Let’s face it, getting off track from a meal plan or a health kick can be much easier than getting on. However, trying to identify those triggers that bring our motivation to a screeching halt can help reduce these instances. Whether it was because an unexpected event happened or simply because tempting food options got the best of you, trying to shift your attention to avoiding these triggers can be key. Here are a few of the most common triggers:
Regardless of how motivated you might be, not being prepared with a planned meal and a scheduled snack can lead to cravings or that excruciating hunger that anything insight is fair game. Finding reasons for being unprepared can be a great start. If it was due to lack of time management, just be sure to prioritize a few hours on days you are the least busy to meal prep at least one meal per day.
Everyone deals with stress differently. But if you’re one of those who either snack on those not-so healthy options like cookies or chips or if your appetite diminishes, you can definitely get off track with your plan. Being able to identify how you react to stress can be helpful in preventing your reactions. In hand, this will allow you to find healthier and more productive ways (such as mediating, running, or listening to music) to manage those stress reflexes. Also, it can be equally as important to specifically identify what or who is creating that stress and properly handling the situation.
This is a big one! There’s nothing more difficult than having to test the ultimate self control when sitting in front of a plate full of warm cookies. Not only do you run the risk of giving in, but you also create a stressful environment for when you are trying to follow a meal plan. If your pantry or fridge is filled with tempting food, opt for a “cleaning” day where you can give away your snacks or perhaps even placing them in opaque containers so they are out of sight and out of mind.
All hard work deserves appreciation. But following a meal plan consistently is hard work that deserves more than appreciation – in fact, it deserves a noticeable difference on the scale. This might lead to think that if your hard work isn’t paying off as quickly as you expected, why not quit or jump onto a new diet? However, that number on the scale can take some time to noticeably jump down if your body is slowly adapting. With this idea, it is best to start a meal plan with the idea that a healthier lifestyle is a marathon, not a sprint.
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Lack of Support
More so than the sight food, others around you can lead to more urges to cheat than the sight of food itself. Whether they do not believe in your efforts to change your lifestyle, or perhaps because they are oblivious to your goal due to lack of communication, those around you can definitely be triggering. Unsupportive friends and family can play a great role in rationalizing those not-so-healthy decisions that can push you off track. However, the proper support system can be key to staying motivated and on track.
Being able to recognize those triggers that can bump us off a meal plan can be simple; trying to find solutions to those triggers can be the challenging part. However, it starts with baby steps. Whether it’s making small improvements to a routine, reducing time spent with unsupportive people, or perhaps tossing one or two unhealthy snacks can be a step forward.