Slip ups dont have to be SET BACKS

We are only weeks away from Melbourne’s silly season. The races and then the Christmas parties. It’s times like these it can be hard to maintain training consistency and healthy nutritional habits. I’m sure we are all familiar with the traditional cravings that happen during and after a night out. So before we launch into social mayhem we want to set you up with some useful skills to ensure your results keep coming before Christmas and summer. Most of you have trained hard through winter with the intention to reap the rewards of a fit and healthy body for summer. With this in mind lets aim to let slip ups be slip ups, not set BACKS.

With a plethora of research out there on behavior change we know it takes planning and preparation. This month we will be giving you 5 easy steps to manage slip ups so even when your best planning efforts are unsuccessful you can get back on track straight away. Many of us view the world in black in white, all or nothing. When it comes to slip ups on your fitness and nutritional journey this will rarely work for people.

Let us introduce the “What the hell” effect. When thinking in all or nothing terms, our default is “what the hell”. If you place unrealistic expectations on yourself to achieve 100% compliance to nutrition, as soon as you are tempted to ‘break’ your compliance, the thought of “what the hell” kicks in, “I’ve already had a slip up so I may as-well just keep eating the rest of the cake”. There is a very close connection to FOOD and FUN, then alcohol further intensifies this connection. The result? Inevitable temptation. So with the tips below we are trying to reframe the all or nothing thought patterns so that slip ups don’t have to turn into set BACKs and alter your ultimate results.

The ABCDE to help overcome slip ups

A – Adverse reactions or events – When we have slip ups, it is not the negative event itself that are the problem; it is the thoughts and behaviors surrounding the event, in other words, our adverse reactions. Like guilt and rebellion. This first stage is being aware of these adverse reactions and events.

B – Beliefs and reactions. Our beliefs around our behavior often cause these adverse reactions. Many people have a case of the ‘SHOULD’ and ‘SHOULD NOT’s’. What happens when a parent tells a child they shouldn’t do something? They do it anyway! We have been ingrained with shoulds and should nots, particularly if you are putting a concerted effort into nutritional change. If you believe you shouldn’t be eating something, then unconscious motivation to rebel can take over. A wealth of research proves this pattern. So how to change your beliefs? Reframe your shoulds and should nots, make them a choice.

E.g: should: “ My trainer said I should train twice on the weekend, I’m too tired. Oh well”

I WILL train this weekend because I made a choice to commit to my health and I WANT to achieve my goal

C – The Consequences! The consequence of our beliefs is they become too personal and then pervasive. Adverse reactions and beliefs transition into thoughts such as “I’m no good, this always happens” leading to a decreased sense of self. Our beliefs often blow out of proportion after a slip up, “It’s over, I’ll NEVER loose weight”, they become pervasive and we go into catastrophe-mode, our thoughts get out of control and spirals self doubt – that’s how slip ups become set backs.

Now for some strategies to overcome this….

D – Dispute and Distract. Firstly to dispute these catastrophe-mode thoughts, just LISTEN to yourself. If a friend or family member were saying this exact thing to you “ I’m no good because I had a slip up” what would your response be? Would you agree with them? Would you dispute what they are saying? Yes, of course you would! We need to do this for ourselves, listen to what we are telling ourselves and put it in perspective. Take responsibility without blaming yourself. Another technique to avoid slip ups and set backs is to Distract. Is temptation getting too much? Pantry calling your name? Get out of the house, go for a walk, do a task you have been procrastinating, anything to distract you and bring your thoughts back into perspective.

E- Energization
What can you now tell yourself to show that you are in control and will be successful? – Re-energize your efforts.
Turn a negative into a positive. “I am in control and I am on track”
“Everyone has slips, it’s okay if I do to. It does not reflect a lack of self discipline.“ Come up with a collection of your own positive statements to help overcome any slips. If we focus on what is not working and the slip ups, we will never crawl out the hole. Be positive and remind yourself to look after yourself.
The process of behavior change when it comes to health and wellness is a process of trial and error. You will learn tips along the way that you will take on board and the ones that don’t work for you, you can let go. Firstly be aware of your habits of thought and behaviors that lead to slip ups becoming set backs, then you can address them as they come up. No one said it was ever going to be easy, trying to change year long habits is a process, be patient with yourself.
Katee Pedicini