Having just successfully 'jumped back on the wagon', I thought I would share what I have learnt and how I got over the mental hurdle of 'restarting'.
Firstly, you need to define the difference between being on and off the wagon. At what point did you realise you weren't on the wagon? And then look back to when you started getting off the wagon? I realised around week 5, but looking back, I can see that from week 3 I had 'let go' of the reins which is what caused me to crash and burn. What I realised was that 'falling off the wagon' was, for me, I loss of my sense of control. I stopped flexing my willpower muscle and let the inner labrador take over.
What changes happened in my eating and exercise plan? How did I 'see' that I wasn't on the wagon anymore? Most noticely, I had starting eating chocolate and allowing 'treat' foods. It started off inside my calorie limits which was okay.. but it stopped being okay when that changed to chocolate, biscuits, icecream - things I wasn't controlling but were letting control me.
So how does a person get back on the wagon? Take back your sense of control. It doesn't have to be big. I started by doing a 24hr ban on chocolate. I knew that it was the chocolate and 'treat' foods that was the problem so I had to reign that in and control it. Now I am in the 5th day of a two-week chocolate ban. Last night was the most painful as the inner labrador came out in full force. But I survived with only a half a peanut butter sandwich consumed after dinner! Now in the five days, I have also started exercising again. Not to the level I was in the first weeks of the challenge where I as going everyday, but enough to feel I have control. That is my focus for now - control, not perfection!
And I think that will be the trick for staying on track for me... to escape my perfectionism and accept what I can do rather then focus on how I am failing. I don't think anyone is capable of doign the program perfectly - we all have red flag days, different schedules and commitments, holidays, monthly cycles, financial issues, etc etc which will affect the program, but the success is in making the program work for you.