It’s happened to you before: you courageously proclaimed, “That’s it. I am not eating any more junk food. 100% healthy, whole plants from now on”. It lasts for a little bit, and then you fall off the wagon. You feel horrible – the worst part of it is mental and emotional. There is a lot of guilt and shame involved in breaking a promise you made to yourself. You probably also feel horrible physically after all those oily fries you eat. In this post, you’ll get some powerful tips on getting back on the wagon and re-motivating yourself after you fall off. It’s never, ever too late to start or restart eating healthy, and this is how you do it: with both body and mind working together.
I, Too, Fell Off the Diet Wagon
This has happened to me recently as I made my way through a very busy, emotionally draining, and hectic time in my life. I was working at Hands of Peace, an incredible organization where I facilitate Israeli, Palestinian, and American teens in dialogue about the violence they experience. I love my work – the daily 2-hour conversations are very honest, full of passion and emotion – and I get to witness a supremely brave group of teens who are willing to sit together and talk, unlike what their respective adult representatives are doing. While being a dialogue facilitator is rewarding and inspires so much growth in me, it is also draining and hectic. I drive far, I absorb tears, I don’t have much personal time, and I dwell in the pain being shared in the room often. During this one month of work, I too fell off the diet wagon. Usually, my diet is extremely clean and healthy. I do allow myself about 1 restaurant meal per week, but other than this, I do not use any artificial ingredients in my home-cooked meals (including oil, sugar, or anything processed). I eat plants in their whole food form, with a small amount of seasonings that do not contain crazy-sounding ingredients. But the stress got to me, and I had several days of oily food. And so, I decided to walk away from that because it made me tired and even more stressed. Follow along: this is what you should do when you fall off your diet wagon. The following tips are powerful, and they cover both mental and dietary aspects of getting back on track with a healthy, plant-based diet.
5 Amazing Tips for When You Fall Off the Diet Wagon
1. The self-talk.
As soon as you fall off the wagon, your mind will tell you that: > You’re not good enough to do anything right > You’re a failure > How could you mess up at something so important?!?! The trick is not to listen. Our minds are always trying to control us, but they don’t always behave in a way that is conducive to our success. The easiest way to ignore the information your mind will try to convey to you about yourself is to drop right into your body and heart. Take a few minutes each day to close your eyes and tune into your emotions in your heart and in your stomach. There may be anger and sadness at yourself. Just listen, and try to feel through it, without judging or fixing these feelings. Working through this will allow you to put it off to the side and move on with better choices, rather than dwelling on how a small mishap that everyone makes defines you. It does not. Remember: every single person (including me! And I do this for a living!) sometimes falls off the wagon when it comes to a healthy lifestyle. It happens – and the key is not to allow it to define who you are as a person.
2. Be gentle.
Pretend that you are talking to your best friend, who just ate a bunch of junk food. Would you tell her, “you idiot, I cannot believe how easy it is for you to slip up and eat food that harms you?” Speak to yourself in the same way that you would speak to her. If you have to force yourself, you can write down some sentences you would tell her and print them out. Read them daily.
3. Make coming back as easy as possible.
Your mind wants you to be comfortable. It doesn’t want you to change things. So if you fell off your diet wagon and are eating junk food, it will want you to stay there and continue doing that. This will make you feel comfortable. Your mind hates change. So to make things easier on your mind, make the transition into eating healthy again fun and easy! Take out all the steps that make it challenging to eat healthily. Don’t make it any more difficult than it needs to be. Buy a lot of healthy snacks, and empty your house of junk. Place those snacks all over your house, so that it’s the first thing you reach for. Go grocery shopping and buy a lot of healthy food to fill your fridge – it will help you so much with sticking to a healthy, whole food plant-based diet.
4. Make a plan.
Success on a healthy lifestyle begins with a good plan. Once you plan out meals during the weekend for your whole week, it will make eating healthy so much easier! Not only will it take out the hassle of thinking of new meals every day. It will also allow you to get excited about healthy food, and easily stick to it!
How to Go Plant-Based with Ease in 30 Days
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5. Motivate yourself daily.
Motivation and inspiration are key when it comes to sticking to healthy eating. When you live in a world of junk food – junk ads, junk-food eating friends, being a minority as a plant-based eater – you are very likely to succumb to the pressure of your surroundings.
I don’t ever think of myself as someone who easily gives in to peer pressure. I don’t. But even I find myself slipping when I don’t make sure that I am motivated and my mind is on track to eat healthy, especially when I am in an environment of unhealthy food.
Find what motivates you to eat healthily, and do it. Something that works well is watching videos where people showcase their healthy lifestyle. I highly recommend watching my YouTube channel for healthy lifestyle inspiration!
Think back to why you wanted to be plant-based in the first place, and tune into that daily, not just for a single moment. Re-inspire yourself every single day by reading, watching, and hearing all about what a plant-based diet can do for your body, the environment, and for saving billions of beautiful animals!
“My attitude has always been, if you fall flat on your face, at least you’re moving forward. All you have to do is get back up and try again”. — Richard Branson