Two weeks ago, the Timehop app on my phone reminded me that just a year ago, I completed the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Half Marathon. Pictures of a happy, but tired post-race Gina flooded my app. I felt a mix of feelings – pride from what I had accomplished a year ago and a bit of guilt. Here I was soaking up the Lake Michigan sunset while on a long weekend getaway and eating delicious desserts without the least bit of soreness in my muscles from a recent workout.
Now, I’m trying to get “back on the wagon.” Honestly, though, I hate that phrase. Maybe it’s just that I feel a little intimidated and guilty from having stopped in the first place. It’s not that I haven’t worked out since the half-marathon; I just haven’t been working from a plan. I’ve been kind of drifting from workout to workout, from meal to meal, without a clear direction or goal.
For me, the most important thing is to know that every experience is part of a life-long health journey. I’m not starting over. I didn’t fall off the wagon; I just traveled on a bumpy detour for a while. I need to adjust my course and just keep moving.
But I could use some help. I asked a few of our ProMedica HealthConnect experts for their advice for getting back into the game. Here’s what they said:
Bryon Renwand, Physical Therapist, ProMedica Total Rehab
I think the best way to get back on track is to set goals and rewards. Maybe you want to lose 10 pounds, be able to do 20 push ups, or run a 5k. Whatever it may be, set a goal and a timeframe and when you achieve your goals, reward yourself with a nice dinner or something you’ve been wanting to purchase. Side Note: One thing that always helps me when I notice some weight gain (almost always around the winter holidays), is an app called MyFitnessPal. (Learn more by clicking here.)
Becky Bouillon, Wellness Nurse, ProMedica Wellness
Getting back on the horse after falling off, be it for weight management, exercise or eating healthy doesn’t have to be so complicated. First you need to accept that it happened, instead of beating yourself up. Use it as a learning experience. Most often it is due to lack of planning; you ate something that was off of your weight loss plan because “there was nothing else!” Accept that our environment does not support weight management and always be prepared.
Katie Smith, Clinical Therapist, Harbor
Returning to a regular exercise routine can sometimes be intimidating. Start off slow to promote self-efficacy! This is your belief in your ability to successfully complete a task. The more often you prove to yourself that you can complete that task, the higher your belief in yourself—self-efficacy—will be. If you’ve taken time off from exercising, start off a bit lighter than what you used to do and build your way back up. Experiencing success is more exciting and motivating than really struggling through your old “normal.” You will remember, “Yeah, I can do this!” and will be back in the swing of things in no time!
What do you do when your healthy habits are off course or you’re getting back into the game? I want to know! Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.
Gina Sares is the lead editor for ProMedica HealthConnect. Click here to read more of her stories from The Lovable Journey series.