10 Tips for Maintaining Your Weight Loss Goals When Your Routine Gets Disrupted
As anyone who has successfully lost weight will tell you, sticking to a regular diet and exercise routine is critical. Making consistent, incremental, daily progress toward your weight loss goal is the only way to get there, but sometimes life gets in the way. You could get sent away on an unexpected trip for work, suffer a leg injury that leaves you bedridden for a few weeks…or a global pandemic could completely upend normal life for months on end.
These types of events carry a real risk of interfering with that all-important consistency. Thus, experts strongly recommend that you have a plan in place so you’re ready to deal with them when they happen. To that end, here are 10 strategies to help you stay focused when your routine gets disrupted so you can avoid lapsing back into bad habits and undoing all your hard-earned progress.
Enlist the help of an app
Chances are that no matter what has disrupted your routine, you’re going to have your smartphone by your side. This is where a weight loss and dieting app can really help.
The best of these apps act like personal weight loss cheerleaders, giving you the resolve you need to stay focused while delivering powerful features and practical functions that help keep you on the healthy eating bandwagon. Software products like Noom, MyFitnessPal, Fitness Buddy, Lose it!, and Weight Watchers have earned particularly high praise for their affordability, ease of use, and effectiveness.
It’s easy to start to feel down about things if your normal routine gets thrown off, or if unexpected events prompt you to lapse back into some bad habits. During those moments, you need support from an understanding ear and having a weight loss buddy will be a boon to your efforts.
You don’t have to formalize this kind of arrangement. Chances are you have a friend or family member who’s also trying to lose weight, or has already done it. Enlist their help: simply drop them a line or give them a call when you’re feeling like you need a little extra support.
Work out at home
As millions of people discovered during the COVID-19 pandemic, many fitness routines only work as long as the local gym is open. Similarly, many people thrive on outdoor exercise like vigorous jogs through the park or evening bike rides during the warm summer weather. In these situations, all it takes is a rainy day to threaten your routine.
These examples speak to the importance of having a fallback plan ready to go in the form of a home workout you can substitute in if you can’t do your preferred workout for some reason. The best examples require little if any equipment, all while packing an effective calorie-burning punch. Try interval training or “boot camp” style aerobic workouts.
Boost your mood with a home dance workout
If the idea of a home workout doesn’t really float your boat, refocus things toward having fun. Make a playlist of your favorite high-tempo songs and turn your living room or bedroom into an impromptu dance floor. You’ll get to enjoy some of your favorite tunes, all while boosting your heart rate, breaking a healthy sweat, and elevating your mood.
Depending on your weight and the intensity at which you dance, you can also burn anywhere from about five to eight calories per minute. Keep things rocking for about 40 minutes and you’ll be more than 300 calories in the black.
If you’re sitting around idle, you’re much more likely to lapse into what diet and nutrition experts call “boredom snacking” or “boredom eating.” When you’re sitting around watching TV or idly whiling away your free time, you put yourself at greater risk of snacking or eating simply for something to do.
The way to avoid this is to stay busy by engaging in an active pursuit that occupies both your hands and your mind. Not only will this help pass the time until you can resume your regular routine, but it will also broaden your horizons and help you find new activities to enjoy. Take up a hobby, learn a new skill, or enlist your creativity and imagination.
Sign up for a cooking class
If your regular diet and exercise routine has been disrupted to the point where working out isn’t possible, you should at least strive to maintain your healthy eating habits in the meantime. This way, you won’t gain any extra weight while you’re waiting to return your regular activities.
To that end, you’ll be better-prepared for such situations if you’ve already developed some healthy eating skills at a cooking class. Alternately, downtime is a great time to sign up. Cooking classes are available both in-person and online, so there are plenty of options to suit every situation and schedule.
Try meal delivery
When busy work schedules extend outside regular working hours, it can be hard to find the time to prepare healthy meals. This is where meal delivery services can really save your bacon.
A growing number of meal delivery services are popping up, with nationwide service and restaurant-quality food dropped off at your door once or twice a week. All you need to do is refrigerate the meals until you’re ready to eat, then pop a portion into the microwave. No cooking, no guesswork about the ingredients, and no worries about high calories or unhealthy foods. These services include many health-conscious options designed to make it easy to eat right when you’re crunched for time.
Be realistic and remember: even a little bit of progress is still progress
If you’re having a hard time keeping things up at even a fraction of your regular pace despite your best efforts, don’t lose your positive attitude. Even if your usual progress has been slowed to a trickle, you can still work toward your goals simply by avoiding bad eating habits and doing your best to limit your calorie intake.
This subtle but powerful psychological trick works for good reason: even small amounts of progress are still progress. Reminding yourself of that fact until you can return to normal may prove to be just the boost you needed to see things through.
Give yourself a break
When you’re following a strict diet and exercise regimen, you’re always going to have good days and days that didn’t go as well as you would have liked. In those situations, it’s best to put your missteps behind you, recommit to your goals, and start afresh the next day.
Sometimes, disruptions to your routine demand this same approach. It’s not the end of the world if you have a bad day or even a bad week. Don’t punish yourself. Just give yourself a break and get things moving in the right direction again as soon as you’re able.
Build a substitute routine
We’ve saved one of the best and most effective tips for last. When your normal routine has been disrupted, simply create a new, temporary substitute that works within the confines of your situation. Adapt your usual routine to account for your current limitations, then simply integrate the substitute routine into your days until things return to normal.
This is another one of those tricks that delivers powerful psychological benefits. By following a new routine, you’re keeping your mind focused and your self-discipline intact. That sustained momentum will make it easier to hit the ground running once you get your life back.