Weight loss doesn’t always go according to plan. Sometimes, life gets in the way of those plans and you have to madly dodge some curveballs. And sometimes, making healthy choices can be the easiest thing to fall by the wayside when we’re struggling. If you’re dealing with a death in the family, or losing your job, or a relationship break-up, or any kind of serious emotional trauma, eating well and getting regular exercise can (understandably) get a major demotion on your list of top priorities. So how do you get back on track when the going gets tough, or when you simply fall off the weight loss wagon for a while, for whatever reason?

First of all, it’s important to remember that living a healthy life isn’t something you do out of vanity – OK, you might want to look great in a figure-hugging dress or feel buff at the beach, but there are many more things a healthy lifestyle can offer you. So don’t feel guilty about treating yourself with care, and don’t feel like it’s a waste of time. Healthy living is about mind as much as body – the two are inextricably linked. Striving to achieve good health is just about looking after yourself.

So if you’re facing some challenges in the midst of your healthy living journey, here are some strategies to help you gather yourself and get back on track instead of crawling into bed with a lifetime supply of Dairy Milk …

Give yourself a deadline

Whatever you’re going through and whatever healthy living setbacks you’ve experienced as a consequence, you can only let yourself feel crappy for so long. Take some time out to feel sorry for yourself, but give yourself a deadline – after that point, it’s time to start getting things back on track and returning to your normal healthy living habits.

Ask for help

If you’re really struggling, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Friends, family, Facebook groups and forums – reach out, tell people what you’re thinking and feeling and see what advice they’ve got to offer. Sometimes, a little outside perspective is all we need to make us realise what we’ve been missing, or doing wrong; and talking about your problems can make you see them in a new light. If you keep stewing over something or telling yourself you’ve failed and you’ll never lose the weight you want to, you might end up believing it – tell someone else these same things, and they can help you reframe your negative thoughts.

Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness – it’s actually a sign of strength. It shows that you know what your limitations are and you want to achieve what you set out to do in the first place.

Engineer your environment

There are some things in life that we just have to do, because we don’t have a choice. I wanted to speak at my mum’s funeral, and I wanted to do it without a script – so I didn’t prepare one. I gave myself no choice. And I did it!

What this shows is that engineering your environment to give yourself no choices can give you the results you want. Sometimes, if we have choices, it’s easy to pick the easy one that’s bad for us – like takeout versus a home-cooked healthy dinner. Achieving the healthy lifestyle you want is about creating an environment for yourself where there are no unhealthy choices – then you always have to make the best choice for your body and your mind. Eventually, you won’t need to do this because making those healthy choices will just come naturally to you.

Here’s another example: studies show that if people don’t go down the junk food aisle at the supermarket, they don’t buy junk food. What does that tell you? Remove the bad choices, and you’re left with the good ones. And the more you make those good choices, the more engrained they’ll become – the more you’ll actually want to make them.

So whatever’s happened to throw you off the weight loss track, remember that it’s only temporary. Take some time out, and then jump right back in and get moving again towards becoming the healthiest version of yourself you can be.

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