Trigger warning: this article may trigger cravings in some who are still new to Paleo or are in their first Whole30. If you are one of these people, you might want to skip this article.
Sometimes, after eating well for the first time for a few weeks, or even a month or so, we long for the unbridled and unrestricted eating patterns we used to be in. It’s only natural; when we didn’t really concern ourselves with the quality of the food we were eating, we just crammed anything that we found delicious into our mouths. When we didn’t concern ourselves with the amount of calories, we ate as much as we wanted to. When we didn’t consider the effect that these foods had on our health, it was easy to just eat, eat, and eat some more.
But a crazy thing happens when you do start considering these things and become concerned with the quality of your food and its effect on your health; you change what you eat and you start watching what you eat. However, you might also begin to miss all these delicious foods you used to be able to eat with wanton abandon. What’s worse is that most of these foods probably had carbs or sugar in them, and as such, the cravings you have for them are as strong as (and science suggests it could even be stronger) than a drug addiction. You want that pizza, pasta, chocolate cake, milk shake, or peanut butter cup. You want it so bad you start fixating on it, even considering the “small hit” it will make in your new eating plan and any progress you’ve made so far. You start to justify the “cheat,” begin to make excuses, even commiserate with others who are also eating well and getting them to agree with you that, “A little cheat here and there won’t hurt anything.”
And then it happens; you go off-plan and eat some pizza. Or fried food. Or dessert.
As a reward for this cheating, your stomach rebels by giving you horrible pain. Your body feels sluggish, the energy you’ve been feeling lately is suddenly sapped. Then the guilt kicks in. You feel horrible, both physically and emotionally. You let yourself down, and this depression could lead to more bad food decisions. Many people cite this point as the departure from their healthy eating plan. This is where most people fail; the proverbial fall off the wagon.
Do you know what I have to say about that?
WHO CARES. You went off-plan. It happens. It’s not the end of the world. It won’t kill you, and it won’t stop you.
What do you do next? Just get back on that horse at the very next meal. Don’t just give up for the day or the weekend or the rest of the week. So you slipped and had a pint of ice cream? After you get off the toilet, make your very next meal a good one that’s back on-plan. Yes, it’s that easy. You can do it. You’ve been doing it for countless weeks or month(s) already, so it’s not a foreign concept. Just get back on that horse.
I know; the foods you’re not supposed to eat anymore are delicious and you miss them. I won’t argue that point. However, you have to accept the concept that it’s short-term gratification with no real benefit to you. Besides, with so many good Paleo alternatives out there, you can eat good, delicious, and healthy foods without the negative effects and emotional baggage. It just takes some self-control, discipline, and motivation.
Get back on that horse.
You’ve got this.