Sunday, June 27, 2010

Falling off the Bandwagon

It is a shame that most of the African teams in this World cup always seem to start a match out well, and then let the other team carry the match halfway through. Unlike the African football teams we’ve seen, we don’t have to give up all hope when we fall out of our exercise and nutrition routine and back into our old habits. There’s always the option to dust yourself off and try again.

Most people that are on a strict diet program tend to demonize food, and so when they backslide for a moment and eat that slice of birthday cake, it’s like they’ve sold their soul to the enemy. They get affected psychologically and start to think “I’ve already made a mistake, so I can go ahead and eat the whole cake and it won’t matter.” And then that one mistake leads to binge eating.

My opinion is that in order to stay healthy and fit, we need to change our relationship with food. If we treat cake as a complete no-no when we know we do love cake, do you know what happens? Our minds would constantly remain on cake. Thinking about cake 24/7 will inevitably lead to stuffing our faces with cake at some point because we feel so starved of something we enjoy. I was reading an article in SELF magazine the other day, where the True Blood actress Anna Paquin was interviewed. My love for her immediately grew when she said (and this is paraphrased), “I won’t feed you the lie most actresses do. I have to watch what I eat to stay fit. But I also believe that one dessert a week won’t kill me.” If we can have this type of relationship with food, we’d avoid the yo-yo effect caused by demonizing food and then bingeing on it.

This relationship is not only true of food. We also do the same thing with our exercise program. If we can’t make it to the gym one day, we think “I’ll make up for it tomorrow.” When we are too tired to go the next day, and the next day, we start to feel really guilty. Knowing we cannot make up for a few lost days, we turn our guilt into nonchalance and just stop going. Or as one of my readers felt this week, we may feel intense pain when we start working out, and that could drive us to wait a few days or weeks before going back to the gym. Our exercise routine could get so spaced out that our bodies don’t get used to exercising and we feel pain every time we work out. What happens then? We say “To hell with it!” and just quit.

Therefore, we also need to change our relationship with exercise. Exercise comes with pain, no doubt. But let’s not rest in the ‘now’, but the future. It will hurt for a few days or weeks, but as our bodies strengthen, we’ll see an increase in our endurance for pain, and a decrease in the pain itself. With these compounded, and as we see the effects of exercise on our bodies, we’ll be driven to do even more.

Now, let’s back up a little. We’ve talked about changing our relationship with food and exercise. But we also need to be a little softer on ourselves sometimes. Recognize that we may backslide just because that’s the way the human mind is wired. If we do backslide, how should we deal with it? We deal with it by realizing that a small mistake does not change our whole lives. So you missed one workout session? Jump back on the horse tomorrow and don’t dwell on today. You ate 5,000 calories in one meal? Oops! There’s always tomorrow. Continue controlling your portions then.

If you have a ‘falling off the bandwagon’ story, or have any questions, please leave a comment.

I’d also like to point out two things:
  • The Nigerian Blog Awards group B nominations end today (May 27th). Please go and nominate Eights & Weights today before it’s over! Click on this link to nominate: Group B nominations.
  • Starting next month, the Eights and Weights page will have a segment called ‘What I Want to Know Is…’ Please click here to send me a message about a question you have or a topic you’re concerned about, and it may make it to next month’s pool of questions!
Again, thanks for your support! Cheers!



  1. do i know baout falling off d band wagon i sue do
    i havent exercised in a month
    being going thru so much i just didnt have the energy to do it

    but tomorrow am getting on d band wagon again
    funny enough i lost some weight during d time

    i guess heart break is a magical weightloss pill lol

  2. Oh cool. First time here. Congrats on the nominations.

  3. @BBB, I'm glad you're getting back on that horse. Please let me know how it goes. I'm here if you need someone to cheer you on :)

    @Sting, Thanks!

  4. First time here. And how appropriate given that I have fallen off of my regular workouts =(

    Lord help me...

    Best of luck in the Nigerian Blog awards!

  5. first time here..from naija blogawards, infact..
    me, i'm queen of backsliders and given that i need to lose some serious weight, it's time i try to get back on it even if it's in the evenings after work

  6. Thanks for the support guys :)
    I know it's really easy to backslide, no doubt. I also do evenings after work a lot because with my hair, that morning thing doesn't


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