By Lauren Denos: 9/9/2014 (Nutrition)

Okay people lets get real. Most of us will have times that we fall off the wagon and sometimes we fall hard! I have been in the health industry for 18 years now and I still have times that I start to go into a downward spiral. This happened to me not too long ago when I had a levator scapulae injury, coupled with an injured trapezius and tendon.

I am a really active person who gets a lot of good positive mental attitude from my exercise, but there I was; laid up with no movement for almost 2 weeks! I was going crazy! I could not even work on writing, no working on my business, nothing! I was in too much pain.

One of the consequences was that I got really lazy about my eating. I could say I was in too much pain to make my meals but that is just an excuse. I just did not want to bother with prepping my meals. I could have bought the right things or asked my boyfriend to help me with making the right food but I just did not care. I generally do not have much dairy, and suddenly I was having cheese on a lot of my food, and I know better. I teach people about health. While cheese may be fine for some, it is not my friend. But I also teach people to give themselves a break sometime. There are times when we are not perfect and there are times when we fall off of the wagon. I thought that maybe I needed to cut my own self some slack, and realize that this is only a short period of time and that I will be back to my healthy eating, athletic, adventurous, boundary pushing path soon.

Even thought I was eating not as good as usual, I was conscious enough to employ certain tricks to help me do damage control. Here are some of the tricks that can help you when the “to hell with it all" attitude takes hold:

Keep good snacks on hand! I don't know about you but when I get in these kinds of moods I want munchies. I want to be able to snack as much as I want. The way I do this while staying healthy is by getting the kind of snacks that I can eat unlimited quantities of (mostly). I keep crispy green beans on hand or zucchini chips, kale chips or really any veggie chip I can find in the store (that is not deep fried) or I make them at home. They usually still have a little bit of oil on them from the roasting but it is pretty darn low and I feel fine about eating a full bag of green beans.

Eat more frequently so your hunger is not working against you as well. When we let ourselves get too hungry it can be the time we make the worst decisions about what we are going to eat. When you are in one of these fall off the wagon moods, you might make not as great choices; but if you let yourself go too long without food, that is when the body gets the more urgent need for immediate fuel which many times is just a craving for sugars and processed carbs since they are such fast acting sources of fuel for our body. Couple that with your emotional eating and you have a recipe for some really wild binging.

Drink water all day! If water is not what you are wanting, have a caffeine free tea. Drinking can help relieve some of the feeling of hunger, and if you are in the munchie mood where you just want something to snack on, drinking can help take a little of that edge off. Sometimes when you are in this mood, water is not very satisfying. If that is the case then brew your favorite tea. I love Tazo passion tea. It is caffeine free and all herbal; then if I want it sweet I can add some Stevia and throw it over ice. It is a great alternative to soda’s and juices.

Know your best choices of the foods you normally should not eat. For me cheese is the better choice of the foods I should not eat. Grains (especially gluten) and sugar are not even options to be cheat foods. This is good to know because you can eat that "forbidden" or rarely eaten food but you are not eating the worst of the worst; particularly when you are allergic to it!

Enjoy it. Do what you can to see the positive in this moment. Enjoy the down time, this stroll off of your healthy path, knowing that you will be back on it soon enough. If you only have an off day once in a while there is no sense in punishing yourself for it. If you do, you are just adding more negative emotions and emotions were probably one of the reasons you are eating this way anyway. There is no need to compound it. You are just having a moment off of your normal health routine; all is fine in the world.

Make sure you are getting your sleep! When you do not get enough sleep your body can over compensate for the lack of energy by asking for excess amounts of calories. You may feel hungrier than normal; this can happen when you do not give your body the appropriate amount of sleep it needs. Your energy needs to come from somewhere and if you don't give your body it's recharge time it will get that energy from somewhere else. Sleep is vital!

Have some fun. Go do something. Many times we over eat or give into craving because we are bored or because we are not having any fun so we start to see eating these bad foods as a substitute or a reward. Instead, go on a walk, go out with some friends (not to a restaurant), go workout, read a book or anything that will give your brain some time away from focusing on eating.

Don't stay here! If you notice this fall off the wagon going on for too long then it is time to look at what is really going on. Is there a deep emotional issue? If so you need to talk to someone. If you are just feeling lazy, then look for the lazy solutions like healthier versions of frozen dinners or getting someone else to cook some healthy food. Falling off the healthy path is fine when it happens only once in a while and for a very short period of time but when it goes on too long you need to do something about it, and I am not speaking just for the sake of your waist line, but for the sake of your overall health.

Remember, your health is meant to support you in your overall goals in life. When you are healthy you have more energy, strength, stamina, mental clarity. When you neglect your health you are neglecting your dreams in life. So take care of yourself and take care of your body, it is the only place you have to live!



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