He worked the overnight shift, and I worked day shift. When I came in, he looked miserable.
I asked him what was wrong, and he told me about his miserable night. "I couldn't do it," he said. "I went back to smoking."
"Really?" I replied. "How many cigarettes did you have?"
When he told me just one, I told him he hadn't gone back to smoking. He'd just had one cigarette. As long as I knew him, he never had another one.
Humans Aren't Perfect
You've probably heard, or realized on your own, that humans aren't perfect. They fall.
Humans aren't perfect at succeeding, but they're not perfect at failing, either.
To borrow alcoholic terms, if you fall off the wagon, fall back on. To borrow an idiomatic phrase, if at first you don't succeed, try and try again.
Those who succeed at fitness and diet are not those that never slip up. They are those that try and try again.
That's especially true if you're among the unmotivated that don't have much willpower. You have to try and try again.
What About Yo-Yo Dieting
I'm sure you've heard that yo-yo dieting is bad for you. I've even heard it said--though I've never seen or heard of it being verified in real life--that if you gain and lose weight regularly, it becomes harder and harder to lose weight.
I'm sure it's true that yo-yo dieting is bad for you.
I'm even more sure that being 50 or 100 pounds overweight is bad for you.
The question is, which is worse.
The answer? Remaining overweight.
Researchers and nutritionists harp against yo-yo dieting for a reason that doesn't apply to you or me. If you live your life eating however you want for a few months, then going on a low-fat, low-carb, no dessert, or some other fad diet that you have no intention of sticking to, that's not a good choice.
Researchers, nutrtionists, and I want you to find a diet and exercise plan that you can stick to forever.
But a central part of sticking to it forever is starting again when you quit.
Start again as quick as possible. If you miss a planned day of exercise, get back to it the next day. If you miss five days, get to it again on the 6th day. If you miss two weeks, make some adjustments for the fact that you've lost some of your fitness—which can be quickly made up—and get back to it on the 15th day.
Planning for Forever
I devote at least two pages (here and here) on our web site to helping you plan for forever.
You can't do without desserts for the rest of your life. At least, I doubt you can, and I don't recommend it. You can avoid eating like you're a horse (or a horse-sized human), and there are ways to make eating right easier.
Most people also can't stick to one exercise program forever. For most of us, it will be important to switch from one program to another (even if you're making your own) regularly. While you're doing that, remember the exercises you like, and add them to your personal repertoire. Programs that you have made yourself or adapted to your personality and schedule will keep you interested and committed longer.
More exercise tips here, but my main tip for today is: Fall back on the wagon! You didn't quit dieting, you just took a break for a day. You didn't quit exercising, you just took a week off to let your muscles and joints heal and get stronger.