing right? People who struggle with negative thinking and poor body image tend to let their negative thoughts spiral and take over. Have you ever sat down in silence and truly listened to your thoughts?

I first learned about listening to my thoughts when I was going through treatment for bulimia. I didn’t even realize the negative impact my thoughts had on me until I started listening. I was constantly thinking I was fat, ugly, embarrassing, not good enough, that I shouldn’t speak up, that people would talk about me behind my back, that no one liked me, that I wasn’t good enough. I had to do a lot of work to start changing those thoughts around. You can’t do anything until you actually pay attention to the chatter going on in your head though! So I really advise that you start listening. Once you can notice those negative thoughts, it becomes a matter of blocking those thoughts. For about 4 months, anytime I would notice a negative thought creeping in I would tell myself “I am beautiful and strong and confident”. It took at least 4 months to start changing those thought patterns but it worked! I no longer critique myself every time I look in the mirror and I never think I am fat or ugly or unworthy. It made a huge difference to my self esteem and entire life!

Thoughts have SO MUCH POWER over the outcome of our goals it is insane. What you believe matters. Take the nocebo effect; When you describe the negative effects of a medication and then give the person a placebo. In one study from a recent Harvard University article, people thought they were getting chemotherapy but were really getting saltwater- lost their hair and felt continuously nauseous! It’s been proven that pessimistic thinking led to increased hostility, worsened health, and a shorter life compared to optimistic thinking.

I was thinking about what makes some of my clients very successful, and what makes some of them struggle. I have taken on a lot of people over the past year or so, and there are some who have taken what I’ve given them and completely transformed their lives, and other who have the identical tools but can’t seem to make it work no matter how many things I change and re-do for them. I realized eventually that there was nothing else I could do personally, but it was up to them to change their mindset! I remember one client in particular who started a nutrition package with me and I was super surprised by her innate self confidence. My first meeting with her she just told me straight up “I will do everything you tell me to do, once I decide to do something, I do it and I know I’ll achieve this; there is no doubt in my mind”. I have to admit even I thought in my head “Ok, sure- easy enough to say before we have even started!” haha. But she shocked me completely by just absorbing everything I gave her and went on to completely transform her entire life and lose all the weight and I’m still amazed by her week by week.
Then I have other clients who have come in with the attitude “Nothing has ever worked for me, something is wrong with me etc etc” and they are still struggling because they are giving in to their limiting self beliefs! It makes me sad because I want to help everyone achieve success, but its up to YOU to recognize and change your thought patterns.

Do you actually believe deep down that you are going to reach those goals? Are you holding yourself back? Start listening to those thoughts today and change the “I can’t” into “I CAN”.

Tara