Your Tips for Getting Back on Track

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

Hey there!

I'm Tina

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.

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Good morning! Happy Tuesday!

Yesterday morning started bright and early with a trip to Marylou’s for iced coffee. Mal and I both dropped the ball on making another batch, so we ended up buying our morning cup of joe.

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As always, Murphy wanted to come for a ride in the car. Pugs love adventures.

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There are actually quite a few Marylou’s locations near our house (I know, I am so lucky), but I opted for the one with the drive-up window””mostly because I was still wearing my PJs, but also because Murphy usually gets a treat from the nice drive-up employees.

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As soon as I pulled the car up to the window, Murphy started whimpering with excitement. A pug never forgets when food is involved!

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Lucky for Murphy, the women who served me my coffee also gave me a Milk Bone.

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Hooray!

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Breakfast

When I got home,  I reheated a couple of pieces of Carrot Cake Soufflé Bake, which I topped with maple syrup and fresh sliced strawberries. Mmm!

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It was an especially delicious way to start the day!

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Lunch

I spent the rest of the morning work, work, working (with a cuddly pug on my lap), and then broke for lunch around noon. On the menu: Trader Joe’s Chicken Fried Rice with some sliced chicken sausage.

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The fried rice came frozen and bagged, so I just poured a bunch into a bowl and cooked it up in the microwave. While it cooked, I headed the sausage in a pan on the stove. Lunch came together in no time at all.

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Snacks

A few hours later, my stomach started to grumble, so I made a peanut butter and banana smoothie to hold me over until dinnertime. In the mix:

Best peanut butter and banana smoothie ever. Love, love, love.

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Right before dinner, I wanted a little something to eat, so I snacked on a Mini Babybel cheese.

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Dinner

Last night’s dinner was burgers with steamed Brussels sprouts, sauteed mustard greens with garlic powder and curry, and Trader Joe’s Sweet Potato Tots, which were awesome. Definitely buying them again!

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After dinner, Mal and I finished off a box of Chocolate Chex that the nice people at General Mills sent me to try last week. We opened the box on Saturday night and, in just two sittings, totally killed the box. This stuff is dangerous (and ridiculously delicious)! And we may or may not have added another box to our grocery shopping list for today.

chocolate chex

Your Tips for Getting Back on Track

I’ve enjoyed some rather indulgent experiences lately, haven’t I? Hawaii? Twin Farms? St. Patrick’s Day?

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Not surprisingly, with all of that eating, drinking, and being merry, it’s been a little difficult for me to get back on track with my healthy eating habits. Of course, enjoying myself every once in a while isn’t a big deal, but if I’m not careful, I’ll start to veer off course and the pounds will slowly creep on. (I’m pretty sure my digestive system wouldn’t appreciate it either.)

Over the years, I’ve struggled with this on-and-off-the-health-living-wagon again and again, so I’ve written a number of posts about what helps me get back on track. Here are some of my favorite tips!

Don’t dwell on the past

Instead of dwelling on the mistakes I made in the past, I focus on the future. For me, the most important thing to remember is that those pounds gained are not permanent. With some strength, self-discipline, and hard work, they’ll come off.

Create a plan of attack

Creating a plan of attack with regard to my eating and exercise routine makes me feel in control. I start by planning my workouts for the week by scheduling them in my calendar. I’ll usually pick a couple of group exercise classes at my gym and schedule them like appointments that I cannot miss. Searching for nutritious recipes online and planning a few healthy meals also boosts my motivation to get (and stay!) on track.

Read health blogs for inspiration

When I’d rather sit on the couch than go for a run, I read some of my favorite health blogs for inspiration. I almost always find a recipe, new workout, or some words of advice that make me want to change my tune. Seeing others at their healthiest and happiest motivates me to think back to a time when I felt strong and fit. This always gets my butt in gear!

