When I was at Hillside Middle School, once acknowledged by Ripley’s Believe It or Not for having three ground level entrances on three different floors and all on the same road, I had a social studies teacher named Mr. Scheithe that loved to tell stories. It was this knack for telling tales (some tall), that got me an A in a class that I would have otherwise disliked; history and I are not friends but his musings made it more memorable. One of the units that we covered in great depth was Ancient Egypt. And of course, in this section, we talked about the role of the great Nile River. It was near impossible to make it through this section without hearing the quote, “Denial…it ain’t just a river.”
I was reminded of this quote this past weekend when on Sunday night, I started reflecting on all of the crap that I had eaten over the weekend. At the time, I was somewhat aware of what I was allowing myself to do. There was no agreement that I had made with myself prior to the onset of the weekend; but maybe there was. Maybe I had agreed, subconsciously, that there were no rules this weekend. I mean, after all, there was the last day of school and my daughter, Evie, had a friend sleeping over. And it was my younger daughter, CJ’s, birthday. The next day was a graduation party for a cousin. And the one after that, Sunday, was my CJ’s actual birthday party. Not to mention, on Friday, I attended the Osceola Farmers’ Market for the first time. So to support Community Homestead, I HAD to buy their crunchy oat bread (best eaten toasted with butter) and their iced ginger cookies. Let’s not forget that they are homemade and at the Farmers’ Market, which inherently makes them “healthy”. Clearly, these are opportunities to bend the rules. And it won’t hurt, right? DENIAL.
I would have to say that the above explanation regarding my failed intentions is something close to what I hear on a pretty regular basis from the clients that I am working with when it comes to their own struggles with maintaining consistency with their food plans. There is no doubt that healthy eating takes organization, effort and diligence. And the ability to say no. A lot.
So, you have to start to question why is it so hard to eat a well-balanced diet? Most people do fine when they are in their home environment where they have more control over what is available. But for most, it is the social calendar that makes straying from the course easier to do. There’s a certain amount of peer pressure, an abundance of less than healthy options, the lack of convenience…and the conversation that we have with ourselves about why we will allow just this one…more…time. We allow for ourselves to sometimes think that it is okay. That it’s not a big deal. And sometimes, it’s true that it’s not. But in other circumstances, like my past weekend, it is. But there is DENIAL.
And speaking of denial, let’s talk about being denied. How many of you feel that when you have to eat healthy foods that you are being denied of something else? You don’t get to participate in the event or occasion the same way that everyone else does if you don’t get to eat the same foods. Wah-wah. Listen, I totally get it. I struggle with the very same thing. But when I take a step back and look at the totality of what is occurring, what is being denied is not a piece of chocolate cake with a fudgy filling and thick icing…it’s your health! It’s that great energy that you earn for. The zip and zest when you wake up in the morning. Being free of headaches and joint pain! Having good gut health and normal bowel function.
This past Monday morning was not a great one for me. I woke up tired despite an eight hour sleep (albeit not a great eight hours). I was cranky. I was still craving more carbs and sweets. I was reminded of the misery I used to feel when my regular diet was reminiscent of the crap that I loaded into my face this past weekend. There was really reckless eating with abandon that happened. I can’t say that I’m proud of it. My scale certainly didn’t like it. And my cells were rejecting the dead food that I had consumed and were craving nutrient-dense nourishment. A few days later, my body and my head have recovered. But the experience of what we call “real life” was a great reminder for me that giving up can be all too easy.
The clients that I work with that have the best successes also have the greatest compliance. They are unabashed with their determination to feel better and will stick with their intentions no matter how many, “Well, one piece won’t hurt,” offers they get made. Because they know that it could. They are not in denial about what it takes to thrive. And they plan ahead. Here are some helpful tips to help make your next forays successful when you want to stay on track:
- Plan ahead.
- Know where you are going and what will (and won’t) there.
- You may have to bring your own food to a family function; bring a dish to share that you can have.
- Peek at a restaurant’s menu online to see what is available. Ask for a substitution if necessary.
- Mentally prepare for how you are going to say “no” when the need arises.
And remember, if things go off course, you don’t have to call the whole day, weekend, or week a wash. Call it a bad moment and pick up where you left off. And most importantly, don’t stress about it. My reflection of this weekend was just that. I looked at it as an opportunity to serve as a reminder of just how easy it is to go from great to bad in a short period of time. And it gave me something to blog about.
Feel free to add your tips and tricks to the comments section. The more people in your life that are on the same page, the easier the journey will be.