Now that fall is here, it is tempting to go home after work and veg in front of the TV until bedtime. Football season is now in full swing and many of our favorite TV shows have returned. Add to this the cooler evening temperatures and the allure of a hot pot of soup cooking on the stove, and it’s not hard to see why many of us abandon our healthy lifestyles this time of year. Holidays only compound this problem as temptation lurks behind every corner in the form of goodies and treats waiting to be sampled. Maybe that is why we call this fateful season fall; everyone is falling--off of the fitness wagon.
What can we do to stay on track? First of all we need to not be so strict with ourselves. Embracing the fit life is, like I’ve said before, all about embracing life. And life should be enjoyed. There’s a healthy balance between ducking behind the corner every time the hors d'oeuvres tray comes by and loading your plate down with a full serving of everything offered. By this point in our lives most of us have been educated in what comprises a good food choice and the importance of portion control. We know that practicing moderation with some not so ideal choices every once in awhile is not the end of the world. Why then do we still insist on holding ourselves to impossible standards? We are only setting ourselves up for a huge fall when we do this. The vow not to eat that cookie or piece of cake does nothing but make us focus on that cookie or cake, wanting it even more, and once we’ve given in and broken that oath, that’s it, we’ve failed. We left ourselves no room for error, and with nothing but failure and regret looming over us, we do something incredibly irrational—we throw all the “rules” out the window and suddenly the evening is a free-for-all. After all, we can always start fresh tomorrow. It’s this defeatist “all or none” thinking we must stop, and the only way we can do that is by being more forgiving with ourselves to start with. It all comes down to flexibility. Commitment and dedication are crucial and admirable, but without flexibility, we will more than likely fail. We need to not only make room in our lives for fitness, but also make room in our fitness plans for our lives. They need to mesh together into a lifestyle that we can make work every day. This will help us avoid the fall that happens to so many of us this time of year.