Make a change NOW

Instead of waiting to start a diet or new exercise routine on Monday, I make a change right away. Some of my favorites: I throw on my sneakers for a brisk walk around the block, I search for healthy recipes on the internet, or plan my workouts for the week. Jump-starting right away boosts my motivation to get on track and keeps me from falling further into bad habits that got me off course in the first place.

Schedule your workouts like appointments

I use my personal calendar to keep me organized with all aspects of my life- from project deadlines to doctor’s appointments to grocery lists and social events. I record everything in my calendar, including my workouts. On Sunday afternoons, I spend some time scheduling my workouts for the week, just like I would with any other obligation. I usually pick a couple of group exercise classes and schedule them like appointments that I can’t miss. Seeing my week all laid out with plenty of time for exercise helps me get back on track with my workouts.

Use your social networks for motivation

In addition to my blog readers, sending out a message on Twitter or Facebook to my followers can also help spur some motivation to get myself back on track. There’s been more than one occasion when I’ve wanted to blow off a workout, but my Twitter friends come to my rescue to encourage me to get my sweat on!

Be patient

Weight loss (and even maintenance) includes many ups and downs, so it’s easy to forget my successes. Instead of obsessively checking my progress on the scale and realizing it hasn’t changed as quickly as I’d like, I focus on the progress I’ve made off the scale. For instance, I recently have been incorporating more veggies into my meals. I’ve tried a bunch of new recipes and found easy ways to load up my diet with nutrients. Remembering my successes at times when I need them most gets me back on track (consistency is key!) so I see results.

Now that I’ve shared my favorite tips and tricks for getting back on track, I’d love to hear from you guys!

Question of the Day

What is your BEST tip for getting back on track when your healthy habits have started to slip?

Recently, I’ve partnered again with Harvard Pilgrim Health Care on their “Count Us In” campaign. They liked my posts from the “Well-Together Challenge” so much, they asked me to work together with them in 2013, which means I’ll be a featured guest blogger on the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care website next month.

One of the content pieces I was asked to write for the website involves “crowd-sourced health and wellness tips,” which is where you guys come in. If you’re interested in helping me out, just leave a comment on this post with your BEST tip for getting back on track. I’ll pick my favorites, which will then be featured on the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care website. If you have a blog, be sure to include the URL with your suggestion. Thanks, guys!

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129 Comments

  1. My dog has a very good memory wen it comes to places that give him treats too. If h got a treat there 3 years ago, he STILL remembers! It’s tough to get back on track….but I like to just stock my fridge and not give myself any unhealthy options

  2. Honestly, What I try to do in order to get moving and motivated is read your blog. Even in mornings like today when I woke up late for work, and then you drive to work and don’t even remember the drive… Yes, that did happen. Inspirational blogs or blogs of people struggling with the same issues as me, is my one motivator, and then I put on some colorful workout clothes and sit on my couch till eventually I drag myself to the gym or for a run.

  3. Love all these tips. My best way to get back on track is to pack my lunches on the weekend as much as I can. That keeps me from caving in the morning and just saying I’ll buy something at school. Because we all know that means a burger and fries 😉

  4. Some of my favorite tips for getting back into your healthy habits: Forgive and Forget and Stop and Think.

    You have to forgive yourself for the past over-indulgences and taking things further than you wanted. Dwelling on past mistakes isn’t helpful; eating one cookie could trigger a memory of that time you ate 5 cookies. Feelings of guilt and shame can cause the situation to easily spiral from there. Don’t be so hard on yourself!

    My next tip is to stop and think before you eat something, especially if you’ve just eaten a main meal. If you suddenly NEED some ice cream, you’re probably not actually hungry and it’s likely an emotional craving. Just pause for a few seconds and think. If you still really want the ice cream, that’s fine, have a bowl and leave it at that. If you find that you’re not really that hungry or craving it anymore, then it was an emotional urge that has passed. Back to healthy habits!

    http://aftertheivyleague.com/

  5. My best tip for getting back on track is to make the next choice a healthy choice. Getting back on track doesn’t need to wait until you can start in the morning or on Monday. It can begin with the next choice you make. These choices don’t need to be huge earth shattering changes but rather smaller and more measurable changes. Those small changes will start to add up over time and suddenly you realize you’ve completed your first half marathon or lost 200+ pounds (like me!)

