In case you haven’t noticed, I’m not a big fan of rigid rules and restrictive protocols. Diets are never really sustainable. They’re endured…for a time. Cleanses can be useful resets or jumpstarts, tools that can help you tune in and find your hull speed, but they aren’t meant to be a lifestyle. Rules and formulas can’t hold up forever because they’re not organic. You may have resolved to be healthier but you can’t fuel that resolve with will power and nothing else. At least, I’ve found I can’t.
There have been times I felt my diet was “perfect.” Or, very nearly. But I think I was gripping on to these “perfect” rules for dear life, totally white-knuckling the wheel. And hence, I wasn’t really healthy. In fact (so sorry family), I might have been a little neurotic. And the backlash when my will power finally failed was great and terrible, like Oz.
Look, I learned some time ago that the Ivory Tower has no legs. And the wild pendulum swings of living up there for awhile and then falling and then climbing back up and falling again aren’t good for you. I don’t think anyone can be perfectly healthy while gripping on for dear life, even if you could maintain your plan forever.
There has to be some wiggle room. Some ease. Some healthy indulgence and ebb and flow.
You can find the way of eating that makes your body sing (with a little help and experimentation perhaps), then allow for 20% wiggle room. You can savor a few bites of supremely rich, dark chocolate without eating the whole bar, or four. You can make a dinner worthy of wine and candlelight and savor it slowly, indulgently, so you’re totally satisfied and you don’t need to hit the cookie jar. And then you can have a real treat, or a whole indulgent meal from time to time, with appetizers and the whole soup-to-nuts treatment and apple pie, when it’s really worth it. Without totally rocking your boat. Returning to your normal healthy baseline without a struggle.
You have to find your own balance. Your “Hull Speed.” And it will take some tuning in. Tuning in to take a breath and step away from the kitchen before you go for whatever sweet treat is in the cabinets in a moment of boredom, but then sharing a warm, flourless chocolate cake with friends for a special Friday night out. Tuning in to choose club soda with cranberry and lime as a ‘cocktail’ 80% of the time, then slowly savoring an incredible glass of Barolo—a glass worthy of stopping and noticing, worthy of the indulgence and attention. Staying true to your intention of getting on your yoga mat at least 6 days a week almost all of the time, then taking a day off and a walk on the beach instead, just because you can, and life is short.
It won’t necessarily be easy. It always takes a little effort and experimentation. There will certainly be a learning curve. But in the end, it’s going to be so Delectable!