Saturday, April 21, 2012

What to do when you've fallen of the wagon

Now that I've gone through the ten easy steps to making Paleo eating a permanent way of life,  it's time to talk about relapses .... or what to do if you fall of the wagon.

First, it's important to realize that NOBODY is perfect.  Nobody.  All those writers who write books and blogs are human just like you and me, and even though they know exactly what they should be doing, they don't always do it. You just don't know it because they don't usually talk about it,  but if they really want to help people, it's time they did. 

I don't put myself in the same category as those who have been writing about Paleo for years since obviously I have nowhere the same experience, but I admit to having fallen of that wagon more than once.  The difference between me and many others is that I don't let it get to me.  I just get right back on.

The key is to treat it as just a minor setback and to learn from it.  Think about why you strayed.  

Was it a special occasion or a meal with friends that was too tempting to resist?  If that was the case then maybe you should just give yourself the leeway to enjoy that once in a while.  This is after all why the Primal Blueprint has the 80/20 rule.  If you follow the plan 80% of the time you are doing just fine and don't need to beat yourself up.  Mark says strive for 100% but be happy with 80%.  And if it makes you feel better, even some of the Paleo greats believe in indulging once in a while.  If you listen to any of Robb Wolf's podcasts you will hear him talking about going out for nacos more than once.

If your case involved going off the plan for a longer duration, like say a week of vacation or just several days of eating stuff you know you shouldn't, then learn from the experience.  Think about why it happened.  One of the most common reasons is because you don't have the right food available.  This is where you need to plan ahead to make sure it doesn't happen again.  

Start out with having lots of  Paleo snacks available, that way even if you don't feel like making a meal you have some good alternatives to satisfy your hunger.  

It's the best quick fix, but obviously you can't rely on snacks alone to carry your through.  This is why, if you haven't already, you should start on my 10 easy steps to becoming a permanent Paleo eater .  You can work your way through these at your own pace, but once you've made them into habits you will automatically always have the right food available without a lot of effort, and the chances of a relapse occurring again will be a lot less.

If you went of the plan for just one or two meals, chances are you can just go back to eating Paleo quite easily, but if we're looking at several days or more, then you have probably gone back to being a carb burner instead of a fat burner again. You will need to retrain your body all over again.

I know this can be discouraging, but it won't be as difficult as it was the first time because you have already cleared most of the toxins out of your body.  Just a couple of days should do the trick - and I do speak from experience.  I've had to do this myself several times.  As I've said before, none of us is perfect.

The easiest way I've found is to follow my at home detox plan.  Basically it consists of setting aside 2 or 3 days for yourself and creating an at home spa so you can relax and rejuvenate while getting your body back on track. Instead of punishing yourself, take it as your body telling you that it needs some special care and give yourself the gift of some special pampering time.  You'll get back on track with the minimum of pain and suffering and in fact probably find you enjoy the experience.  

I plan to  treat myself to a detox weekend every few months whether I need it or not.  I think it's a great way to take care of myself, enjoy some simple pleasures, and make sure my body getting what it needs.

So the next time you fall of that wagon, don't waste any time beating yourself up.  Remember nobody is perfect. We are all just doing the best we can.  You're part of an enlightened group of people who have found a healthy way of living their lives, and we are all behind you in spirit.  We all want you to succeed. 

So  if there is nobody else there to do it, give yourself a hug.  Fill your fridge with some good snacks, plan a relaxing spa at home detox weekend, and resolve to start working on those habits today.  You're part of a changing world - one that's changing for the better -  and we need you!
 “Life isn't about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.”   - George Bernard Shaw
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