Can you relate to this scenario? You’ve recently made a commitment to eat a healthier diet. You’ve started a new exercise program. You are on track to lose some of those excess winter pounds.
All goes well for the first couple weeks. It’s not easy, true, but you have enthusiasm and determination.
Then life happens. It starts with a few little annoyances. The car is making that expensive-sounding clicking noise. (Cue turning up the radio louder.) Job projects pile up. There is that lingering to-do list of pesky phone calls.
Then one of THOSE DAYS hits. Hard. You know the type. It’s a the-school-calls-about-your-little-sweet-ums-swearing-in-the-lunch-room-what-do-you-mean-insurance-won’t-cover-this-that-coworker-is-so-annoying-telling-you-what-to-do-she’s-such-a-know-it-all-did-the-cat-really-throw-up-in-the-living-room-corner-AGAIN?-that’s SO-THE-LAST-STRAW-FOR-THIS-CREATURE-type of day.
These are the days that I pack it all in and head to the nearest Dairy Queen. Blizzards for dinner, all around. My kids love my bad days. Ahem.
I’ve been maintaining a 100 lb weight loss for 10 years now, so I’ve been on my healthy lifestyle journey through many tough life spots. (Here is an article about my 100 lb weight loss through tough situations in life.)
It’s not easy, but it is indeed possible to maintain healthy choices when life goes all kinds of crazy.
Did you know that God cares deeply about your physical health as well as your spiritual health? God desires for us to be healthy in every way. After all, when we are not physically healthy, it impacts all other areas of our lives negatively.
I fully believe Satan tries to thwart our efforts when we start making healthy lifestyle changes. Be prepared for his attacks! (Read more about this here: How Satan Attacks Us.)
A 3 Step Plan to Stay Healthy When Life Goes All Kinds of Crazy
This is the 3 step plan I have developed to stay healthy when life gets super-hectic or a true crisis hits. Keep in mind this isn’t long-term. I know there are times it feels like crisis times can drag on forever! This is a short-term plan (no longer than a couple months) to get you through a rough spot. If you are using this any longer, it’s time to re-prioritize.
- Find Your One Must-Do and Stick With It.
- Choose One Good-To-Do and Prioritize It.
- Be Okay with the Let-It-Goes.
1. Find Your One Must-Do and Stick With It
What is one positive change you have made that is critical to your health and wellness? This doesn’t have to be something huge, but it does need to be something you can do consistently.
Make this a high enough priority that you cannot let it go for more than a couple days.
Here are two statements to consider to find what yours is:
1. Things I have done in the past to successfully lose weight and eat in a more healthy way are:
2. If I could just stick with (doing) ___________, I would be successful with losing weight/being more fit/feeling great.
For me, my #1 highest priority is exercise. I must continue to do some type of workout 4-5 times per week. While it’s true that I need it for calorie burn, what’s more important is it regulates my mood and wards of depression. I have energy and feel tons better when I work out in the morning. My workouts might be less intense during crisis times, but I still do something almost every day.
What is your number one, absolutely must-do priority? Is it exercise? Is it eating whole foods or a diet that eliminates a food your body cannot tolerate? Is it getting enough sleep or attending yoga? Whatever it is, realizing this about yourself is a huge step. Own it and make it happen.
2. Choose One Good-To-Do and Prioritize It.
The next step is to choose an area that is important to you, but not absolutely critical. For me this is a diet that keeps my calories in check. It’s very important to me not to gain weight. I’ve been maintaining my 100 lb weight loss within a 5 lb range for 10 years now, and if I started to re-gain that weight, it would be incredibly stressful — just as stressful as a crisis.
While eating a healthy, whole-foods diet is really important to me the majority of the time, I am able to let that slide somewhat during times of intense stress. I do my best, but the truth is I am okay with being more relaxed about it for this short period of time. I rely on more prepared foods. We eat out more. I eat more pizza. What can I say? It’s life.
What is your good-to-do priority? Choose an area that has some flexibility, but is still valuable to you.
3. Be Okay With the Let-It-Goes.
During these short-term times, it’s really honestly okay to just let some stuff go. It’s far better to be honest with yourself about letting SOME things go, than pretend you are going to be 100% on plan when in reality it’s ALL going to end up in the bottom of a Blizzard cup.
Earlier this year I gave up drinking all diet soda for about 6 months. Then a family crisis hit, and I was back to the Diet Coke. Do I feel guilty about it? Nah. I have bigger fish to fry at the moment.
I’ve also been eating therapeutic doses of chocolate. My weight is stable, and chocolate has antioxidants, so it’s all good.
What are the areas where you can simply let it go for the time being?
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is never easy, but it’s especially challenging during times of intense stress or crisis.
Follow this 3-step plan to stay healthy when life goes all kinds of crazy, and what a testament it will be to the fact that these life changes are here to stay.