Alright you guys, let’s be honest. Some days it’s easier to live a healthy lifestyle. Maybe we’re prepped in the fridge, have good foods ready to go for each meal, are pumped up about a new program, and feeling inspired about our lives. But other times… Well, other times we’re overtired, stressed, pressed for time, and possibly on your period (ladies). You know what? Those are times we might not think as rationally, make the best decisions or act emotionally.
Take Monday, for example. Ohhh Monday.
“Guys. Keeping it real here. 🙋I actually ate and drank what I quit well over the Girls Trip in Palm Springs – even though I planned to splurge! But something was just off today… I still don’t like to classify foods as “good” or “bad,” but the main issue is that I chose sugary foods and ate well beyond my satiety levels today. It’s not bad that I had Oreo, licorice or cookie dough – just that I had a lot of all 3. 😉
I could choose to beat myself up about it or let this go on, but I won’t. Tomorrow’s a new day! I will NOT weigh myself, work extra hard or worry about it; I’ll fuel well, workout as usual and enjoy my day all the same. No biggie.
Side note: this flavour, bought on a real whim and impulse (unusual for me), is REALLY good. 🙌 ”
Okay…So, as it turns out, I got my period (insert light bulb emoticon right here)! Well that makes a lot of sense. [Also, check out Kara Corey’s recent video about how to handle eating on the week of your period.] Because cravings are the real deal, they happen each month to me, and yet they always take me by surprise – go figure. At any rate, I was feeling pretty full of sugar after this eating incident, and while Tuesday and Wednesday were much better, they still had some sugar in there. I could have beat myself up or criticized my body to death, but I’ve been choosing to structure my thoughts about my body in an intentionally positive way instead.
Period or not, this happens to us all – even my early morning clients yesterday said that they ate a lot of junk over the weekend – they “fell off the wagon,” in fact. How many times have you said that you fell off the wagon? I’m willing to bet it’s a lot, and that you also said, in almost the same breath, you would be getting right back on that wagon soon.
But here’s the thing… What is there is no wagon?
Say what now? “But Bonnie,” you say, “Clearly there are good and bad foods; clearly there are times I’m on or off track and eating/living like I’m supposed to be…” Well, what if food is just food? An Oreo weighed in the same balance as a salad. I know it’s kind of crazy, but just think about that concept for minute.
I’m not saying that an Oreo has the same impact on our body as a salad, but perhaps that we could use some doing away with our connotations around foods as being “bad” or “good” and then how they relate to keeping us “on” or “off” the “wagon.”
It’s an interesting thought, to think of food as just food, and not worry about being on or off any wagon in our health journey. But what does a wagon symbolize to your health journey?
First of all, the idea of a wagon symbolizes that you’re either in or you’re out – there’s really no wiggle room in a little ol’ wagon. It’s like walking a tight-rope – not much space for gray areas there.
I don’t think eating is that black and white, or that life is, for that matter. I’ve shared the idea of progress, not perfection before (check out my blog post here), and it’s something I still strive to focus on. That doesn’t mean I’m throwing in the towel with my moderation and choosing foods that will leave me feeling unsatisfied and discouraged, but rather that I’m not aiming for the stress that perfectionism can bring, but rather seeing positive growth and change along the way. Plus, if we’re all trying to be on the same wagon, what kind of standard are we trying to hit? No Oreos, ever (yes, not even birthday cake)? Well what if someone practices IIFYM (if it fits your macros) and eats Oreos as part of their meal plan? Are they off the wagon? And where do these standards of “healthy eating” and resulting bodies come from, anyways?
This doesn’t mean you throw your hands up in the air and forget about it. No way – you’ve worked too hard to let things go at this point – at least I have! But one night of eating won’t affect the rest of my week if I can help it, because it’s just part of my life.Now, others might indeed do well with this type of framework, but it’s just too restrictive for me and leads to more restriction, and that never ends well. Monday night wasn’t an example of me being off the wagon, but an example of giving in to cravings and eating too much of a tasty thing. Big deal. Move on. Food is food, and there is no wagon in my life anymore. Being on or off the wagon sounds an awful lot like dieting to me – you’re either on a good diet or off the rails with your eating or exercise habits. This is only one line of thinking about food and habits that isn’t sustainable – otherwise we’d not be jumping on and off so much!
If you’re struggling with your eating or with your discipline in the gym (we all do!), that means that you’re conscious of how you want to change and working on it – aiming for progress, not perfection, and that is a beautiful thing.
So…do you believe in the wagon? Here’s another article I just read about balancing hill sprints and donuts that I loved! Have you ever heard yourself or others reference this wagon? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one!
Live well & be well, friends,