Here’s why that’s a good thing
Failure is a daily occurrence. To quote the great sage Gandalf “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us. So you fell off your fitness and nutrition routine — you’re a failure, right? Yup, but all is not lost, champ!
Few things are more difficult than getting back on the wagon after you fail. Maybe you’ve fallen off the wagon because parents of children think the only acceptable food to offer at a party is pizza from a place that also sells tires and sheet cake out of solidified corn syrup. Maybe you downloaded Titanfall 2 and gave the finger to the gym and are too ashamed to go back. Maybe you were dumbbell pressing 100 lbs in each hand for the first time and you fell off the bench and knocked into the EZ curl rack and the weights all fell off one by one super loud and everyone knew it was you. I don’t know. Things happen. I’m not saying those things happened to me…but they MIGHT have.
It’s easy to get embarrassed and wallow in self-pity when you have a lapse in your diet or workout routine. It takes courage to admit that you did indeed treat that entire box of frozen taquitos as a single serving meal. It takes a brave soul to own up to pouring maple syrup on plain white bread and stuffing it in your mouth before your wife comes in the room. You’re not alone in this. Everyone fails and the best part is, they fail all the time. Let’s get you back on track.
FAILURE IS THE DEFAULT SETTING
Humanity is basically one big pile of failure. Albert Einstein couldn’t really talk until he was nine and was expelled from school. Bill Gates was a Harvard drop out and Abraham Lincoln lost businesses, suffered a mental breakdown and lost his first presidential race before going on to be one of the most important figures in American history. And here you are concerned that you took two weeks off from the gym. Everyone fails. Look at even the best, most profitable stock market investments. It’s never just a straight line up like some stock photo you ironically caption for your Tumblr account. There are hills and valleys all over that thing. Just like with you. You’ll have mini successes and miniature failures constantly as you learn and grow. Look at these hiccups as minor setbacks that are statistically “to be expected”. Keep your end goal in mind and get back on the horse because if you’ve failed at something you’re in pretty good company.
DON’T THROW A PITY PARTY
It can be very tempting to wallow in your own misery. It’s like curling up in a personal sadness crock pot of delicious beef and barley sadness stew and simmering until you’re melt-in-the-mouth tender…with sadness. It’s comforting to feel this way. That comfort is a trap. Humans are dumb. We made rockets that went to the moon sure, but we also tweet pictures of our butts to each other. Typically, people don’t do something unless they’re being rewarded for it somehow. New research is being done on how some people experience positive reactions to negative emotions. This is for sure true, at least with me. Whenever I’m throwing myself a pity party, usually immediately following a pizza party, I figure out that I’m actually getting something out of it. Usually, it’s attention, or the opposite, time to myself, time to think, or a little extra affection from loved ones, sympathy, etc. But none of that stuff is helping me with my health goals. The butthurt emo siren song of navel gazing is steering me to a life of inconsequence and futile complaint. I combat this by getting off my ass and back in the gym.
One of my personal hurdles arose when I cheated on my diet. I would get bummed out and then think well, “I’m already off my diet, better make the most of it!” And just shove pizza rolls in my mouth until I started hallucinating from all the chemicals like a carb shaman on a vision quest for diabetes. Eating Keto helped cut down on those kinds of binges but even before that I started to figure out that I could cut myself some slack and break the cycle of shame. By not beating myself up for making a small mistake I have saved my grocer’s freezer section from ransacking. That’s a win in my book.
THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS TOO LATE
People like to put fictional restrictions on everything. They like to tell themselves that it’s “too late” to make a difference. It’s never too late. Colonel Sanders was in his 70’s when he founded KFC and I was already an educated college graduate when I ate five double downs on a dare.
One of the great things about bodybuilding and exercise is that even if you fall off the wagon for long periods of time your muscles have “muscle memory” that allows for you to rapidly catch back up to your previous physique. This has been scientifically tested in laboratories with athletes and it was proven that muscles snapped back to their training strength and volume rapidly after a period of non-training. That means that if you’ve fallen off the wagon hard, you can expect to be back to close to your “on the wagon” muscle fitness within a shorter amount of time than it initially took you. It’s almost as if your body is handing out discounted rejoin memberships. It’s a deal too good to pass up.
There’s no shame in screwing up your diet or falling behind with your exercise. We’re in this thing for the long haul. Committing to a lifestyle change takes an actual lifetime. You have plenty of time to screw up and get back on that wagon. Look at the big picture. A failure here and there is nothing in the grand scheme of things. You’re trending upwards and you’re already doing better than before. Forgive yourself. In fact, maybe embracing the idea that screwing up isn’t the end of the world will actually help you stay on track easier. Get back out there, champ. We’re proud of ya.