As a personal trainer, I feel immense pressure to keep in shape and practice what I preach. Ultimately, people are paying for me to help them to do the same so in a way my own physique is part of my professionalism.
But one thing I've realised is that no one is entirely perfect. Like any busy mum I've fallen off the wagon. Here's how I get back on it.
Preparation is Key
I know it sounds clichéd, but since having children and going back to work, I have found that preparation is definitely the key to keeping up a healthy lifestyle. We plan our meals in advance for the week and do our food shopping online to make sure that we only buy the ingredients required for the meals.
This actually is a great way to spend less on your weekly shopping because there's much less waste. We get out all of our gadgets for spiralising veg and blending greens, and have our green juice recipe book out on the worktops for all visitors to see. We are geeks and I am kind of proud of that. But...
We all fall off the wagon
Yes, most of the time I am prepared, allowing me to live and ultimately enjoy a healthy, clean- eating lifestyle. It isn't a chore;- I enjoy working out and I love cooking clean recipes. I do have to admit to being one of those annoying people who take photographs of their meals and post them all over social media. In my defence, though, I very rarely add the irritating hashtag #Nom.
However, when I do fall off the wagon (which we all do if we are honest), boy do I fall off. You may have noticed the extended gaps on my Instagram account without a single photo of my #quinoasalad?
That's not because I am on some juice cleanse or far away on a spiritual retreat eating only avacado. No, the truth is much worse: I'm devouring a white pasta bake (made with a jar and covered in cheese #nom) that I know just won't cut it among my clean-eating friends!
You eat WHITE bread?
From nowhere, I can go from 'practicing what I preach' with meticulous meal planning and regular work outs, to a crazed woman hiding in the kitchen spooning Nutella into my mouth. There is something so satisfying about hiding in the kitchen with a teaspoon and a jar of Nutella, convincing myself "Hazelnuts are good fats ".
Then, as I open the second bottle of wine, I find myself routing through the kid's packed lunch cupboard to see what other snacks I can get my hands on. I eventually go to bed and tell myself that everyone needs a 'cheat day' and that tomorrow I will get back on it.
There's always tomorrow
The problem with saying I'll start tomorrow is it is a bit like saying I'll start Monday - it never happens! For some reason I always fall off the wagon on a Friday. I then convince myself that it's definitely best to just wait until Monday to get back into a healthy routine.
It would be silly to start eating healthy on a Saturday, or a Sunday......and usually even the Monday! I'm thinking Tuesday is probable more realistic for me. The good news is, I know I'm not alone. The even better news is, it's not the end of the world.
It's ok to fall off the wagon
The worst part for me is being in the supermarket queue on an 'off day' in front of one of my clients - seriously, how does that inevitably happen when my trolley is full of sugar and never when it's full of kale?
I am a personal trainer and its my job to teach people about healthy lifestyles and the importance of making good food and exercise choices. I KNOW what should be done and how to do it but even I have bad days and bad weeks where I fall off the wagon. We all do at some point.
But what matters is that it isn't going to make that much difference in the grand scheme of things. Why do we torture ourselves so much over it? So we had a bad day, we didn't make the gym and we over indulged on a little chocolate and wine. Is it really that bad?
As long as that is all it is, a bad day or bad weekend then no, it's not that big of a deal. We need to just accept it and move on. If you don't accept it, the chances are you'll just give up and keep bingeing.
I tell my clients that they should aim for an 80:20 split in relation to clean eating and exercise. So if 80% of the time we are back on that wagon, making healthy choices and keeping active then let's enjoy our 20% and give ourselves a break. We are only human after all! Sometimes, it's possible to have too much kale.