  6. I love your tips Tina! It’s spring break for me right now and so im trying hard to stay healthy as well as enjoying myself. So far so good. Next week is.back to school. Which means its easier for me to stay on track because Im busy with working out, studying, going to class, etc. I think im gonna start doing more Tara Stiles yoga too because the more yoga i do, the more mindful i am of eating. Lol.

  7. Forgive and Forget – You have to forgive yourself for past over-indulgences. Dwelling on your mistakes won’t help you move forward; eating one cookie can easily trigger a memory of that time you ate 5 cookies if you dwell on the past too much. Forgive yourself, move on, and don’t be so hard on yourself.

    Stop and Think – When you suddenly get a strong urge to eat something, especially after having just finished a meal, stop and think for a few seconds. Are you genuinely hungry? What made you suddenly need that food? If after a few seconds the urge has lessened or gone away, it was likely an emotional cue and not a pure hunger cue. If you still want the food, then go for it. Enjoy it, and definitely do not beat yourself up for it. You were hungry and you wanted it, no big deal.

    http://aftertheivyleague.com/

  8. Forgive and Forget – You have to forgive yourself for past over-indulgences. Dwelling on your mistakes won’t help you move forward; eating one cookie can easily trigger a memory of that time you ate 5 cookies if you dwell on the past too much. Forgive yourself, move on, and don’t be so hard on yourself.

    Stop and Think – When you suddenly get a strong urge to eat something, especially after having just finished a meal, stop and think for a few seconds. Are you genuinely hungry? What made you suddenly need that food? If after a few seconds the urge has lessened or gone away, it was likely an emotional cue and not a pure hunger cue. If you still want the food, then go for it. Enjoy it, and definitely do not beat yourself up for it. You were hungry and you wanted it, no big deal.

    aftertheivyleague(dot)com

  9. The things that always help me get back on track:
    1. plan and prep! planning your weekly food menu is key-having all good items ready and accessible is clutch! I spend Sat morning making a weekly menu; then shop and cook on Sunday (breakfast quiche, lunch for the week ; snacks ready and LOTS of water!
    2. I will set my weekly workouts and sometimes that means findng a spin or weight class at the gym to hold me accountable. Schedule weekly meet ups with friends for a run after work, runs on weekends, walks with my niece or hike with the dogs on the weekends.

    And this time change has definitely helped! I get so excited to leave work while its still light out, makes me pack my running gear and go for a run in the city befefore heading home.

  10. I think they best method of getting back on track and STAYING on track revolves 3 key words – START, STOP, KEEP. I learned of this method in one of the courses I am taking to receive my certification in Nutrition for Optimal Health, Wellness and Sports Performance. Each week, this little method requires you to evaluate your current diet/lifestyle and make a list consisting of: one thing you can START doing to make a healthy change in your diet/lifestyle. Maybe it is to drink more water, or eat more fresh produce or get yourself exercising each day. Then, think of one thing you can STOP doing. Maybe you want to cut out the processed snacks, maybe you want to stop drinking soda, maybe you want to stop overeating at night before bed. Then, think of one thing you are ALREADY DOING and KEEP DOING IT! Maybe you already go to the gym everyday- you want to keep that up! Or, maybe you are great at eating your fruits and veggies or are in the fabulous habit of drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day.
    Each week you would re-evaluate your goals and make additional changes. This method is great for taking small, attainable steps towards a healthier lifestyle without feeling overwhelmed. Little steps tend to lead to the big results! And, the little steps tend to lead to LASTING BIG CHANGES AND RESULTS!
    This type of “plan” works for anyone and doesn’t restrict you which is great- keeps you away from Fad dieting and drastic changes which no one enjoys!

