Overhead of table top with glasses and plate of mini tomatoes

We all go off track and over-indulge at some point. It might be due to a stressful day at work that sent us over the edge, a night out with friends that led to some bad food decisions. or maybe it was an indulgent holiday like Thanksgiving. 

But what do you do when you go off track? Do you wake up guilt-ridden, beating yourself up? Do you buckle down and try to white-knuckle your way back to feeling successful? 

No matter which course of action you take, there are four simple and actionable steps you can follow to start feeling successful again. 

Step 1: Don’t dwell on the past; learn from it.

The past is the ultimate teacher in the school of life. It’s a chance to look back at our choices and then adjust. The last thing you should do is start beating yourself up over what you’ve done in the past because it’s over — much easier said than done though, right? 

Understand that falling off the proverbial wagon is completely normal. Nobody expects you to be perfect all the time. We’re not robots. We’re real people who have families, friends, and temptations. On top of that, food is never really just food. It doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It’s something that, especially during the holiday season, we bond over. 

Going off track doesn’t make you a bad person or a failure at dieting. Instead of beating yourself, use going off track as a chance to start reframing the situation as a learning experience. Look back at what went on and why you think you went off track. 

  • Was it a conscious choice to indulge? 
  • Did you catch yourself in the middle of your second plate wondering why you were still eating? 
  • Were the food and drinks more important at the time than staying on track?
  • Were there people that influenced your behaviors? 

The times when we go off track offer a chance for us to objectively evaluate our behaviors. We get to look back at what we did, ask ourselves why we’re not happy with what we did, and start to put a plan in place for the future to prevent us from winding up in that same situation. 

Accept it, understand it, and move on from it.

Step 2: Fight the urge to slash your numbers.

The next step is fighting the innate urge to drastically slash your numbers or seriously restrict you we eat in the following days or weeks.

At its core, drastically restricting ourselves is a totally understandable reaction. 

We want to recognize that this course of action is akin to hopping on a see-saw. It feeds into the cycle of overindulging, restricting, and overindulge again. Once we hop on that see-saw, it’s awfully hard to hop off. 

Here at Stronger U, our goal is to get you off that see-saw permanently. . We want to help you learn how to moderate yourself and feel less stress around food. Part of that comes with understanding that when we’ve had a big weekend of eating and drinking, what’s needed isn’t seriously restricting ourselves. Instead, it’s getting right back to doing what we know works for us — like planning our meals, prepping our food, eating whole and nutrient-dense foods, and hitting our numbers. Those behaviors haven’t ever stopped working, and they’re far less stressful than trying to white knuckle your way through a week of salads for every meal so you can stop feeling bloated.

Step 3: Find your support system

Finding a support system is one of those tried and true ways that we can make this journey easier on ourselves. Friends and coaches that understand what it’s like to go off plan and then get back on track can empathize with you and what you’re trying to do. They can be there to help offer support and guidance. They are the people that you can share your struggles with, trade meal ideas with and be helpful reminders that we’re all in this together.

If you want to go far, go together. Lean on your support system. Find help and support within the Stronger U Community and let people lift you up. And while you’re at it, lift them up as well. We’re all doing the best we can with what we’ve got available to us. Transforming our bodies and our eating behaviors can feel hard enough as it is. Don’t make it harder on yourself by trying to go it alone. 

Step 4: Get back to planning.

So you’ve accepted that you went off track. You’ve fought off that urge to seriously restrict yourself, and you’ve enlisted the help of your support system. What should your next step be? Simple: get back to planning.

Planning your meals is one of the most basic and oft-forgotten strategies that we can use to make our eating lives so much easier. No matter if you’re someone who has been around the Stronger U universe for two weeks or two years, planning your week (or even just a few days) in advance can make a huge difference in you staying on track and hitting your goals. 

When we get back to the process of planning, we remove the in-the-moment thinking that comes along with eating. We’re no longer depending on finite resources like willpower to make good decisions. Instead, we planned for the future and developed a course of action that we could follow through on.

Don’t overcomplicate planning if you’re just getting back on track, either. If you’ve spent a week or weekend over-indulging and eating everything in sight, start back by planning simple meals that you can count on. This is where strategies like the 3-3-3 method are incredibly useful. If we simplify our choices, we have a better chance of staying on track.

Wrapping it all up.

Going off track doesn’t make you a failure.  And it certainly doesn’t mean that you’re doomed to keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again. Just remember to reflect on what got you off track in the first place, evaluate what you’d like to do better in the future, plan for how you can get back on track, and reach out for support when needed. You’ve got this!

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