[New Year, New You] Day 3: Rollercoasters, Bandwagons and Other Myths of Existence
We’re back for another dose of what you need most–encouragement and straight talk on what it takes to make it to the other side of overwhelm and frustration when you’re setting out to make your goals and objective stick for the new year. Today is Day 3 of our New Year, New You Challenge and I’m so excited and thankful to be receiving feedback and comments from many of you already! Thank you for taking the time to share yourself and your experiences with me. I LOOOOVE it when you put comments in the blog, or send me an email! Thank you!!
Yesterday we talked about the importance of facing big obstacles with small steps, and being able to acknowledge the journey. Today we’re going to take that conversation just a little bit further and discuss a common idea in the area of self-help, and certainly food, diet and nutrition, that trips people up and wastes enormous amounts of time, attention and energy! The idea of falling off the “bandwagon” or “slipping backward” is often used to express regret or frustration with where we’re at (or where we’re not at), but it has no bearing in fact and actually is more harm than good. To deny that one is moving forward, learning more, trying harder is unkind to yourself and just cosmically impossible in this universe.
There are some really important ideas to understand about why it sometimes feels like you’re moving backward in this podcast, and some great tips and suggestions for keeping things in perspective and making your results happen even faster. I want to start by sharing with you what I believe is probably THE most unproductive, time-wasting and energy-sucking thing you do. (And you probably don’t even realize you’re doing it! You probably think it’s “normal.”
The Biggest Mistake You Make
Do you realize that even when faced with life-threatning illness, 9/10 people aren’t going to change? So it’s enough that you’re here in the first place trying to make things better. Add to that the fact that you took the time to sign up for extra support to help you make it all happen, and the fact that you’re still here on Day 3 reading along and doing your best…
…that puts you in a relatively small percentage of the population of people working their butts off to make life better.
So go easy on yourself, will ya! 😉
While I know you don’t mean to, and you’re not doing it on purpose, one of the most time-sucking, life-choking things you do is criticize yourself. You beat yourself up for making little “mistakes” and then you get all stuck in your head wondering what’s “wrong” with you, or why can’t you figure things out?
And you know, you’re such a gosh-darn good person that you do it about the littlest things–like donuts during your detox, or whether or not you are carrying an extra ten pounds. And when you do that, the enormous horsepower you are–the kind of earth-shaking power that births babies, and paints pictures, and loves relentlessly…
…all that horsepower gets stuck on the hamster wheel of self-doubt and instead of creating your future, you get stuck, literally, tied up worrying about the past.
Here are a couple examples of typical emails that I’ve received from women who are struggling to feel strong themselves wrong and being hard on themselves for things not going the way they wanted.
Winter is out the door, and so is my diet. I say ‘diet’ lightly, meaning it as the foods I normally eat. I went vegetarian in June of last year, vegan in October, and spent 2 weeks as a raw vegan during February. Then, hell broke loose. I was stressed out, and instead of reaching for carrot sticks, my hands dove right into the peanut butter, crackers, breads, cheeses, and sweets. I binged like this for two days before I threw up my hands and did something about it.
Unfortunately, what I did was not very smart. Instead of going back on a raw vegan, or even vegan lifestyle, I water fasted for 12 days. While the benefits of fasting are numerous, I hardly received any of them. I developed the flu during my fast, and had to end early. Once I could eat again, instead of going back into fruits and veggies like I knew I should, I dove right into processed food hell. And it’s been that way ever since.
I’m not happy with the lifestyle I’m leading now. I’ve developed a bad reaction to gluten, so I’ve cut that out completely. But, I’m still eating cooked and processed foods heavily. I miss the feeling of being light while being raw vegan. But, I’ve realized that it’s impossible to be raw vegan when I’m under stress.
In the two weeks I was raw, I lost 8 lbs. I used to be extremely overweight. It took me 4 years to go from 262 lbs, to the 170 I am now. Tera, I don’t want to ever be that weight again. And I don’t want to wait another four years to lose 30 more lbs.
Now that spring is here, I want to start a fresh new page. Next week is the last week I would be under as much stress as I’m in now ( I’m heavily involved in a production of the musical Beauty and the Beast…next week is our last week). I’m cutting all processed foods out starting tomorrow. March 29 I’m doing the 24-hour fast, and then starting back into the raw vegan lifestyle, starting with your 7-day detox. Winter is over, and though this first day of spring I’ve had more slip-ups than I’ve cared for, I’m ready to change my life. I’ve stumbled numerous times, but like the saying goes, “Fall down 7, get up 8.”
Now, here’s what Beth left in the comments the day before yesterday:
I haven’t posted much and I have to confess it’s because I, how can I say it? Strayed? This weekend, I spent a lot of time with other people, eating meals at others’ homes and at events where I’d really have had to bring my own food to stay close to the raw diet I’m working on. And that meant that, for a few days, I tried to just nibble on the sad little plates of raw veggies and dip that someone brought, but that there was nothing else even remotely close to a raw or vegan offering around. And so I went back to my “old” way of eating. Nothing too bad, but I ate a big plate of lasagna and some meat and some desserts, and not a single meal this weekend felt like it was that good for me – and now I feel like hell. So I’m convinced that I had my body on the right path, and that I need to steer back in that direction. I’m exhausted and grumpy and I feel bloated and ick.
