“I need to be good 100% of the time or I’ve failed…”
It’s a Friday (#Friyay) and you’re 2 weeks into your new diet and training plan. You had a great start to the day. 3 raw egg whites with a 21 day aged steak, cooked medium rare with a plain Jane protein shake and kale shot for a treat…
You’re keeping it real and you know it…
Later that day…
Your colleagues are going to the pub after work and you agree to join them. So far so good, you’ve had one soda water and lime. Fresh lime because your body is a temple. Well done champ.
Then it happens. You have no idea how, but it’s 2am and you’re about to order large fries with your dirty donner kebab. #winning
Soon after you’re cruising home in an Uber.
The day after the night before…
You’re feeling Uber-bad. Hungover and out of pocket. You’ve missed your 6am Saturday morning PT session with “Pete the Meat” to pound your glutes one more time this week.
You go back to bed. You end your day with a Netflix session of Breaking Bad and 5 missed calls from Pete the Meat. Sorry Pete.
Sunday comes around and your hangover is gone. It has been replaced with a head of hurt, sorrow and disappointment.
“I’ve failed” you tell yourself. “I’ll never get in the shape I want to. Why did I ever think I could get in shape anyway. It’s never worked before. I’m not cut out for this crap.”
Back to normal
Before you know it you’re back into your routine from a few weeks ago.
Special K for breakfast with Orange Juice, a croissant from the bakery with a caramel topped, triple strength mocaccino from Starbucks on the way to work.
It’s 17 days until Claire’s bday so she baked a cake and you’ve had 2 slices. It was rude not to. It’s 10:42am…And you’re depressed.
Does this sound familiar?
I’ve exaggerated a little. Or have I? What kinds of things have you told yourself before when you inevitably fall off the dieting wagon?
Be honest, you’re only talking to yourself…Talking to myself? I’m not mad. So who is that voice that “you” can control in your head then?
Sorry, too deep? Hopefully you picked this up from the last section…You are not your mind.
So, what’s the problem here?
The problem is that we have set ourselves up for failure. Just like when we were managing our expectations. The same mistake twice. What idiots we are. Why am I so dumb? I can’t get anything right. Hold on a minute…Where are these thoughts coming from again!?
I joke. But that’s the continuous cycle of thoughts most of us have everyday. Every hour even. And it’s normal.
You are not a failure and neither is your diet because you had one “bad” night out. It’s just one small event in the grand scheme of things.
What about all the “good” days before it? 1 night out isn’t going to destroy all that hard work. No, only you and your negative failure thoughts can do that…
Here’s the thing…
The point I’m trying to make is that it’s not a black and white case of good and bad. The all or nothing failure thought process is something we need to address and take control of from the beginning.
If we can have more self compassion and understand that there will be times when we do things that are probably not the most helpful towards our end goal, we can take actions to counter them or limit the damage.
We can handle the situation instead of throwing away the progress we’d made up to that point.
And maybe, just maybe your body or mind was telling you something. Maybe it was telling you that you needed to let your hair down a little. That it was tired of being “good” all the time.
Like the rebellious teenager that just wants to be listened to, understood and accepted for the way they are. Without judgement and strict rules to adhere to.
Or maybe it was just complaining without good reason because it was getting used to a new routine that was hard to stick to and needed some adjustment to fine tune it.
Or perhaps you were just acting on old habits. They die hard as they saying goes, so there will be times when you can’t change them overnight.
There are many reasons why this might have happened, but the end result is the same. They did. We can’t change that, but we can change how we deal with them.
What’s the answer?
Being realistic before the event, managing our expectations and learning to handle times when we mess up is all part of the journey.
There is no such thing as perfect. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. In fact, all or nothing is an extreme way of looking at things. Things aren’t black and white. It’s inflexible, it’s not adaptable. It breaks easily. A flexible, yet controlled approach works better.