One of my clients came into the gym recently and he didn’t have the normal vigor that he usually had. I noticed it right away and asked him what was going on. “I fell off the band wagon,” he replied, assuming that he had done something terrible and possibly created a major setback in his quest for fitness. I explained to him that it is just not the case and falling off the diet wagon once in a while can actually be a good thing!
My client, in falling off the wagon, screwed up on the diet end of things. Keep in mind that he stilled showed up at the gym for his workout, so he didn’t fall off there as well. It was just with the food. He got busy, didn’t have the right foods on hand in the house, and when he went to the pantry, he noshed on what he found handy. He ate chocolate, chips, and candy. The type of things that he would normally try to avoid, but since he had no variety on hand, he got desperate and bored and he ate. He even took in some empty calories with some soft drinks.
The thing is, it was only for one day. Falling off the wagon for one day is not a bad thing. Now if you let one day go into two, into a week, and so on, then that is a whole other story. But one day of eating the unhealthy foods isn’t going to do you in. And, it may just turn out to be a good thing for you to do once in a while. Let me explain…
Many people feel restricted when they try to eat a healthy diet or watch their caloric intake. They may feel like they are turning down and passing up on many of the foods they used to enjoy, like cookies or chips, so their want for those foods continues to grow and so too does their feelings of being restricted. But if one day a week or every couple of weeks you let yourself fall off the wagon and eat those things you would normally turn down, you will be satisfying that craving, both mentally and physically.
If you know that you can still have those foods, only you get to have them once a week or once a month then you will most likely feel better about sticking to a more nutritious diet the rest of the time. You know you will still get to taste that cookie or cake again in the near future. Often times, once you do fall off the wagon and have that day of indulgence, you find that it doesn’t taste nearly as good as you thought it would or that you remember it tasting.
There is also a good chance that by falling off the wagon once in a while, you may end up no longer feeling the need to fall of the wagon. Once you have done it a few times, you will realize that you aren’t really missing that much at all, and you may, in time, skip doing it by choice. So the next time you fall off the wagon, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, get yourself right back to the gym the next day and get back on the wagon!