How do I know? Cause I’m in the middle of one, right now. Well, hopefully I’m at the end of it, actually.
How did I get here?
If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time you know that I rarely go out to eat, preferring to stick to a pretty strict eating plan that I call my “Food Blueprint.” The Blueprint isn’t a diet, but rather a formula for eating that keeps me focused on eating small, healthy meals and snacks at regular intervals throughout the day. By doing so I avoid the blood sugar highs and energy lows that happen when I go for long periods without eating. After all, the fire that is our metabolism is stoked by eating and I want my metabolism burning as much as possible. Eating at regular intervals also helps me avoid ravenous hunger. When I get overly hungry I tend to make bad food choices, reaching for the high-calorie, high-fat foods that with satiate my hunger fastest.
But knowing all of that and actually doing it are two different things. Oh, most of the time I am successful at doing it. But for the last two weeks I’ve been living out of a suitcase, on the road for three different trips. I’ve been on planes (no trains) and automobiles. I’ve eaten in airports, at gas stations and at a place called the Waffle House in a town whose name I can’t remember. There was nothing on the menu at the Waffle House that is part of my Food Blueprint, but I ate there anyway.
It is unbelievably easy for me to let my good habits slide when I’m away from my normal routines. I’m a homebody at heart; I find travel very stressful. For me, some of that stress translates into eating things that I wouldn’t normally.
If that wasn’t enough of a setback, the jet lag and poor sleep on lumpy hotel mattresses mean that I’m bleary-eyed in the morning and craving my caffeine pick-me-up. Late last fall I did a serious detox and managed to break my decades-long addictions to caffeine and sugar. I regret to say that both have crept back into my life. They are stealth and seductive. I know when I’m tired and out-of-sorts that they’re gonna give me that immediate boost that I’m looking for. Well, I got the boost, but now it’s time to pull myself back together and shake them off again.
You see, I’m finally back home, cooking my own meals and sleeping in my own bed again. I’ve got some work to do to repair the damage done during this relapse, and even though these bad habits are quick to reassert themselves, lots of good habits are very well established in my life too, and I know that those are the habits I want to reinstate.
As I settle back in to my normal life, I won’t bother expending any energy beating myself up over this relapse. Instead, I will pick myself up, brush myself off and thank my lucky stars that I get to start anew tomorrow.
After all, it isn’t about how many times you fall; it’s about how many times you get back up.
Cause sh*t happens. And so do relapses.