Throughout your weight loss adventure, you’re going to have days when you don’t feel like exercising. We all have them. But what’s the difference between taking off a day to rest, and falling completely off the wagon?
To put it simply: You have fallen off the wagon when exercise is no longer a habit for you. When exercise becomes some novel thing that you do once in a while, you have fallen off the wagon. When exercise is not part of your daily routine, then you have fallen off the wagon.
So, what do you do when exhaustion strikes? Follow this simple, two-step method to keeping yourself on board the weight loss or exercise bandwagon.
Step One: You suffered through a mandatory work meeting, you took your 5-year-old to the dentist, followed by soccer practice for your 8-year-old, and then you forgot to pick up the dry cleaning that you needed for tomorrow. The last thing you feel like doing is exercising after dinner. You want to take off just one night. Can you do it without risking all of your weight loss goals?
Of course. One night is not going to impact your overall progress all that much. It’s when your “nights off” become a habit that you have developed a problem.
But the thing is, if you make excuses for yourself, then you will take off tomorrow night, too. Then the night after that, and the night after that. Pretty soon you’re not exercising anymore.
So, step one is to accept that you’re tired, and give yourself a break… and then go exercise anyway. Lace up your shoes and go for a walk. Tell yourself you only have to walk for five minutes, and then you can quit if you’re just too exhausted to continue. Anyone can walk for five minutes, right?
At this point, most people will realize that the hardest part was getting started. After five minutes of walking, they decide that they can continue their workout.
However, there is occasionally a need for Step Two: If you truly are exhausted, and you cannot continue your walk (or run) after five minutes, then stop.
Yes, really. Stop. Take the night off.
But there’s one caveat: You cannot take off tonight if there is any chance you will also need to take off tomorrow. So before you decide to quit, schedule a time and commit to exercising tomorrow.
The trick is to never take off two days in a row. That way your “days off” don’t become your new habit.
In most cases, steps one and two will suffice to keep you on track toward your fitness goals. But if you continually find that you’re tempted to take a day off, perhaps you need to reevaluate your fitness plan. You might be exercising at the wrong time of day, and need to rearrange your schedule. Or you might have chosen an exercise that doesn’t truly interest you, and you need to change it up once in a while. Identify the problem, and then implement the appropriate solution. Above all, remember that weight loss is about forming new habits. Make sure exercise remains a key part of your lifestyle.