You get a text. Your friends are meeting at the bar for happy hour after work (during your normal workout time). Do you go to the bar or go to the gym? Changing lifestyle habits is hard so learning when it’s okay to bend the rules can be a little wabi sabi. When you are a stickler to the rules, following a healthy eating plan and living a healthy lifestyle can make your brain do some crazy things. A situation comes up and it challenges a rule. Then comes guilt; you want to stick to your plan but you are also tempted by the situation. What do you do?
Here are three examples of instances it's okay to bend or break:
You’ve been exercising 5 days a week for 3 months and you get injured. Yes it’s time to rest. Exercising on an injury is not going to make things better plus you’ll likely be out even longer if you make the injury even worse. Now that doesn’t mean sitting around doing nothing. Active rest might still be a great option. Active rest examples include going for an easy walk, stretching and yoga. Even getting a sports massage can help work out your sore muscles.
You’re following a healthy eating plan, perhaps it’s something like a low-carb diet, and you’re traveling in another state and find yourself at a restaurant that literally only has pizza, breadsticks, soda and beer. So what do you do? Do you eat the pizza? Do you not eat anything and try to get something after you leave the restaurant? You could break the rule of low-carb and eat a piece of pizza, but you know YOU best. Can you stop at one just enough to not be hungry or does this send you in a diet tailspin? In this situation, make the best choice possible and get back to your healthy eating plan at the next meal.
A third time it’s ok to break the rules is if you find that food, diet or exercise are becoming an unhealthy preoccupation. If thinking about your meals runs through your head most of the day, you become uncomfortable eating in front of others or you start to withdraw from usual friends and activities, you could be developing an eating disorder. Here are some common symptoms of eating disorders:
Refusal to eat certain foods, progressing to restrictions against whole categories of food
Extreme concern with body size and shape
Frequent checking in the mirror for perceived flaws in appearance
Extreme mood swings
Stomach cramps, other non-specific gastrointestinal complaints
If you experience some of these, talk to someone about it and get counseling.
Following a healthy eating plan can be tough! Remember these tips to be successful:
Slow down when eating.
Use a smaller plate for meals.
Eat water filled foods like lettuce, watermelon and cucumbers to feel full and satisfied.
Plan for an occasional treat.
Increase your fiber intake. Most people need 25 to 35 grams per day, but only get 10 to 15 grams!
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