What to Do When the Going Gets Rough

Let me tell you a little story about how it is in the life of a recovering chocoholic (or at least in the life of this recovering chocoholic).

Life is going well. You’re tracking all your food intake and meeting your calorie goal most days. You’re working out six days a week and knocking your new goal of 5 am workouts out the of the park! You’re discovering healthy new recipes. The scale is going down every week. What could be better?

Then it happens. You wake up one morning to your 5am alarm clock. It’s dark. It’s cold. You’re so exhausted you can hardly move. Why on earth did you ever come up with this hair brained idea of working out before work? You force yourself out of bed while literally fighting back the tears of exhaustion. As you drive to work (in the dark) you realize one of your headlights is out. You get on the treadmill all ready for week 4 couch to 5k workout. You implore your legs to move, but all you want to do is go to bed. You increase your speed to a whopping 4.7 mph (yes, that’s running for me) to start your first jogging segment – 4 minutes. All you can possibly eek out of your tired legs is one measly minute. You walk another minute and try again. This time you mange two minutes, but you really need four, and that’s just the first segment. Catch your breath, try again. This time a minute is all you can do. Even that was hard. Really hard. Nope, you just can’t do it today. You get off the treadmill dejected.  No, don’t cry here, right in the gym in the middle of your coworkers! Pull yourself together. You sit down at your work desk, turn on your computer, and settle in for your workday. How is that between 5pm and 7:30am you’ve received five rather frustrating e-mails? Doesn’t anyone have any work-life balance around this place?  You eat your breakfast. You’re not hungry, but the munchies really hit hard. Every item in the vending machine sounds delicious. You try every trick in the book to fight it….

Fast forward to 6pm. You’re finally home, another workday behind you. Ugh, the kitchen is a total mess! Who wants to cook in there? You’re still so tired. Is it bedtime yet? And you’re tired of fighting the munchies, tired of logging every little bite you eat, tired of trying to so hard, tired of the scale not budging for days, just plain tired. So you just give in and eat whatever you want. All your hard work clearly wasn’t paying off anyway, and you just don’t have the strength.

I’m sure you’ve never had a day like that, right?

Now it’s 7pm, and you are sitting staring aimlessly at your computer screen. What should you do now? Here’s what:

  1. Put your running shoes on immediately. Don’t think twice. Hop in your car and drive to your local gym. Hop on the treadmill and run as hard as you can. Even if you can’t quite make your running goal, you can come pretty close, you can burn serious calories, and you can run out some frustration. It feels great to have all those endorphins flowing and know that you’ve given the workout your all.
  2. Come home and take a nice, long, relaxing shower. Pray. Meditate. Think. Relax. Count your blessings.
  3. Go ahead and face your eating for the day. Yes you gave in earlier, but you need to track it anyway. Do your best to remember what you ate and log it as accurately as you can. It’s okay if the calories aren’t perfectly accurate. It’s more important that you keep up your tracking habit and learn to face your choices and move on. You might be surprised to learn that you’re only over by, say, 26 calories. That’s really nothing! You still had a great calorie deficit today!
  4. Sit down and write. Get your feelings all out on “paper.” Don’t you see now? It’s not so bad. Everybody has a bad day every now and then. You can and you will do this. You’ve already accomplished so many of your goals, and you’re going to keep right on in that track!
  5. A group of runners in a cross country race.

    Realize that a day is never lost until you give up! There’s always an opportunity to turn it around and make it to the finish line. What do you do when you’ve had a bad day? How do you turn your day around?


  1. says

    Usually by today (Friday) I’m exhausted both physically and mentally. I’ve been shooting for 6 1-hour workouts a week. It’s hard and tiring. The results I see in my body keeps me going. I vent a lot to my friends and family so talking about bad days helps me a lot.

  2. says

    Sorry you had a bad day! Just think about how many good days you’ve had with this new routine, though– who would have thought you’d have already lasted so long?! 5 am workouts are TOUGH, and what you’ve already done is something to be proud of. Hopefully next week will be easier, and most likely, it will.

    Sometimes if I’m having one of those days where I just can’t run for whatever reason, I just give myself permission to walk instead. Usually, I can always manage a good fast walk, and just because you walk instead of run doesn’t mean you’ve failed. In fact, if you keep walking instead of stopping, you’ve done a lot better than just giving up on it all together. I did that the other day– combination of morning sickness and forgetting my sports bra (straps falling down every time I attempted a jog), so I just walked, and I was okay with that. I felt like a whimp with everyone jogging around me, but at least I did something.

    Good for you for going back to the gym at night, though– wow. That really shows a change of thought/behavioral patterns. Good for you.

  3. Minnie says

    I have referred to this post a couple of times over the last few days….great thoughts whether you are battling weight, or lots of other tough things that life/Satan throws at you. This really struck a chord with me and was very helpful.

  4. says

    Gym! Working out almost always helps. And one trick I learned: Friday nights are a good night to do the “low key” exercise. Working out on a Friday after work mentally and physically releases all the BS and stress. I’m usually tired and worn out by Friday so that’s when I swim. Or do yoga. It’s relaxing.

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