Last week while exploring Civil War territory back East, I was struck by how chaotic and seemingly random this big chunk of our history really was.
The Battle of Gettysburg was actually a series of skirmishes. Advance, retreat. Win for the North, win for the South. Though it may pale in comparison when it comes to importance, it struck me how allegorical this is to life when we are aspiring to change. To improving our lives with healthier habits. Like a better diet.
As if on cue, this week in the 21-Day Vegan Kickstart that I have the honor of coaching, one of our lively and encouraging participants posted this. Lance (not that one!), aka vegpedlr, had this to say:
“If you fall down, STAND up!
I fell down yesterday. It was Friday, which is about the only explanation/excuse needed, really. In the spirit of the Kickstart, I decided to try a Mexican restaurant nearby that I haven’t visited. Well, the avocado margarita was interesting and good, Mexican beer is good, and I ended up with veggie fajitas much higher in oil than I like. They probably hid some queso in there somewhere too. Live and learn.
It doesn’t matter how many times you fall down, it only matters how many times you stand up. I think I’m paraphrasing a boxing coach, or maybe my grandfather. Anyway, today I stood up. Garbanzo beans in the crockpot for tonight’s ratatouille and black bean chili that I didn’t get to earlier in the week.
Did you stumble? Did you fall? Doesn’t matter. Just stand right back up and move forward!”
You don’t have to win every battle to win the war
Let’s learn from Lance’s message. It’s not the falling down that matters, it’s the standing back up. Winners are those who, time and time again, get back on their feet. They don’t complain about the fall, feel sorry for themselves for tripping, or stay in the ‘what the hell’ attitude pool for long.
Creating a healthier body and a healthier lifestyle is a series of approximations. Sometimes you hit it right on the head, sometimes you fall off the bike or take a sidetrip, and sometimes you just plain lose the skirmish. But if you take a look at your healthy practices this week – what you ate, how you moved, how you have made effort in improving your thinking process – and compare it to a few months or even a year ago, have you seen the upward spiral?
3 steps to getting back on track when you’ve fallen off the healthy wagon
1) Immediately do your version of Lance’s “beans in the crockpot for tonight’s ratatouille and black bean chili that I didn’t get to earlier in the week”.
2) Move your body. It is the fastest acting form of resurrection I know.
3) Turn your focus to what you want. Feeling discouraged and down can make connecting with your healthy vision seem impossible. Start with one simple step: say or write a sentence that tells one of your goals. Such as “Today I embody my healthy eating ideal”. Or, “Today I make exercise a priority and go on a 20 minute walk”. Make it something positive, tangible, a doable step. Nothing is too small. Too often we think that we’ll just snap about of feeling bad, neglecting the crticial step of stating intention and asking for what we want. Do this and watch your world change as your small investment in stating what you want starts to pull you forward.
If you are practicing better eating, better activity, and better thinking, then you are crowding out the habits and choices you are changing with the practices that are moving you forward to glorious, happy health.
Think of it as a practice.
About vegpedlr: As a proponent of plant based nutrition and a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, I PEDDLE veggies to anybody who will listen. As cyclist and triathlete, those veggies allow me to PEDAL all over. I have been inspired by truly remarkable plant based athletes as well as brave doctors who tirelessly extol the many virtues and benefits of whole foods, plant based diet. So this blog documents the efforts of a novice triathlete, mountain bike racer, and general endurance freak trying to find the ideal race weight, ideal training, to move from the back of the pack to the middle. Of course, the front of the pack would be even better, but let’s not get too crazy. Walking before running, yo. More about Lance (vegpdlr) at his website here: http://www.vegpedlr.net/