Trash Heap to Temple: How to Restart when You’ve Been Treating Your Body Like Crap

We just returned from two beautiful trips for weddings, one to Asheville, North Carolina and one to Cape Cod.  It was so much fun!

However, two four+ day trips in two weeks means that I have hydrated using mostly cocktails for many days in a row. I swear to God yesterday I smelled barbecued ribs in my sweat.  It was NOT sweat that came from exercise, though, because I haven’t done that in weeks.  I have not touched my vitamins or even my DENTAL FLOSS for ages, for goodness’ sake!

Years ago, I’d have been sitting here having a shit fit about how much weight my indulgences were going to pack on me.  It wouldn’t have been unfounded, either, because I was such a restricter that all my indulgences had a fevered, crazy quality – I was always about to start tomorrow, so while I was off my game for the day it made sense to stuff myself to the gills.  Sometimes it would take months for tomorrow to come!  And I’d be beating myself up the whole time.

It’s not that way at all anymore.  I might be bloated, but I am not freaked out.  I’ve been doing this whole weight maintenance thing for several years and I’ve learned that giving myself the time to intentionally neglect my healthy habits are as much a part of loving my body as going to yoga.  It’s fun to forget that I normally think about things like toxins and the health of my liver and just do whatever the fuck I feel like for a little while.

I’ve learned that if I want to take exceptional care of my health, the thing to learn is not how to always be perfect all the time, but instead how to get back on the horse after he has thrown you off into a sea of mashed potatoes and vodka (mmmmm!).

Pick one healthy thing that you CAN do

It is SO EASY to get hung up on the can’ts when you’ve gone into cray cray post vacay territory.  “I can’t exercise, I got in too late last night and I’m exhausted.” “I can’t cook a healthy meal, I don’t have time to go grocery shopping.”  All of your can’ts are totally valid, I’m sure.

Let’s take your brain and shift it towards thoughts that are actually going to help you, okay?   Come up with what you CAN do.  Drink your water, eat a vegetable, take the stairs.  Go back to basics until you’re feeling stronger!

We’re gonna start a chain reaction here, folks.  Get a few easy peasy things under your belt for a day or two.  I promise, once you start feeling stronger and better from that, you will feel empowered to tackle the bigger stuff like making a salad  or getting back into regular exercise.

Make a damn plan

If you follow the point I’ve listed above, it might take you a few days to get back to your green juice guzzling, bench press-ing self.  That is FINE.  Take a few minutes to outline, realistically, how you are going to get back into it.  When are you going to grocery shop?  Take that trip back to the gym that will be like pulling teeth at first and then feel SO good when it’s done?

For me, I knew there was no way in hell I would get to the gym on Wednesday morning after getting back from Cape Cod on Tuesday night.  BUT if I planned for an early bedtime on Wednesday, I’d be fine with working out on Thursday.  I bought stuff for making a quick, easy dinners on Wednesday and Thursday, and lunches and snacks I could throw together in two seconds; and suddenly I’m back in business.

Start a chain reaction with other stuff

Hey, have you ever noticed that when you’re taking wonky care of your body that you’re kind of taking wonky care of everything else in your life, too?  For me, when I substitute potato chips for a meal a bunch of days in a row, I’ve also inevitably been overspending a bit (I like expensive potato chips???), my email is all backed up with a ton of un-replied-to stuff, and my apartment is a hot mess.

And along with that, when I have my shit together in other areas of my life, suddenly it is easier to eat my leafy greens.  If I’ve been putting away my laundry regularly rather than letting it sit in a clean pile, if I’ve been tweezing my eyebrows regularly, if I’ve been keeping on top of my to-do list, I usually also have been going to yoga and generally treating my body with the exquisite care she deserves.

I tell you this because if you’re looking for the motivation to start treating your body as your temple again, and it just will NOT come, turn your focus to some other areas and clean those up first.  I mean it, clip your toenails or clean out your closet or call your mom back.  Being on top of things is such a mindset.  You’ve just gotta figure out what it takes you to get there, and then the rest becomes easy.

Pamper yourself in other ways

There’s no way around it – sometimes when I’m cleaning up my health act, saying ‘no’ to things I really feel like doing is kind of depressing.  And pretty boring, too.

I soothe the sometimes-mundane world of healthy living by indulging guilty pleasures in other ways.  Right now, I personally have two chick lit books to make me feel all like I’m doing SOMETHING non-virtuous while I get back to my healthy self (Ugh, I HATE it when food is associated with good-ness or bad-ness.  But you know what I mean.). It makes me feel like I don’t have to be a hero.  Just because I’m not eating fried dough three meals a day anymore doesn’t mean that I have to become a saint overnight.

So how else can you guilty pleasure yourself?  Can you go to bed super early, watch a bunch of trashbag TV guilt-free, get yourself a mani-pedi?  Or a prostitute?

