“You’ve got to be kidding me!” Seven ways to handle setbacks

We feel you. But hold on. Large or small, setbacks are a part of life. And you can’t beat yourself up. Not only is it a waste of time, but chastising yourself can derail you even further.

Whether the setback is out-of-control eating, or a scale that won’t budge, even though you’ve been incredibly disciplined, here are some ways to say “see ya, setback” and keep moving forward.

  1. Restart now, not later. If you skipped a few days at the studio or did a number on your diet, don’t take “I’ll get back on track Monday” approach. Stop yourself in your tracks and hit the reset button immediately. That may mean canceling drinks with friends in favor of a movie night. That may mean dropping everything and going for a quick run or walk. That may mean getting a sitter and signing up for a class tonight. Whatever it takes.
  2. Shake things up. Possibly literally. Your body adjusts to things that get repeated. If you find yourself hitting a plateau, try shocking your muscles with something new. Take a new class, or jog or bike to the studio.
  3. Take a hard look at your calories. If your plateau is about weight loss, calories are sometimes the culprit we forget. Maybe you’ve gone gluten free but don’t have a health reason for it. You may be consuming more calories than you should.
  4. Consider sneaky suspects. Maybe you eat healthfully most of the time but allow yourself a cheat day that gets out of control. Maybe the damage comes when you have a few cocktails. Or maybe something a seemingly innocent as coffee is taking you down. (Check the calories and sugar counts on your Starbucks order!) Do the detective work and excise the culprits.
  5. Go to bed. Studies have shown that sleep can play a significant role in weight loss. Quit the afternoon caffeine, make a habit of getting your Zs, and time your workout thinking about sleep, too.
  6. Get your mind in gear: You may think you’re logging tons of hours in the gym, but in fact you  mostly have a magazine on a rack in front of you as you go through the motions, mind drifting. Try a workout like pilates that requires you to truly focus and engage your body.
  7. Ask the hard questions. Hitting a plateau is also a good time to ask yourself whether the goals you set are reasonable, helpful, and make sense. Everything you do for yourself in terms of healthy eating and working out is a favor for your body and your longevity and something that you should feel good about if. Don’t torture yourself with impossible numbers. Be nice to your body and your heart; they’re the only ones you’ve got.
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