  11. To get back on track I like to journal my food for a week or two. This always seems to make me feel more accountable. (especially if it’s on the web!!)

  12. I’m going on a cruise in less than two weeks and I’m so worried about getting off track after doing so well for the past three months. I don’t want to not have a good time, but I’m worried they are going to have to roll me off the boat! LOL. I’ve become a little bit of a morning person so I’m hoping I can just get up and participate in some group exercising classes since they tend to fly by faster than working out by myself. The view will definitely help too! This will prevent me from waking up my boyfriend too early as he likes to sleep in. I also plan to eat really well at breakfast and lunch and then do what I can at dinner. Hopefully I can stick to my plan. Wish me luck 🙂

  13. I also read healthy blogs for inspiration when I feel like I have been dropping the ball with physical activity. I usually opt for yoga and the occasional group fitness strength classes. I always feel so good after so I regularly check my gym’s website schedule to set my mind to the next class I really want to go to. I also make a point to pick out some green leafy veggies along with other veggies to eat everyday. I will check blogs for inspiration on recipes to make as well!!

  14. Love all those tips! My best tip for getting back on track is to put the eats behind you. Meaning whatever unhealthy food/drinks you had, put it behind you and start fresh whatever day/time it is. Look up some fresh, healthy recipes and go home that night and cook them. If you don’t have the time to cook, prep meals whenever you do have time so that healthy food is on hand! When in doubt, put some greens on your plate and you’ll start feeling better 🙂

  15. Scheduling workouts is VERY important! My box recently moved to an online scheduling system that locks us out 12 hours before the class. (We used to just be able to show up whenever.) That means every workout is an appointment that goes in my calendar.
    Also, I just stop buying crap. If there’s nothing indulgent or junky in my house then I can’t eat anything indulgent or junky.

  16. I think setting realistic goals for yourself is key to get back on track. Even if you have to start out by only walking a few days a week, you can set a goal to gradually work up to more frequent or intense workouts. If I end up missing a workout, I always try and incorporate some other activity in its place such as cleaning or taking my dogs for a long walk. Even if its not intense exercise, staying active and staying positive with own goals is more important.

  17. 1- Make it fun! Head to your favorite health food store, grab some staples and and splurge little on a few new-to-you foods,

    2- Have a go-to healthy breakfast/lunch. After a vacation I find myself craving a big bowl of hot cereal and a simple salad or sandwich for lunch. It takes the guess work out of these meals and gets me back into a routine.

  18. Set goals to keep motivated, and track your progress. Starting an exercise diary was the best thing I ever did.

  19. Congrats on the partnership, Tina!
    My get-back-on-track healthy tip is to EAT! Make your next meal, whenever it is, a healthy one. Starving or skipping a meal is setting yourself up for failure or a binge so make the very next meal (not the next day, the next monday, the next “fresh new start”) full of nutritious foods that you enjoy.

  20. I read an analogy a while back. It stated, if you were saving money and made a goal to put a dollar in the jar every day for a year and got sidetracked and forgot to do so for a week, would you pick it back up or just give up on that goal? Most of us would pick it back up as soon as we could.

    But when we get sidetracked on our healthy eating or working out goals, we give up. Many do not pick back up, we beat ourselves up and let the goal go by the wayside.

    Always pick up where you left off, don’t look back. You cannot change what was done in the past. Always look forward.

  21. Love your tips for getting back on track! I had a very indulgent weekend (read: beer, treats, and froyo) and I keep telling myself to LOOK FORWARD. I had a GREAT time and would do it again.. However, I should not dwell on what I ate and drank.. I should move on 🙂

  22. The most effective thing for me is to text some of my girls from the Mercer Island CrossFit box. If I don’t feel like going to class, making a date with a buddy is way more motivating for me than just putting it on my calendar and hoping I’ll feel like going. If I make it an official girl “date,” I’m excited to see my friends and I know I won’t wanna bail and let them down!

    http://themeghamix.blogspot.com

  23. My last comment didn’t post, or maybe you have to approve it because of the url?

    Anyway, your tips are great Tina! My top 2: Make your very next choice a healthier choice and don’t dwell on the past. You ate it, did it, enjoyed it, but now it’s time to get over it and move on! As someone that has struggled with staying on the bandwagon, these tips, plus the others you posted (making a plan, getting inspiration) are all tools I use to get back on track.

