One slip up and everything I’ve worked for is ruined.
How many of us have that mentality, especially when it comes to health? I know for a lot of people that it is all or nothing when it comes to eating better or exercising more. If you fall off the wagon just one time, the whole cart tips over. Ate a candy bar when you meant to eat an apple? Oh well, the whole day is ruined and you might as well continue with your downward, junk-eating spiral. You’ll have to start all over again next week. Missed one workout? Now you’ll have to sit on the couch and binge watch Netflix all weekend and start fresh on Monday.
Or maybe you’re like me and you’re so terrified of failing with your health and not being absolutely perfect that you essentially stop living life.
When I made the decision to start eating better, I knew that I would have to be super strict at first. I love food and I have the habit of eating even when I’m not hungry. I’m a bored eater and will put food in my mouth if it’s in front of me. Because of this, I had to relearn what real hunger felt like. I also had to retrain my tastebuds to eat real food instead of the processed food-like products I normally ate. This was all good and fine at first. By switching to a whole foods diet and tuning into the signals my body was giving me, I was able to finally see a lasting change in my health. But one vice got switched for another and soon I was striving for a food perfection that is nearly impossible to maintain.
I was so worried that if I slipped up with good eating habits, even just a little bit, all my hard work and progress would come crashing down. So I tried to keep myself in this tiny box where I could only eat the best foods possible. This inevitably cut me off from normal life because NO ONE eats like that day in and day out. Life is not perfect and you are not expected to be perfect. You are expected to live as healthfully as possible for you. You need to define what that means, because your healthy is different from everyone else’s. That’s a good thing and a balance you should strive for.
Deciding to be healthier is a major step. It’s important to actually take charge and make that commitment. It’s hard too, so don’t make it even harder on yourself by chasing perfection and closing yourself off from others. I’m learning each day to live as healthfully as possible, but to not be bogged down by worries of spiraling out of control. I’ve been eating well and exercising regularly for the past five years, and I haven’t suddenly gained all my weight back. Be conscious of your decisions, but don’t let one little slip-up determine the rest of your day, week, or month. Don’t let it totally derail your efforts. Use that slip up as a learning moment and move onto the next thing.
By taking your health one day at a time and not focusing on absolute perfection, you have a much better chance of sustaining your healthy journey.