Huffpost Healthy Living
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Charles D'Angelo Headshot

Getting Fit When Life Gets in the Way

Posted: Updated:

"I was doing so well on my diet, and then life got in the way, and I've gained back every pound."

"I was going to the gym regularly, and I could feel myself getting in better shape, and then life got in the way, and I'm back where I started."

Chances are, you have heard someone say something like this at some point. If you've lost and gained weight or if you've gone on and off exercise programs, then you may have said it yourself.

It's the best excuse out there, isn't it? Well, if life gets in the way, what are you supposed to do? How can you battle against life? But the only way to battle against life when you're trying to lose weight is to not try to beat it. It's to join it.

If life can get in the way when you're on a weight loss plan, then you're just not thinking about weight loss the right way. Weight loss -- and more importantly, keeping the weight off -- has to be a part of your life. And if it's part of your life, then life can't get in the way.

Life doesn't get "in the way" of you reaching your health and weight loss goals. Thin, fit people all have life issues they have to deal with. They all get busy, they all end up sooner or later with ill parents, with marital breakups, with problem teens, with times so busy they are hanging on by a thread. The difference is that they have made their health and fitness habits a part of their life. "Life" has no bearing on these habits.

You have to decide if you really want to be successful this time. Do you honestly want to lose that extra fat and feel good when you look in the mirror? Do you want to stop that progression toward diabetes or heart disease? Or are you using that fat as insulation against the world, other people, feelings? Are you just paying lip service, saying you want to change when really you want to stay in this comfortable prison you've created?

Are you ready to be the "you" you deserve to be? Are you ready to wake up in the morning feeling full of energy and ready to take on the day, or are you satisfied to wake up in the morning feeling tired and guilty about the carton of ice cream you ate the night before?

When you decide you've truly had enough of being overweight and want to change your life for good, then you have to be ready to accept your weight-loss program as a part of your life, not look at it as something that life can get in the way of. That means you have to be committed to it. You have to find a way to continuously make this program fit into your life, not expect life to make way for it.

Normally when people talk about life getting in the way, they are just talking about being especially busy, having more than normal to handle -- working longer hours on a project, or maybe the kids suddenly have lots of activities going on. The way to succeed when life gets especially busy is to prepare.

The first step to is to get rid of as many temptations as you can. Clear the junk food out of the house. Buy the foods you need, and get them prepared ahead of time if you can.

Be creative. Think of times you will be tempted to eat what you shouldn't, and prepare as well as you can to avoid them. Many people skip breakfast. Make sure to have your breakfast as ready as it can be, and get up five minutes earlier in order to eat it, if you have to. Make your lunch the night before and take it to work with you, in addition to your snacks. If you prefer to go out for lunch, then know where you're going and decide on the choice that works for your diet plan ahead of time. For many people, the hardest times come after work. When you're tired and you have to cook dinner and it's just so much easier to order a pizza. This is where some earlier preparation really helps. If you have some pre-cooked chicken breasts, for example, along with some frozen veggies, then you can throw together a healthy dinner in no time. Have some raw veggies cut up to help you get through the evening munchies.

Make your gym appointment, and keep it! Whatever you choose to do for exercise, mark that time in pen on your date book. Don't let anything get in the way. And if something absolutely has to take precedence, maybe your child's graduation ceremony? Then get your workout in at another time. You cannot leave your workout to chance.

Sometimes, though, life really does throw curveballs. We discover infidelity. Someone close to us becomes ill, or dies. We lose our job. How to handle it then?

In reality, sticking to your program during these times will do you far more good than you realize. Being healthy helps you handle everything in life more easily. Being physically strong helps keep you emotionally strong. But most important, sticking to your workout schedule and eating plan will also help you feel more stable and secure as you lose your feelings of stability and security in other areas of your life. It may take a little more mental effort on your part to get to the gym, but you'll soon find that getting there is like a life preserver, keeping you afloat through these difficult times.

And besides, how would eating junk food, being lazy and gaining weight help you through? Chances are much better that you'll add feelings of guilt on top of your other feelings of pain.

It can be challenging to stick with your plan when times are challenging, but by remembering that this is a new lifestyle and not some temporary fix, by sticking to your plan during these difficult times you'll be far stronger, fitter and healthier when life gets back to normal.

For more by Charles D'Angelo, click here.

For more on weight loss, click here.

From Our Partners