I was having a conversation this afternoon with one of our members and she used the phrase ‘I fell off the wagon’, meaning she had, as she perceived it, not done what she was supposed to be doing and ‘failed’ at her ‘diet’.
I went on to make the argument that, in fact… there is no wagon!
The figurative wagon is derived from a get rich (slim) quick, crash diet mindset that undoubtedly entails an unhealthy relationship with food and body image, and of course is detrimental to overall health.
Years of yo-yoing with low fat diets, deprivation, hour upon hour of treadmill and other such general misery would make me want to jump off the wagon and run as far away from it as I could damn well get!
I digress..I don’t believe in the concept of the wagon, I think it creates the wrong impression, you are telling yourself the wrong thing and ultimately setting yourself up for a fall. Instead I would liken the journey of improved health to a sliding scale; you are either moving forwards, or backwards, but you are always on the scale.
I went on to talk about the 80/20 rule that we encourage with our members and that if you so desire, it is fine to waver from the boundaries of healthy eating now and then. But..and this is key…that moment is simply a stand-alone, individual moment. It doesn’t mean you have failed, or that you have wasted all the effort you have made. It doesn’t mean anything in the grand scheme. All it means is that you used your own free will and chose to eat something unhealthy in that moment. It has happened, and that is fine. Triggering feelings of guilt will not turn back time. Now you move on. You go back to normal, back to your baseline of good eating, that you do not because you’re holding on to the back of the speeding wagon, but because you value your health and feel that you should nourish your body with the food that makes you feel good and perform well. Because you have taken a decision to lead a healthful life, because you can, and that is what you want to do.