Diet and Exercise Slips: Why they happen and how to overcome them

slipsWhether you diet and exercise with the goal of preventing cancer or to focus on your wellness during or after treatment, you likely have experienced a slip-up here or there. Over the past few weeks you may have eaten a little too much during holiday celebrations or neglected to complete your regular exercise routine.

Things don’t always go as planned, slips happen and are normal when making lifestyle changes. However, they don’t have to derail your progress, and reacting to them in a positive way will be key to your long-term success. Keep reading for recommendations from our experts on how to how to handle these slips.

Why do slips happen?

When you choose to make a change to your lifestyle, consistent effort is needed over time to create a habit. Results will not always be immediate. You may experience various discouraging factors that lead to a slip.

One discouraging factor could be boredom. “As you do the same routine over and over it can be easy to lose motivation,” says Matt Schmitz, Integrative Wellness Program Manager and Cancer Exercise Specialist. “I recommend changing up your routine. Include things like yoga, spinning or walking with a friend to keep things fresh.”

You will also likely face some temptations to fall back in to unhealthy habits. “Ultimately a healthy diet is one that includes a wide variety of foods – mostly healthy and fewer unhealthy,” says Beth Beckett, Oncology Dietitian. “My advice is to allow room for an occasional treat as a reward for following your meal plan and choosing healthy foods.”

Fear can also contribute to slips. “Whether it’s trying new foods or an intimidating new exercise routine, the Community Cancer Center has resources to help,” says Beckett. “If you are unsure about trying new foods we hold cooking demonstrations and are available to discuss your nutrition goals one-on-one to create the best plan for you.”

“We offer several group exercise classes that give you the opportunity to try new routines in a comfortable setting,” adds Schmitz. “You can also schedule an appointment with me and we can create a more individualized exercise plan.”

How to handle a slip

Rather than looking at a slip as a failure, view it as an opportunity to learn and improve for the future. These can be valuable learning experiences that help you reach your goals in the end.

“When a slip happens, take a step back, evaluate your goals and adjust them as needed,” says Schmitz. “Goals should fit your lifestyle, your needs and interests.”

“I think it’s important to realize that you will have slips because you are human,” says Beckett. “It’s important to learn from it, think positive and work to get back on track.”

To learn more about wellness services provided at the Community Cancer Center, call us at (319) 558-4876 or visit communitycancercenter.org/wellness.

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