Stop hitting the pause button

I just returned home from an 8-day business trip. If you travel for business, you know how that goes: your normal eating and exercise routines are thrown completely under the bus, you don’t have a lot of control over what and when you eat, the food is often richer and more indulgent than your usual fare, and you might be getting less sleep. All your healthy habits feel out of reach.

I used to just mentally hit the “pause button” when trips like this came up and resolve to get back to eating healthy when I returned.

The problem is that something was always coming up to prevent me from sticking to my healthy routines: A vacation. A special event. A huge deadline at work. A hospitalized parent. A friend in need. An unexpected guest. (Or, in this case, a stomach bug that hit the day after I returned.)

The truth is, my healthy habits were “on pause” a lot more than they weren’t. Because life.

I finally realized that the only way to live a healthy life was to figure out how to make healthy choices even when I was out of my normal routine.  Because it turns out that my idealized notion of what a healthy day includes (aka, my “normal routine”) doesn’t actually happen all that often.

So, instead of “hitting the pause button” during my business trip, I continued to make the healthiest choices I could. I realized I didn’t have to eat every time we took a snack break. I didn’t have to sample every dessert. I didn’t have to drink wine with every meal. I stood through presentations in the back of the room instead of sitting all day. I talked some folks into walking back from dinner instead of taking the shuttle van.

My point is, if all the conditions need to be perfect in order to lose weight, we’re not going to make much progress toward our goals.

So, the next time you’re tempted to hit the “pause” button, commit instead to making the best choices you can under the circumstances. Don’t wait for life to get back to normal. It won’t!

When are you most likely to hit the pause button? How could you navigate that situation as someone who weighs less?