  24. If I spent a weekend away or overindulging, I always wake up the next morning and work out first thing. This sets the tone for the day to be healthy and it makes me feel better immediately.

  25. My biggest problem after falling off track is swinging back a little too far- from indulgent to crazy strict so it’s important for me to remember that tiny slip ups don’t make a huge difference in the end

  26. I love to browse some of my favorite cookbooks, websites and blogs for enticing and delicious recipes, filled with nutritious and fresh ingredients. Then I look through the supermarket circular to plan out the meals for that week, and save the other ideas for the next. I find if I spice up what I’m eating, I am excited to eat in and enjoy my cooking adventures.

  27. I often don’t weight myself for a few days. And try to increase my total activity, not just exercise…walking the dog more, taking longer walks to run errands, etc. And I go buy tons of veggies and eat as many as possible!

  28. My best tip after an indulgent day, weekend, week, or even month is to pick a day in the near future (maybe 2-3 days from then) that I’ll weigh myself. Knowing I’m going to have to see that number on the scale makes me motivated to make as many healthy choices as possible between now and then – work out, eat healthy, drink water, etc – so that it’s as low as possible!

  29. “Cheats” happen. I commit the same effort to my health and fitness as I would my career. If I get sidetracked, I own up to it and move on. Schedule time for meal planning and workouts using a calendar or whatever means will keep you organized and accountable. For example, while eating breakfast before my workouts on Saturday, I make my Sunday prep shopping list. I also record which days I will run, CrossFit, hike, etc. in my calendar. Life happens and sometimes we get busy – if you can’t prep on Sunday, Monday night is just as good! Make fitness “meetings” with your friends and/or family… I plan hikes, long runs, rock climbing, etc. with friends so I can keep in touch AND burn calories. I also look for inspiration from other bloggers, magazines, cookbooks, etc.

    Lastly, I use my skinny jeans as my gut-check. Literally.

  30. There are so many wonderful tips from everyone!

    I would add… Change it Up! Whether coming back from vacation or just falling off the healthy eating wagon, it’s always good to change it up. Try a new exercise you haven’t done before, or take class that has a different instructor.

    Change the food too. Find an exotic fruit or veggie that you can add to a dish! Or try and easy fun and healthy recipe you have never tryed.

    Last, buy a new piece of workout gear. It doesn’t have to be expensive, it could be a headband, a good pair of socks, a cute shirt, or if you want to spend a little more go ahead and buy those shoes. It just might be the motive to get you out and moving!

  31. I always try to think of small ways I can get back on track the following day/week/or even meal! I make sure to incoporate drinking lots of water and adding in veggies and fruit where I can! I also try to prepare one super healthy meal the following day- something that takes some time to prepare and uses fresh ingredients, so that I can feel accomplished after cooking myself something I know is good for me! Usually after one good day of healthy meals and a solid work out I feel back on track and realize that all those days of healthy eating and making time to work out makes it so that I can have indulgence days and not beat myself up too much about it!

  32. I love these tips, especially the first one. My biggest downfall is dwelling on my past mistakes and letting that trigger my all-or-nothing attitude. But my proudest moments are when I pick myself back up and look forward to my next healthy decision.

  33. I use a lot of the tips you mention here after some time indulging. I have really made it a point to move forward in and not regret bad decisions I’ve made and I’ve found that it helps me feel much less stressed. There really is no point in worrying about something that happened yesterday because you can’t go back and change it you can only do something now to forgive and forget. Also, scheduling workouts like appointments is always a huge help for me. At my CrossFit box we have to do this anyway so that there aren’t too many people in each class. Scheduling a time for a WOD makes me commit to showing up.