How do you get it together?

As you can see, I favor the ‘be gentle and love myself’ philosophy when it comes to getting back into my good habits after things have gone a little haywire.  It’s worked beautifully for me, and I highly recommend it to you – after all, isn’t energy that you put towards feeling crappy about yourself better spent on regaining focus?

What are your favorite ways to get yourself back into it when you’ve gotten crazy off track?

P.S.  Maybe you shouldn’t get a prosititute.

14 Responses to Trash Heap to Temple: How to Restart when You’ve Been Treating Your Body Like Crap
  1. […] ‘back on track’ or ‘Thanksgiving detox’ post.  The internet is full of those; I’ve even written one before.  Instead, I’d like to talk about a nasty, pointless habit that tends to hang around during this […]

  2. […] you’re traveling a lot and the idea of getting back on track just seems pointless because you know you’re going away again next weekend.  Maybe you’re […]

  3. Belinda
    June 19, 2012 | 9:44 am

    Thanks so much for this encouraging post Marla. I was on a healthy diet and been very good to myself and it has all gone pear shape. I know I’m having pms munchies but I just feel like I must rewind and start all over again so thanks again! x

    • Marla
      June 19, 2012 | 9:51 am

      Awww, Belinda. None of your good work has been erased! The PMS munchies can be tough, I know. Get lots of rest and focus on what you can do, you’ll be feeling wonderful again in no time. xoxo

  4. Linnette Dooley
    June 4, 2012 | 10:20 pm

    Love your sensible, caring approach. I have a friend who began a road trip across the US today and I was thinking how it would be a fun and creative challenge to see how healthy you could eat on this kind of adventure.

    • Marla
      June 6, 2012 | 7:04 pm

      Thanks so much, Linnette. And wow – I love that challenge, what a fabulous idea! Is your friend up for it?

  5. Gin
    June 4, 2012 | 8:47 pm

    This is so timely for me! I was doing so much better with my eating habits and taking better care of myself, and then I hit a time of heavy stress several weeks ago. At first I stuck heavily with my self-care… but then I started backsliding in many ways, including eating comfort food – even things I haven’t eaten in quite a while! After the Memorial holiday weekend, I told myself that was it, I was starting fresh – and then this week has been stress galore and I’m right in the midst of not taking good care of myself. Thank you for this wonderful post!

    • Marla
      June 6, 2012 | 7:07 pm

      Hi sweet Gin, thank you so very much! I hope that your heavy stress time lets up soon. I always find that the hardest shift to make is letting it sink into my noggin and bones that taking good care of my body relieves stress much more in the long run than the rush of comfort food in the short run. I feel it is a constant learning process though, and one that we’re meant to be flexible with to allow for growth. Big big hugs.

  6. Gina
    June 4, 2012 | 2:15 pm

    great article Marla! when I don’t start my day doing the things that nourish my temple, that’s when I do the slippin’ slide… getting back to doing those things is what helps me…….and I love potato chips too! esp sour cream and onion, lol…..or smartpuffs……..ok, off now off to do 10 pushups to kick that craving I just started for myself, lol…..thx as always Marla for your sharings…. :)

    • Marla
      June 6, 2012 | 7:08 pm

      Thank you so much, love. Hahahaha – sorry to get your cravings mojo going! Slippin’ slide is just the right word for it. Sending you lots of good solid temple nourishing vibes, my friend.

  7. Lisa Frideborg Lloyd
    June 4, 2012 | 9:20 am

    There is SO much going on in the heavens right now. Tonight’s Full Moon in Sagittarius brings us a lunar eclipse and in a couple of days we have the Venus in Gemini (retrograde) transiting the Sun. Lots more happening to… but what it all boils down to is complete rebirth. We’re having our DNA rewired… woohoo!!

    • Marla
      June 4, 2012 | 9:23 am

      YES! Rewire me, baby! I’m up for it! Thank you so much for the info, I love learning about astrology. <3

  8. Lisa Frideborg Lloyd
    June 4, 2012 | 9:14 am

    Bhahahaha… yeah, hold the prositute… but what a great post! LOVE your sense of humor and can totally relate. I have found though, since the eclipse, that lots of unhealthy habits or stuff I did in unawareness are dropping off… and I’m pretty much ONLY craving healthy stuff at the minute. Trust me, NOBODY is more surprised than I am. I was born with a ginormous sweet tooth… and now I can’t even find it!!

    • Marla
      June 4, 2012 | 9:18 am

      Lovely Lisa, thank you so much for the comment. I love those ‘craving healthy’ times… I’ve actually been feeling that way too, since I wrote this post late last week. I never knew eclipses could do that – awesome! Big hugs!

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I'm Marla Hamilton, and this is my blog. I write it because I want to make it very easy for you to feel healthy and great about yourself.Read more about me here.
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