healthy_eatingThe first few days or weeks of a new healthy lifestyle like the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge can be fantastic. You’re excited to try out new healthy eating recipes, you’ve booked in a number of exercise sessions throughout your week, the sun is shining, you’re ready for a change.
Everything goes well for a while and then often what can happen is life gets in the way. The sun goes away, it starts raining (how are you supposed to go for a run now!?). You catch the same cold your children have had for the past week. You’ve been asked to do some extra shifts or work longer hours at work. Your sweet tooth is nagging you like crazy, especially at the family events and birthday parties you’ve had to go to.
With all this extra pressure, less time for exercising and preparing healthy meals, doesn’t it just seem easier to quit the Challenge?
Of course quitting is not the answer, no matter how hard things have got and how many set backs you may have had, you can always push through. Here are some tips to help you keep going when things are getting hard:

  • If you’ve had a few days with lots of unhealthy food options, that’s ok. Just get back into eating as well as possible as soon as you can.
  • Look for recipes throughout the Challenge that you can prepare ahead of time and freeze like pastas, curries, stews and soups. So that when life gets on top of you, you don’t have to think about making dinner, you just take something out of the freezer and heat it up.
  • If you’ve been unwell then take things slowly. If you don’t have the energy to continue with your exercise plan then just do what you can. Go for a walk instead of a run. Do a shorter interval training session than normal or break your sessions up into shorter bursts throughout the day. Three lots of 10 minutes of exercise is still 30 minutes at the end of day.
  • Try more gentle exercises if you have an injury or aren’t well. Yoga and pilates stretches are great and will still give you energy and help you to reach your weight loss goals.
  • If lots of unexpected things have been added to your usual weekly schedule e.g. more work, kids unwell so they’re home from school, your mother in law is coming for a visit etc, then re-work your food prep and exercise days to suit. Maybe do a day or two less of exercise if you’re really busy or just choose something shorter for these days.
  • These unexpected busy weeks are why food prep is so important when you do have time. Make some meals ahead of time, freeze them and then you’ll be set when you’re rushed.
  • Don’t wallow in your misery. Whether it’s because you’re unwell, you feel like you’re failing or you just can’t stop reaching for the chocolate bars when you’re hungry, don’t dwell on these negative feelings. Acknowledge them and then move on as they’ll only make you feel worse if you think about them for too long.
  • Make a commitment to wake up the next day and do something, even if it’s small, that will help you reach your goals. Ten minutes of exercise, a healthy choice for breakfast and lunch, plus a spot of housework to up your incidental exercise and you’ll be back on track in no time.
  • The 28 Day Challenges are meant to guide you to making a healthy lifestyle change forever not just for 28 days. So of course life is always going to throw its curveballs and therefore learning how to deal with them and continue on with your healthy journey is vital to your success.
  • We’re all human, sometimes we all just want to roll over and go back to sleep in the morning or eat two slices of cake. This is ok. Listen to your body and notice how you’re feeling. If you are really exhausted then try some gentle exercise that day. If you really want a huge piece of cake then maybe find a healthy sweet alternative recipe from the Challenge recipe hub. There are so many that will satisfy you in the same way.

When you’ve had a hard week or two and feel like you’ve ruined your chances at succeeding at the 28 Day Challenge, think back to all the times you have been achieving your goals. You’ll probably find that you’ve been moving forward more than moving backwards so everything balances out in the end.
Whatever is making it hard to achieve your healthy lifestyle goals will end and as long as you’re doing your best to make healthy choices more consistently, you won’t ever need to feel like quitting again.
healthy eating meal plans