  34. For me, the best thing to do is to make a plan. If my eating has been terrible, I always feel calmer if I have a rough meal plan written out. Another thing I do if I’m feeling gross from overindulging is make myself a green smoothie. Somehow this usually works for me!

  35. I, myself, am sipping a green smoothie as I read this, as I went off track, myself recently. You think you are doing so well, and as Tina says, slowly a few extra bites here and there or a few extra drinks or cookies and tastes… and the pounds do creep on. My best tip is a quick plan of attack. I, too, got off the up and down roller coaster a few years ago and lost twenty pounds and kept it off, BUT, as soon as I go a little off, the next day I get right on the scale and face the music. Then I start with making the very next meal, breakfast, my usual healthy choice like greek yogurt, flax seeds, berries. Then I usually replace lunch with a gentle pureed veggie soup (recipe from Bethenny Frankel’s book, soup always gets me back on track) and then have a sensible dinner – and give up the white flour/sugar out of my system for three days. I think that’s what leads to over-eating and getting off track is the sugar/baked goods/flour stuff. So, detoxing from that for a few days usually does it for me. so quick plan off attack and remembering how good we feel eating healthy. (nothing tastes as good as skinny feels!)

  36. I think my tips/advice would be similar to what you already posted; don’t dwell on the past, move on to a new day; focus on the positives/how far you’ve come; forgive yourself; make a plan, food choices, exercise, etc.; schedule workouts; find a buddy to help you stay accountable; write down the reasons you started exercising/making better food choices in the first place; watch Biggest Loser; register for a race, etc. I blog at http://herbivoretriathlete.com

  37. Since I started doing CrossFit about 7 months ago, it’s been easier to get back on track if I fall off for a little bit. Once I get back in the box, I’m immediately back in the game 🙂 But that’s just me.

    Love Chocolate Chex by the way.. Have you ever tried Cinnamon Chex? DELICIOUS! That stuff is dangerous 😉

  38. I like to just give myself a break. When I’m trying to get back into something I try to take away restrictions. For example if I don’t work out first thing in the morning I don’t say ‘Oh great, i missed my workout for the day’ I forgive myself and figure out when I can fit it in during the day and commit to doing it.

  39. I do pretty much the same things. Sometimes I’ll go buy some new workout gear, too… that ALWAYS motivates me to get to the gym! Set small goals, too. If I’m really not in the mood to work out, I’ll just tell myself to go for a walk. Once I start walking, I’ll jog and realize how good it feels!

  40. I think when you have fallen off the “exercise/health wagon” it takes getting excited about it again in some way to get you back on track. I remember last year when I hit a slump I bought a Fitbit, which I LOVE and obsessively wear, it helps me challenge myself at a day job where I sit all the time to get up and get moving! Hit 10,000 steps a day. Or I also love to buy myself a new workout piece of clothing or sweat band (who doesn’t love a good sweat band?!?!) that would brighten up my day.

    We all hit slumps but it’s all about finding motivation to get back into again! Thanks for the post Tina it’s a great one!!!

  41. This post is so relevant to my life right now! My major tips for getting back on track is all mental. I envision a “clean slate” and remind myself why I want to be healthy. Once I’m mentally prepared, the rest is easy – at this point we all know how to be healthy and what it requires to lose weight.

  42. Going for a brisk walk is number one for me – it never fails to make me smile but doesn’t feel too gruelling when you’re trying to ease yourself back in to healthy ways. Then I’ll cook something really tasty and nutritious, like salmon and ginger broth with pak choy, and feel fresh inside and out!

  43. My best tip for getting back on track is getting back into something you love. Whether it’s taking the dog for a run or walk, going horseback riding, or taking a yoga class, doing something fun that doesn’t seem like enforced exercise always makes me feel more motivated 🙂

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