An important step in making healthy lifestyle changes for the long term, (that most people don’t do), is to identify the roadblocks that may limit success. When introducing an exercise program and a more active lifestyle, it is easy to get derailed and go back to what feels comfortable – especially when a person is tired or has something more appealing they would like to do (Edmonton Oilers game anyone?)
When it comes to healthy eating, it is often even easier to experience a lapse, as unhealthy tempting options are everywhere – especially because we know through research, that humans only have so much will power. This is why it is very important to have an honest discussion with yourself – what have been the reasons in the past that I have stopped my healthy changes?
When other people are around, is it difficult to not follow the crowd? When you are tired, do you tend to go for the unhealthier choices? Do you get bored and unstimulated, and stop your routine? Are you a poor planner – and when life gets busy, you tend opt for unhealthy convenience? Do you not make yourself a priority and have a difficult time setting boundaries for yourself?
These questions need to be constantly evaluated. Most people experience lapses from time to time when making healthy lifestyle changes. However, it is important to be aware of these roadblocks, and preplan what you will do to prevent them from being ongoing excuses. Catching a lapse, or even preventing a lapse – ultimately PREVENTS A RELAPSE.
- Note – a lapse is temporarily reverting to previous behaviour (i.e. poor eating and not exercise during christmas holidays). A relapse is a long-term regression to previous behaviour.
Here is a Common Eating Roadblocks handout I use to discuss common barriers to success. It is also helpful for people to make a similar own personal handout for their own healthy eating roadblocks as well as exercise roadblocks.