Why it's OK to fall off the 'bandwagon'...

I've seen a lot of posts and discussions online such as 'how do you stay motivated when your energy is low?', 'what are your tips to help get back on track?', 'what should I do if I've strayed away from my fitness goals or healthy eating plan?' It occurred to me that so many of us, especially this time of year when our January resolutions might start to slip, are so conscious of 'falling off the bandwagon' that we don't ever think about having 'time off' from achieving our fitness and health goals.

Of course living a healthy lifestyle isn't about eating and exercising well for 9 months of the year, and having the other 3 months eating fast food and lounging about on the sofa all day, but it also doesn't mean that we should feel guilty about skipping the gym for a few days, or even weeks/months. We shouldn't care that we have had one two many dominoes or eaten that whole bar of chocolate just because we want 'abs for the summer' or to lose a few pounds.

There's always going to have to be a balance when you live a 'healthy lifestyle', and you should never feel guilty about overeating a little or skipping your spin class two weeks in a row. I've created a list of 3 reasons why we shouldn't feel guilty about 'falling off the bandwagon', and why these reasons can help us jump back on it with a more positive attitude, rather than resenting our choices.

1) Possibly the most important and the most simple; we all need time off. Whether that's time off from running, tracking macros, lifting weights or measuring out food portions. Most of the time our goals and aspirations won't happen overnight and take months of dedication and hard work to achieve. If you don't give yourself time off from whatever it is that you're doing, you might 'fall off' permanently and resent it so much you don't go back. Often after a break from training, I go back to it so much more motivated and I find I progress much more than I would have done if I hadn't taken a break.

2) Depending on your goal, there's always the possibility that your body will get used to what you're doing. Again that might be lifting weights or something like wanting to lose weight by following a strict meal plan. Our bodies can 'plateau' in different ways which mean we might not be seeing the results we want to - therefore leading to quitting or trying something else. I often have 'de-load' weeks at the gym where I stick with low weights or even bodyweight exercising, so that when I go back to weight training I feel stronger and manage to push myself further. Again, like exercise your nutrition and diet can 'plateau', and if you want that large pizza after 6 weeks of losing weight - have it! You deserve it girl!

3) Life should be lived. Now I personally find I'm much happier and mentally content when I'm on plan with my nutrition and training - because it's something I love doing. However, there are of course moments in life that I want to enjoy outside of those goals which mean I have time off and we need to grab these moments with both hands! If you're giving 100% most of the time and you're dedicated to what you're doing, there really shouldn't be the need for even thinking that you're 'falling off the band wagon', as you're simply enjoying life events and treating yourself. If you go away for the weekend ,after months of hard work in the gym, and eat lots of food and drink too much wine, you haven't really 'fallen off the band wagon' at all - you're enjoying a balanced lifestyle.

Now after all of these reasons, if you're like me and have recently been 'enjoying life' a little too hard and 'going for my goals' a little too little, them remember why you started, remember these 3 reasons and take them with you to jump back into whatever it is that you're striving for.

Melanie x

Melanie Clare