You are on a mission. Your fitness goals are set and you are determined to achieve them. You are making healthier eating choices and exercising consistently. You are creating habits, which you can maintain for the rest of your life. You are making progress and see the results. Your body composition is starting to change, people are starting to give you compliments, you are on the fit track and you have no intention of derailing. Then it happens…… A meal out with friends, a vacation, a birthday or holiday, busy days at work, busy days at home, stress adds up and old obstacles which stood in your path in the past start to rear their ugly heads. Before you know it you have lost sight of your ultimate motivation, your focus wanes and old habits start to creep in. A missed workout here, an unhealthy food choice there… Oops you cheated again. Now before you let the guilt eat you alive, or throw in the towel on trying to lead a fit and healthy lifestyle, let’s take a look at the positive side. Lapses in eating and Exercise Routines are totally NORMAL! Everyone experiences them at one point or another. Nobody is perfect, but those who are successful at attaining their fitness goals understand that when you have lapses in your routine, all is not lost. Each day is a new beginning and an opportunity to make the right choices. If you find that you have “cheated” for one day… two days… a week… or even a month, recognize that all is not lost and as long as you are still living and breathing you have the chance to start fresh with the new day. Lapses in behavior oftentimes creep up on us. You may not even recognize that the consistency of your Nutrition or training has been slipping until the scale starts steadily going up, and your clothes start fitting a little tighter, or you realize you aren’t as strong or energetic anymore. It just didn’t seem like a big deal to gradually slip back into old behavioral patterns. When you realize that you have lapsed, the most important thing to do is recognize it, get focused and get back on track. What caused you to stray from your healthy behaviors? Take some time and reflect on when your lapse began. What were the obstacles that caused you to stumble off the fit path? The only way to overcome these obstacles is to identify them now and develop a strategy for overcoming them if they ever try to hold you back again. Remember what your ultimate motivators are. Why are you trying to transform your body or life? Why did you start making healthy changes to your lifestyle to begin with? Was it to be healthier or reduce your risk of disease? Was it to have renewed confidence and be able to wear “cute” clothes? Perhaps your motivation is to compete or to be a positive healthy example for your children or spouse. Remind yourself of how amazing it will feel to achieve your fitness goals. How much better you will look and feel, and how you will even be increasing the quantity and quality of your life! One reason people lapse back to old habits is because they feel like they have to be completely perfect with their eating in order to be successful. If your goals are to get lean, lose some unwanted fat and get that body into swimsuit shape don’t sabotage yourself with the pressure of thinking your nutrition has to be perfect 100% of the time. Think of it this way. You are allowed to have special treats and cheats, but you choose to limit the amount of “cheats” that you indulge in. I encourage you to use the 80/20 rule. Meaning, 80% of the time your diet consists of healthy, wholesome and nutritious foods, 20% of the time there is room for treats (not overindulgences, just foods that would not be considered staples of your healthy nutrition plan).