“One of these days that mouth is gonna get you in trouble.” To say that this phrase is one that I’m familiar with would be the understatement of the century. Yeah, let’s just say that I can tell you what flavor and type of soap tastes the best (yes, I got my mouth washed out that many times, and FYI – LAVA bar soap is the worst – it’s all gritty and gets stuck in your teeth…). Now, you’re all probably thinking “um, what does inappropriate language and soap flavor have to do with paleo”? Soap isn’t paleo, and swearing – well, that might be… Anyway, it all started with a brilliant idea my roommate and I had. See, we both realized that we were swearing a little too much (dropping ‘F’ Bombs like it was World War 3). So we decided to start a ‘swear jar’, and every time one of us swears in the presence of the other, a dollar gets put into the jar. Now, this all sounded like a good idea. That is until I realized how much more I swear then my roommate does. Let’s just say I’m broke, and by August we should be able to fund Zoe’s college education (you’re welcome Robb) and a trip to Disney World if I keep it up at my current rate. I am getting better, but still ‘FAIL’ing miserably. And that’s not the only catalyst for this sub-par piece of writing that you’re painfully reading right now. No, my Health & Comedy Podcast crew (Dan and Corben) decided a hybrid-paleo challenge would be fun to do for the month of May (seriously, how do I get roped in to this shit?!?!). So, by unfortunate association with these wise guys, I got conned into it too. Now, I’m far from perfect but for the most part, my diet is pretty darn clean. I admit to falling victim to convenience foods (paleo bars, jerky, etc.) probably a little more often than I should, and I’m a sucker for ice cream, but otherwise I don’t do too bad. That is until I’m attempting a 30-day challenge… Uh, yeah – I think I’ve eaten worse this past month then I have for the past 3 years. Can you say “FAIL”??? (Thankfully, Dan and Corben set the bar pretty low, so I’m still the cleanest of the bunch…).
FAIL – it’s a four letter word that we’re all too familiar with. We worry about doing it, do everything we can to avoid it, and when it happens it makes us feel downright awful about ourselves. It doesn’t matter what we fail at either. It’s all the same – the end result is a whole lot of negative self-talk, maybe a few swear words and a pint (or four) of ice cream. What’s the deal anyway, are we really that terrible because we couldn’t muster up a trip to the gym, dropped a few (hundred) swear words last week, or ate a slice of pizza on day 15 of a 30-day challenge? Does one slip-up justify giving up the ship? I like stories, so I’m gonna tell you another one (if I could draw I would illustrate, but art is not one of my three talents…). I recently received an email from a potential client that went something like this –
“I know what paleo is, so I don’t need a plan. I’ve done two 30-day challenges, but both times I FAILED on day 15. The first time I had sushi and sake and the last time it was a burger and fries. After I cheat I figure I blew it and just quit. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Why can’t I make it 30 days? Can you help me?”
Does this scenario sound familiar to any of you? And yes, I’m talking to YOU. How many times have you set out with nothing but the best intentions to completely dominate one of these ‘challenges’ only to come up short? Shoot, how many days have you woke up telling yourself that ‘today is going to be a clean day’ and by the time 10 am rolls around one of those donuts in the break room magically found its way into your mouth. Does this situation warrant use of the ‘F’ word? What exactly constitutes a true ‘failure’? What’s totally acceptable to one person (let’s say something like putting cream in your coffee), is enough to send someone else into a downward spiral of self-loathing and quite possibly the nearest Denny’s for a ‘Grand Slam Breakfast’. This is when you need to sit down and have a ‘come to Jesus’ with yourself. Seriously, how much damage can one cup of coffee with cream, a handful of nuts, or for the love of bacon – a banana, actually do? I mean really, even one meal of less than stellar choices is not the end of the paleo world, and definitely doesn’t constitute a full-fledged fall off. Sure, it’s a setback, but it’s also a learning experience, and it’s something I like to refer to as ‘life’.
In a ‘perfect’ world (you know, the one with fairies, unicorns, and honest politicians…), we could all go along happily existing in our little paleo bubble. We wouldn’t have social pressures, wouldn’t be tempted by the bowl of chocolates sitting on the office front desk, there wouldn’t be “Bread, Pasta & Cheese R’ Us” catered lunches at work, everyone would sleep 8-9 hours every night, stress would be non-existent, and there would be a river overflowing with the best coffee on earth and our adrenals wouldn’t even flinch after two gallons of the stuff… Okay, back to reality. The truth of the matter is that NONE of us are perfect (sorry, but this does, in fact, apply to you). We always set out with the best of intentions. We aim high, but when we miss the bulls-eye, regardless of how close we come, we still feel like we ‘F’-ed up (as in FAILED not the other word…). This idea leads many of us down a dark path that’s paved with OREO’s, Dorito’s, and Krispy Kreme’s, or sends us into a funk that’s so deep China is worried about an invasion (as in ‘dig a hole’ to China – I know, it’s a reach –but deal with it). And for some it may do both – look out Great Wall, we’re coming in!!
From now on instead of using the ‘F’ word replace it with the ‘S’ word (not THAT ‘S’ word!!). It was a SLIP, a minor Setback – not a life threatening OMG, I just ate the entire Chinese Buffet and all the fortune cookies FAILure. The key is to RECOVER from the minor slip before it turns into a mu shu massacre on Monday followed by a taco takedown on Tuesday and an all-out wing-fest on Wednesday. There’s no reason to start throwing around the ‘F’ word or to turn on the negative self-talk. What just happened back there at the restaurant with that glass of wine and cheese on your salad – that’s not FAILure, that’s life, and I assure you – it will go on!
Let’s do this together – no more using the ‘F’ word. Our mom’s will be SO PROUD!