The professor in one of my classes is notorious for going off on a tangent. She obviously is passionate about the lecture subject, however, something in the power-point will distract her, luring her off topic to a more comfortable and well-versed branch of knowledge…something that gets her REALLY excited. Sometimes these distractions will last 5 minutes, sometimes they will last 20, but every once in a while, this professor allows herself to become so immersed in the conversation sparking her interest that before she knows it, half of the students are glazed over with lost interest and the class time is nearly over.
This week I went off on a nutritional tangent. This was not just a 5 minute, briefly mentioned, off-topic subject. This was a full-immersion, so far off-topic you might think you are in the wrong class kind of catastrophe. 🙂
For those of you who follow some sort of healthy eating guidelines, you probably know what I’m referring to. You are sailing along, feeling great, following your plan, and suddenly something unexpected comes up. An unplanned social gathering, a potluck at work that you just can’t say no to, or a stressful situation in your daily life that ends you up in the drive-through of the nearest ice cream shop. These scenarios are all completely containable when isolated. You had an unplanned, free meal, so what? However, if you are anything like me, once you pop you can’t stop! That all or nothing mentality that I have been training myself to fight against is what accelerates that one slip up to a less-than-healthy dinner followed by a double serving of ice cream. Sometimes the damaging effects of a nutritional stray leads to one day of off-plan eating, sometimes more, and sometimes that one off-plan choice leads to a complete reversion of lifestyle choices, something comfortable…before you know it you’ve abandoned your plan, your goals, and you are right back at the start with nothing to show for it.
So how do we combat this? How do we get back on topic?
In class there are a whole group of students to bring you back to reality if you’ve veered too far off course. You need this accountability in your nutritional plan as well. Confide in someone, whether it be your spouse, your best friend, your workout partner, or your mom, use this person as a talisman to bring you back to reality when you have so much carb-fog you can’t see daylight. For me, I have friends on http://www.myfitnesspal.com/ (I love this app) and a very supportive husband who very is good at not rolling his eye when I freak out about getting off track :).
Revisit your Outline
Lecturing usually requires a neat little outline of the main points that are to be covered in the class. If the professor gets distracted, she can always refer to the outline to get back on course. YOU NEED AN OUTLINE. I always make a list of my short term goals, my current status, and my plan of attack (my current nutrition plan) and I hang it somewhere very visible. This is great to refer back to when you feel lost and are having difficulties getting back on track.
Look at the Big Picture
What is the message you are trying to get across? What is the end goal? My end goal is always a healthy, well-balanced life. One or two days of getting off track are like a millimeter on the meter-stick of life!
Bring Closure to the Topic
If a professor is off topic in a lecture they are forced to find a segue back to the original topic matter. You need to do this too. So you had ice cream before bed AGAIN. That’s fine, it’s done now. Drink some water, pack your healthy meals for tomorrow, and be done with it. Go to bed and prepare your mind to start fresh the next day.
Before you go to bed, take a few minutes to think about the way you felt when you first decided to eat more healthfully. Think about your motivations, think about how pumped you were, how determined you were. Take in those feelings and take a big breath. Tomorrow is a new day.
This post is Oliver approved 🙂