Both with myself and with my clients I have noticed a phenomena that I like to call the “Oh, F*$& It!” phenomena. For me, this most often takes place when I have been burning the candle at both ends and I finally break down and “cheat” somehow. Maybe it is ordering a pizza, maybe it is buying a chai when I am out doing errands, maybe it is dumping my meal plan for the week and going rogue. The first “cheat” is completely understandable, but what I have noticed is that then I start to want to “cheat” more and more. It becomes harder and harder to get back into the regular swing of things.
My clients have often reported this to me as well. Things will be going really well, they are cooking a lot, stocking up their freezer, feeling great, and then they order out one night, and the next day they buy lunch because there were no leftovers, and the next night they order out again, and it goes on and on. What I say to them, and what I try to tell myself, is that this is completely ok. Sometimes we have to fall off the wagon in order to see how well we are doing. The trick is getting back up and moving forward productively.
This can be hard. It can be hard to turn away from that remaining TV dinner in the freezer or that take out menu to get back to planning, shopping, and cooking. It is hard for me, too. But once you are up and running again, it feels so good (both physically and emotionally). Here are four tricks that I have used to help me get back into the swing of things when I am having trouble:
1) Be kind to yourself. Let go of the guilt. Recognize that even falling off of the wagon shows how much farther you have come—the fact that there is even a wagon to fall off of is a big deal!
2) Make it easy. As you try to get back into the swing of things try to incorporate some things that are easy for you. Favorite meals that you know like the back of your hand, really quick meals that won’t stress you out too much, etc.
3) Take stock of what you have. Look around your kitchen and see what you already have, then build from there with a meal plan that takes advantage of those resources. This will lead to less sticker shock at the grocery store and a sense of accomplishment that can help you to keep the momentum going into the actual cooking.
4) Try something new. If part of the reason you fell off the wagon is that you are sick of your usual recipes, then try out some new ones that are exciting to you. Look for quick, easy, healthy recipes that look fun and exciting. This week, for example, I decided to go with four new recipes to get me engaged again. Some have been keepers, some not, but all have kept me engaged. (The picture is of one of them, a one pot pasta. Recipe coming soon!)
When you’ve fallen off the cooking wagon what are your tricks to getting back on?