I want to start back at square one with a 7 day detox, and then move back on to the path of the 90 day plan. I feel sort of ashamed to admit it. So for the next day or two, I’m thinking mono meals, and then a 24 hour water fast…and I hope I’ll feel that energy come back soon!
The Real Problem & How to Solve It
Beth is just one of hundreds of thousands of women who have come through our cozy little part of the world to share a story like this. Maybe you can relate to some of how she feels and what she’s worried about? A LOT of people have this idea that they’re “sliding back,” “slipping up” or “going astray” falling off the bandwagon, etc. and that they need to start “all over again.”
Well it’s a load of sloppy hogwash. It’s mathematically, physically and cosmically IMPOSSIBLE to have a body and be on this planet and be going “backwards.” Here’s something you already know, but may not be applying:
You cannot live the same moment twice. Not in this universe, anyway. And no matter what you tell yourself when you’re in a slump, EVERY DAY YOU ARE DOING THE BEST YOU CAN WITH WHAT YOU KNOW, UNDERSTAND AND ARE ABLE TO HANDLE.
And the biggest mistake you make is not that you eat a donut when you’re on a detox, or that you skip a workout when you were committing to daily exercise…
…it’s that you beat yourself up, make yourself wrong, question your abilities, make a bunch of lame excuses for it and then start to doubt yourself. You go riding the hamster wheel inside your head wondering what’s “wrong” with you.
NOTHING IS WRONG WITH YOU. But there are a few pretty freaky messed up things about how life works, so if you’re running into obstacles, feeling overwhelmed, confused, disoriented and worn down…
…YOU are not the problem. Confusion is. And we can solve it. 🙂
Those of us who are committed to making these dramatic changes need to make the word, “GRADIENT” our mantra. Change happens over time on a sliding scale. We don’t wake up one morning in the middle of winter and realize that summer is here so let’s put on our bikini. We’re not here for any unrealistic miracles. We’re here for long-lasting, life-altering changes of the variety that we can implement for the long haul.
Be GENTLE WITH YOURSELF!!
C’mon! Just think of all the things you’ve been through in your life. Think of the things you’ve overcome and endured. Now you’re trying to do something to make life better, more enjoyable, don’t beat yourself up for the fact that you struggle along the way. Babies don’t learn to walk overnight, and when they did start walking, they fell hundreds of times before they really figured it out.
Since they hadn’t been fed a bunch of “socially appropriate” crap about how you’re “supposed” to behave, they were just busy observing life and watching and enjoying and exploring their bodies. When they fell, they didn’t beat themselves up for falling, or ponder what was “wrong” with them for having fallen in the first place. They just fell. Sometimes a little cry, or a pout. Then they got up, looked around, and kept on trying.
The Only Way Out is Through
You’re not on any roller coaster. You don’t need to go back and start over, and you’re not sliding off any bandwagons. EVERY DAY you’re doing the very best you can with what you have to manage, confront and control. And you’re a brave son of a gun for even trying in the first place, so just keep going. Tomorrow you’ll know more and be more and do more, and the biggest mistake you make is doubting that.
If you’re running a marathon and you fall down, you’re not going to stand up and say, “Oh well. I better go back to the beginning and try running it again!” Some people race at light speed through a marathon, but they dedicate an enormous amount of time, attention and training to making that happen. Some people get to the end exhausted and sick for having pushed too hard, then never run another one. Some people slow it down juuuust a bit, take deep breaths and look around to enjoy the scenery EVEN WHEN they fall on their butts or run into some other unexpected bump in the path.
And some people walk the marathon, but they still get there, for heaven’s sake! They still DO IT! They start in the morning and they get up early and they walk their way to the finish line.
You are on a journey, here. You DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT need to go back to the beginning because you “slipped up” or think that you’ve gone off any bandwagons.
You slipped up because there was something more to learn or overcome and if you completely invalidate all the work you’ve done to get to that place, then you risk missing the point! There’s something to learn. Sit there on your swollen butt cheeks when you fall and look around a bit. Just see what’s there to see, observe and take the learning.
Then get up and move forward at a pace that feels right for you. But KEEP GOING FORWARD!
Take a Moment to Acknowledge Yourself for What You Do Right
Find what you can to celebrate about your own journey and acknowledge the adventures. I can’t walk your path, nor should you be trying to walk mine, even if we are going to the same direction! At the end of your days, are you going to look back and think, “I really wish I hadn’t eaten that lasagna!” or are you going to think, “I really wish I hadn’t spent so much of my life punishing myself so much.”
Look around outside and ask yourself how many others were willing to take the road you’re on. Not many, Sister, so just for having laced up the shoes and started this path, you should be acknowledge and admired for your courage! You’re a trail blazer–a pioneer in the name of health and wellness. What you do here and now could affect the lives of many people.
So strap on your proverbial sneakers, today and do whatever it takes to get a win for yourself. Appreciate the bumps in the road, because they make life interesting and they teach you a lot. Problems are there for you to find creative ways to get around. So bless them and love them. There’s more I want to say, but tomorrow’s another chance to say it.
Be gentle. Who cares about donuts? Detox things like self-punishment, guilt and invalidation from your life today instead. Let that crap go. They never helped you get this far and they’re only holding back your wings now. You’re amazing! Live that truth in THIS moment and all will be well, my dear. I promise.
My biggest squishy Day 3 hugs to you!