Few of us live in a bubble where every day is the same and we never receive a curve ball of some sort. Life tends to mess with even the best-laid plans!
When you live with diabetes, this is even truer. A “normal” day can suddenly become a challenge if you have to deal with unexpectedly high or low blood sugars.
In this post, I’m going to focus on how to mentally and practically handle situations where we can’t necessarily eat what we planned to, or we have to skip a workout.
The first thing I want to stress is that you don’t have to follow your plan 100% all the time. Just as one good meal won’t make you super healthy, one less healthy meal won’t destroy all of your progress.
I think it’s when we strive for constant perfection that we tend to fail. It becomes an all-or-nothing mentality that isn’t healthy for anyone. We don’t have to be either 100% compliant to our health plan or completely throw it out the window. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could find a middle ground?
Let’s dive into how we can find that balance by looking at some of the most common situations where life can get in the way of our health plans.
Deviating from your meal plan once or maybe twice per week is not a bad idea. It gives you a chance to refuel, relax, and enjoy yourself. If you are nervous about the potential impact on your blood sugars, read Hope Warsaw’s post on how to do carb counting when eating out.
If you have to eat out several days per week (maybe you are on a work trip or have family in town), you can still join the party without completely throwing your health goals to the wind. If you know where you’re going, check out the menu beforehand and make a reasonable selection. It has been shown that we have better judgment when we don’t have to choose what to eat in the actual restaurant.
If you are on a very strict diet, you can also ask for special orders. Ask for your meat to not be covered in butter or sauce, have the dressing on the side, and pass on the bread and butter basket. And it’s ok not to polish off your plate, just ask for half a serving and give the rest to somebody in need.
Skipping a workout
The kids are sick, you had to work late, and you are exhausted. You really don’t want to work out or you just don’t feel like you have the time. This situation (or something similar) should be familiar to everyone. So what can we do about it?
Well, first you need to make an assessment: Do you need to go directly to bed or is the plan to crash on the couch and watch a movie? If it’s directly to bed, then that’s most likely what you need to do. Being overly exhausted and working out is not a good combo. We always need to listen to our body and try to make rational choices to avoid injury and stress.
If you do have the energy but just not the motivation, remember that a workout doesn’t have to happen in the gym. If the plan is to watch a movie, you can do that while moving or doing resistance training. Grab a couple of weights and do a quick full-body circuit for 15-20 minutes in front of the TV.
Or skip the movie and do one of my home video workouts. You’ll feel better afterward and you will get a better night’s sleep.
The reality is that we all almost always have 20-30 minutes to ourselves every day that we can spend however we like. If you have made a commitment to yourself to be active for at least 20-30 minutes per day, then you can and will find the time for it. Honor your commitment!
You’re just not feeling it
Let’s be honest, this is what gets in the way of our healthy lifestyle most often. We simply don’t feel like working out or eating healthy food.
Going back to what I described before, perhaps you aren’t feeling it because you are 120% exhausted. Maybe it really is time for a break? This is when you have to be very honest with yourself (which can be tough). Are you exhausted or just “not feeling it”?
If you are exhausted, you might need to evaluate your current plan and make sure that you have scheduled a rest day and some quality downtime Knowing that you have that in the plan can also help you push through the “don’t feel it” periods.
If your problem is a lack of motivation rather than exhaustion, try following the guidelines in my post about goal setting and motivation to get back on track. If you can set realistic goals and find your positive motivation, you will have fewer days where you’re “just not feeling it”.
I think they hit us all, those days where we’d rather stay in bed or watch Netflix all day. But by planning your workouts and your meals, you can make being healthy a habit, and habits can be hard to break. I don’t even think about it anymore, I just get dressed and go to the gym, because that’s what I do.
Don’t let life get in the way of your health goals, but also don’t forget to live. Enjoy the ride. Hopefully, it’s going to be a long one.
Suggested next post: How to lose weight when you live with diabetes