What does fall off the wagon actually mean?
The definition looks something like this.
“When one resumes an addictive and or compulsive behavior that they are trying to control. Originally referred only to drinking, but is now used in reference to all sorts of things including diets and exercise plan”
The reason I really dislike this saying so much is because it is so black and white. It is like you are either winning or you are not. When you are working towards eating better, moving more, taking some time for self care like mindfulness meditation, sometimes you will be on a real roll, and completely nailing it. Sometimes you just won't.
At some point you will likely slip up, this could be after a few months, weeks or even days sometimes, and at that point it can be easy to exclaim that you have ruined all the hard work and now there is no point to it all.
This couldn't be further from the truth. Congratulate yourself for the work you have done to date, you body and mind is better for it. Then be kind to yourself. Often there is a lead up to making a choice that you are not as happy with. It may look something like this...
Kids giving you a hard time in the morning, running late to school drop off, daycares, work, appointments, etc, feeling under the pump all day, eating your lunch too quickly, rushing home to finish a never ending pile of chores and then instead of cooking that delicious meal from scratch that you planned, it looks like peanut butter toast and a glass of wine.
So instead of berating yourself for your lack of willpower, endless energy and capacity to cook a good meal, it is better to take a step back and look at the whole picture. If there is negative self talk, notice it and try and be kind to yourself. Speak to yourself as you would a loved one. As Brene Bowne says “ We are generally doing the best we can”. Try and show up with kindness and compassion instead of comparison and perfection.
You could consider, ”what is my capacity today, what can I adjust in my day, is there something I could plan differently, what do I need, who else can help me? “
Be realistic, on hectic days, know your capacity and work with it.
Take home advice.
Observe, reframe, stay out of shame, ne kind and adjust. Forget about the wagon!