How do you get back on track with eating healthy when you've fallen off the wagon? Here are 4 things you can do to get back on that wagon.
One thing I can be pretty darn sure of is that for all of us who are committed to a healthy plant-based lifestyle, we will at some time “fall off the wagon” to some degree. That may or may not mean we go full-blown back to eating meat and dairy.
It may mean, as it does for me, not eating the optimal diet you would like to stick to. For me falling off the wagon is going back to eating primary cooked. I'm still vegan but I'm eating too much processed food or too much fried food. It means going back to including oil in my dishes.
What does it mean for you? It may mean you start eating dairy or meat every once in a while. It may mean you eat vegan except you do eat non-vegan desserts.
Or it may mean you fall all the way off.
But I’m willing to bet that you have fallen off the vegan wagon at least once!
Many things can throw you off. A stressful time at work, or moving to a new home may cause you reach for old comfort foods or quick and easy food. Traveling is a common time to fall off the wagon because it takes more effort to find or plan for vegan or raw meals. You probably don't know how to find all the things you need so you make do with things you wouldn't normally eat.
Another common time is the holidays. The upcoming winter holidays are so wrapped up in eating and family and tradition. It has been the undoing of plenty of well-meaning and committed vegans.
And if you're also off your normal exercise/prayer/meditation etc. routine it's all that much easier to find yourself sliding down that slippery slope of self destructive behavior. The further down you slide, the harder it is to get back up. You feel bad about yourself for messing up again. Which just adds to the stress and the desire for the comfort food.
Or, you swing way the other way, obsessing about everything you're putting in your mouth and everything you're doing. This isn't really any better because eventually you revolt against yourself and swing back the other way.
There is a better way!
So, given that we are very likely to fall of the wagon to some degree at some point, how do we get back on that wagon and return to our healthy diet and lifestyle? This is an essential thing to figure out if you are going to make this a lifestyle work for a lifetime. And it CAN be done. You can find the solution that will work for your particular life and situation.
However, I must be frank. If you are looking for a quick fix, a magic pill or mantra you can say that will get you where you want to go fast you can stop reading here. This isn't that.
But if instead you really want to find a long-term solution that will get you back on that wagon and put and end to your recurring struggle, your yo-yo on again off again vegan diet, you have some homework to do. It takes effort but the rewards are great! Like improved self-confidence. Like big improvements in your health. Imagine the relief you'll feel when you are sure you can make the best choices for yourself.
So what do you say? Are you ready to get back on track with eating healthy? Are you worth working on? Of course you are!
4 Things You Can Do To Get Back On That Wagon
Step One: Reflect on what happened
This is the most important part! It's also the part that many people fail to do. I've seen it over and over. People who don't learn what's really going on don't make a long term change! So hold up your hand now and say, "I WILL take the time I need to get crystal clear on why I'm where I am right now!" Ok, good. Now let's go on.
If you have to, rearrange your schedule to give yourself a day (or even an afternoon) or to away from what's been tripping you up. You'll have a hard time recommitting yourself if you are still overrun with a harried schedule or are preoccupied with your struggles. Having a few hours to yourself to "get your head on straight" will allow you to step back into the real world with a new perspective and a renewed sense of purpose.
Take time to write down how you got into this mess.
- What led you to this place?
- What started it?
- Who were you with or where were you when you took that first step off the side of the wagon?
- How were you feeling?
- How did you rationalize what you are doing?
Now lets set the stage for getting out of the mess.
- How do you feel now?
- What's driving your decision to get back on the wagon now?
- What do you need to do to prevent this from happening again?
- What new skills, tools or understanding do you think would help you withstand the obstacles that are bound to come your way?
This is just a brainstorm, a free form process. It doesn't have to be perfect. Just start thinking and writing. It's a starting point from which to move forward from. You'll be able to refine and revise as you go forward.
Action Step: DO IT! Remember! This is the MOST important step! Spend 30 minutes today writing down your thoughts.
Step Two: Make a commitment
Decide when you are going to put an end to your errant ways and start again. Pick a date in the next week or so that you can realistically achieve. Write it on your calendar or somewhere so you'll be reminded of it.
Choose a date when you can spend the time on YOU that you need. You'll want to have time to do the remaining steps. But don't go too far off into the future. You want to get back on track as soon as you can.
Then decide what you're committing to do. Be specific and make it something you can measure and assess. For example: "I commit to eating 100% vegan and at least 75% raw." This way you'll be able to see how you're doing and make adjustments as needed.
Don't make to too radical. This isn't the time to try to make a giant leap to new territory. Make the commitment to get back to where you were the last time you had some success. Or make a commitment that will take you a portion of the way. Something that is a stretch but that you feel is doable. Then you can go the next stretch once you are successful meeting this goal.
Action Step: Write down your specific and actionable goal and pick a day in the very near future when you will start.
Step Three: Clear the runway
Go through your kitchen and get rid of all the offending items. Restock your pantry with only the healthy food you intend to eat. Or if you can't get rid of things because of others in your household, clear out an area just for you. This way you don't have to be tempted by their Doritos when you are searching for your flax crackers.
Do some research. What do you need to know to be successful? Go back to what you wrote in the previous step and identify what could have helped you do better. This will help you be better prepared next time so you aren't thrown under the bus again!
Do you need to find a better grocery store? Do you need to discover some different restaurants? Do you need to find a few new recipes? Whatever it is, go online, or ask around for suggestions and put in place the things you'll need to succeed.
Google is your best friend here. Chances are good someone has shared some ideas or resources about what you're struggling with. In fact chances are good you'll find something right here on Food For The Soul.
Google "vegan Kansas City" or whatever city in the world you are in to find out all sort of resources near you. There are very few places you won't find something useful that can help you discover hidden gems. It might be someones blog about visiting your city where they tell how they managed.
Clear your schedule too, of activities that may block you from reaching your goals if you can. Say no to the dinner invitation. Postpone travel until you are better centered.
Consider doing a juice fast to help push the reset button and break your addictions. It's a great way to give yourself a break and clear your head too. If you need help on how to do a fast, check out our Optimum Fast training where we share our proven and safe method.
Action Step: Decide on 2-3 things you'll do to clear the way to allow for your success.
Step Four: Get support
We all need support. Especially in a culture that is set up to encourage you to fail. Find someone(s) who can help you stay accountable to your goals. Maybe they too need to get back up on that wagon. How can you encourage each other? Schedule a weekly call or meeting to check in, celebrate successes and brainstorm solutions to challenges. Set goals that you commit to doing by the time you meet again.
Or get group support. Every month we host a live group coaching session for members of Pamoja! We always make space to talk about what you're struggling with and help you find possible solutions that will fit your life. We also celebrate your successes. It's like monthly booster that helps you keep your missteps from derailing you totally and keeps you moving closer to your ideal healthy diet and lifestyle.
As a member you'll also get access to Healthy Eating Success, our comprehensive program that will help you uncover your mental obstacles, ease your worries about nutrition, turn you into a healthy gourmet, and give you even more suggestions about dealing with life in a non-vegan world.
If you’re not a member of Pamoja! we invite you to join the community and get expert guidance. Then catch the next group coaching session as well as all of the other support and resources that are included.
Action Step: Identify your support system. Choose 1 or more people you can turn to. AND Join Pamoja! today and get started on your Healthy Eating Success and join us for the next coaching session via phone or your computer.
NOW- What's your biggest insight that will help you get back on track with eating healthy? I'd love to hear what sparked something for you. Share you aha below in the comments.