Cambridge’s Leading personal trainers

How To Get Your Diet Back On Track

Start by asking yourself this simple question:

‘If you were to live the rest of your life exactly the same way you did for the previous week, would you be truly happy?’

We’ve all been there.

The dieting phase is going really well. 

The number on the scale is slowly dropping, you’re lifting more in the gym and overall you are feeling much better in yourself. 

Perhaps it is a celebratory weekend, a holiday which triggers a temporary pause in your diet, or you simply have an ‘off track day’, which turns into multiple days.

It can feel like a never-ending cycle.

Finding yourself out of sync with your goal/s and lacking the motivation to begin focusing on your nutrition and training again. 

I want to remind you that you are not the first person to experience this, and certainly will not be the last. 

We are human. 

It is good to have breaks from a dieting phase for both our bodies and minds. 

Tracking calories is a tool which should be used when the time is appropriate, not for your whole life. 

So if you find yourself struggling to refocus after some time off, here are some tips to help you get back on track. 

1. Don’t Wait For Monday. 

So often we hear clients say ‘I’ve had a bad week but from Monday I will be back to it.’ 

If you’ve ever found yourself saying this, ask yourself why? 

Why do you need to wait until Monday? 

Does waiting until Monday provide benefits that wouldn’t come from starting now? 

The start of the week can be seen as a fresh start, which I am not disagreeing with! 

However, this does not always have a positive impact.

We see clients use this as an opportunity to overeat beyond a point they actually want to in the days leading up to ‘Monday’ and then suddenly try to go 100% all-in at the start of the week. 

In our experience, going from 0-100, real quick, can just make things harder for yourself. 

Instead, why not start to add in some of the habits you are looking to implement one day at a time? 

Gradually building these habits into every life can make them feel a lot less overwhelming and gives you a chance to adjust as you head into your calorie deficit/surplus. 

2. Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail

I am guessing this is not the first time you have heard that phrase?

As eye-rolling as it can be to hear these popular phrases, this one really does hold a lot of truth. 

Sometimes the struggle to get ‘back on track’ comes from not setting yourself up with sustainable habits prior to the time off. 

Life happens. 

Unpredictable things come up. 

Suddenly, we have a 2-day heat wave in March, with snow forecast for the next week so obviously, we need to make the most of it by having a BBQ or heading to a beer garden. 

If you have built sustainable routines/habits prior to having a few off-plan days, you will be in a much better place to pick things up back where you left off. 

This preparation comes in a number of ways. 

1. Training: 

Plan your sessions for the week before. 

Take a look at your diary, find the 2-4 slots that fit with your schedule and add them in.

Adding more accountability is a great way to get you back into your routine of training.

Book yourself into those sessions so you know there is a coach waiting for you to turn up. 

Tell a friend or partner you are going before you go.

Have a workout buddy.

Book a couple of PT sessions.

Whatever works for you to give you that extra push when you could easily turn back from heading out the door. 

2. Nutrition:

I appreciate meal prepping takes time and forward-thinking, but it really does save you heaps of time, effort and energy for those days you are prepared. 

Find 20 minutes at a point in the week to sit down and plan 2-3 meals you can batch cook and write the accompanying shopping list. 

Find 2 hours where you can then bulk cook those 2-3 meals, aiming to make 3-4 portions of each. 

You then have at least one meal across the next 1-2 weeks covered. These can be placed in the fridge or freezer and are then ready for when you need a meal that is in line with your goals but lacks time or motivation. 

Meal prepping is a habit, just like most of this journey. 

Once you realise that those 2 hours of cooking on a Sunday morning save you anywhere up to an hour each day plus reduces the chances of you needing to grab a quick, convenient meal which is not very nutrient-dense, it becomes easier to prioritise. 

They don’t need to be anything extraordinary. 

Meals you enjoy that are simple to prep and cook are the way forward. You might not even need to prep the whole meal either. It might be that you make the protein source in advance and prepare your carb and vegetable/fruit (micronutrition) source fresh on the day. 

Frozen fruit and vegetables are often cheaper, keep for longer and are easy to prepare for lots of meals, so utilise those! 

3. Track Your Intake 

Chances are, in your time away from tracking you have been eating more/less than what is required from your deficit or surplus. 

You may have been intuitively eating at around maintenance, which will be indicated by no-to little movement in scale weight. 

The best way you are going to get your nutrition back to a point where it is in line with your goals is to track your calories. 

For the first day or two, aim to eat mindfully and track whatever you have so that you can get a good understanding of where you are currently at. 

For example, if your calorie target is 1,800 and in the time off you have been eating at 2,400, trying to cut out 600 calories overnight could be a little tricky. 

It is likely you will be feeling hungry and a little low on energy which is not helpful if you are already struggling to get back into your routine. 

Once you know what you have been roughly consuming, you can begin a gradual reduction to get you to your calorie goal. 

Look to cut back 50-100 calories every 1-2 days. This shouldn’t be that noticeable from day to day, but within a week or 2, you will be back down where you want to be whilst giving your body a chance to adjust to the reduction in energy intake. 

This can be done by swapping for a lower calorie option of what you are already having e.g. a bagel thin instead of a bagel (Warburtons Thin = 130 kcals, Warburtons Original = 207 kcals). 

It is also likely that your water intake has been a little lower during this period. 

Aim to increase your water intake so you are getting 2-3L per day which helps with digestion, sleep, skin/hair and helps to fight off that sluggish feeling. 

4. Don’t Punish Yourself 

Punishing yourself with an overly restrictive diet or crazy intense workout regime is not going to be beneficial in any way. 

It doesn’t help you to build healthy, sustainable habits or relationships with food or exercise. 

It’s telling yourself that living your life is a mistake and there should be negative repercussions from that. 

A punishing routine might result in some initial weight loss, but it is very unlikely to be enjoyable which means it’s probably not very sustainable. 

The aim should always be to do things in a way that you could (and want to) maintain for a long time. 

5. Remember Your Why 

Reminding yourself of your goals, the reason you are doing this and what you are wanting to achieve can help find that focus. 

Maybe you need to revisit your goals? Perhaps they have changed. 

Maybe your initial goal was a little easy which is why you’re lacking that motivation. 

Or perhaps it was too hard. 

Sit down and really think about what it is you want from this journey and find a goal that genuinely excites you. 

I will finish off by asking you that same initial question;

‘If you were to live the rest of your life exactly the same way you did for the previous week, would you be truly happy?’

Need help with getting back on track? Click ‘Enquire Now’ to speak with a member of our team. 

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