Pitch the wagon mentality

For what its worth, pitch the "on-the-wagon-off-the-wagon" mentality. That mindset will only set you up for failure, because when you "blow it" the brain automatically says, "okay, since I'm *off the wagon* anyway, I might as throw in the towel for the rest of the day and blow it big time." All or nothing has got to go!

To be honest, the wagon mentality is a most welcome excuse for major binge eating. The sad part is the binge can last for a day, two days, two weeks, three months or even years before the mind gets psyched up again to "get back on the wagon."

Don't involve any wagons! They are for ponies and children and hayrides, but not for getting your health back and staying healthy!

At the slightest slip up, recognize it, yet don't make a big deal out of it.

So you blew it. Big deal. It only proves you are a human being. Keep moving forward immediately in your journey to health. Don't give blowing it another thought. Delete it from your cranium. It's no big deal in your overall journey to optimal health.

You are making progressive changes whether you can see them or not. Forget the scales for this week. Forget the mirror. Is your waist a bit smaller? Is it easier to get out of a chair? Is it less tiring to climb a flight of stairs? Is it easier to roll over in bed at night?

Focus on the positive. Minimize the negative.

You'll get there. I know you will!

Cheering for you today! You have many cheering for you today!

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Comments (8) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Chris - September 15, 2009 10:45 AM

This came at the perfect time! I have struggled with the all or nothing mentality regarding exercise and diet for many years. This time around I am trying to let it go and just take comfort in the fact that I am on the road to good health and that deviations are OK. THANK YOU!

Phil Weinstein - September 15, 2009 1:44 PM

Very useful! Thank you.

The stories we believe about what's easy or hard or doable or impossible for us are ALL MADE UP. We might as well pick the stories that empower us, rather than the ones that sabotage our decisions.

I can see how the idea of "making a solid commitment" can lead to deciding that I'm now "ON the wagon" -- AMD the ensuing dismay when I "fall off". That's not useful. Why would I want to set myself up for anything other than always moving forward, regardless of what happens.

I think it may be better for me to -- as some level -- anticipate "transgressions" and even maybe plan for them. While it doesn't make sense for me to have really BAD food available for that (e.g. actually in my home), I think it helps to have something planned, and consciously allow myself a very limited indulgence. It's a good time for me to "keep my head" so that the choice to allow that doesn't lead to a full blown junk-fest.

Sounds good. I'm still working on all of this.

Lonnie - September 15, 2009 2:45 PM

I needed to hear this! When you get off track, there is always another party, another event, another interuption, another excuse, another craving, another stressor, to delay giving yourself fully to what you know you need to do. My binge has lasted 9 months. Thank you for confronting that "wagon" mentality. Thank you also for the encouragement to get away from the scales and the obsession with being obese and needing to lose the pounds. To have health be the goal and to be glad for even the small things like being more mobile or things clothes fitting better.

Emily Boller - September 15, 2009 3:08 PM

Impulsive "slip ups" happen here and there in the journey of optimal health. They happen. They just do.

However, and a big HOWEVER, be mindfully aware of compromises.

Compromises are those choices we knowingly and intentionally make outside the safety of boundaries. Boundaries keep us safe and healthy.

Seeds of compromise, no matter how seemingly insignificant, grow into bigger and bigger compromises. It's just the dynamics of sowing and reaping. Compromise is the gateway to addiction.

Be intentional in choices.

Slip ups happen. Move on quickly!

Compromises happen. Move on quickly! Stay within the safety of boundaries. That's where freedom abounds!

aunt cia - September 15, 2009 4:03 PM

I used to follow that "wagon" mentality. Now I eat what I know is good for my body and if I choose on occasion to have SAD foods, then I immediately get back to healthy foods again. None of this binging for me anymore!

Lynne (Horsecrazy) - September 15, 2009 8:32 PM

Excellent column Emily. If I had a nickle for everytime I have heard someone say they had "fallen off the wagon" of their diet - I would be rich!

Jackie - September 15, 2009 11:07 PM

Thanks for the encouragement! My husband just found out why he hasn't been losing weight. He thought you could eat unlimited bananas! I've read the book to him here and there and thought for sure he knew he couldn't eat unlimited bananas, but I just found out today what he has been doing.

Rosie - September 16, 2009 7:41 PM

A word in due season! I struggled with this mentality earlier today. Thanks for the encouragement, Emily.

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