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  • Writer's pictureSarah Fraser

When you fall off the wagon

Given that it's a New Year and we're all human, I thought it would be timely to discuss the old "falling off the wagon". This is the time of year for resolutions and then, let's be real, the ensuing slip-ups.

No one is immune to this. Even though my hubby has stayed 100% plant-based since his kidney disease diagnosis, that doesn't mean he hasn't slipped up. You indulge a little too much over the holidays, you eat those mashed potatoes loaded with vegan butter, you eat out and don't worry about how much oil is going into the meal, you eat some pastries for breakfast instead of your vegetables or oatmeal. And for some reason, the more we eat those things, the more we crave those things even when we know they make us feel lousy. If Jim's feeling at all stressed, I see him reaching more for the starches and less for the vegetables. Exercise goes out the window. Even though his kidney numbers are all good, he struggles to maintain that ideal body weight. It means going back to the basics again and finding the drive to re-commit.

The best my husband and I ever felt was when we were following the regimen of a high raw plant-based diet. We consumed green smoothies, tons of water and raw food throughout the day followed by a clean, cooked plant-based meal at night. My energy level was through the roof! I eliminated coffee and tea completely because I didn't need it. My skin looked better than ever. Jim lost weight without even trying. Why couldn't we maintain that? Mistakenly, we invited some friends to stay with us for a weekend and I could see the slip-ups start to happen. We went back to a 100% plant-based diet but didn't feel quite the same. I'd like to blame our guests but that's not really fair.

For me, there are 2 key things that really seem to make the difference regarding my success and commitment. One, I need a regular exercise program. For me, it's Orange Theory because I get results, the coaches are motivating and I've come to love the community of people there (my peeps!). It could easily be something different for someone else like just a regular walk every day. Exercise puts me in a better frame of mind and sets the tone for healthy eating the rest of the day. For me, I have to work out in the morning or my energy fades, I get busy and exercise falls to the bottom of the priority list.

The second thing is removing the crap from the house. Sounds so simple and we hear this all the time. Why is it so hard then? Despite my best efforts to do this, an occasion will roll around and the next thing I know Aunt Betty is bringing over her famous chocolate mousse cake for Christmas dinner. How can I say no to a small slice? And you might say that it's okay to have treats every now and then and I won't disagree with that but you really do have to know yourself. Are you the kind of person who can have just one slice and then let it go? Or will you be going back for the rest of the cake later in the day when no one's looking? Chef AJ will even go as far as recommending a locked food safe! If there are others in your house who continue to bring in tempting junk, she recommends getting them to lock it up (and of course, make sure you don't have the code!). Maybe that seems extreme but we really do have to ask ourselves, what is the motivation for eating healthy? If it's just to lose that last few pounds that might not be reason enough. I think you have to look at the bigger picture and discover why you want to live a longer life. Is it that you love to travel and want to do that well into your 80s? Is it that you want to be dancing at your grandchild's wedding?

I think, when faced with this New Year ahead of me, I need to focus on what brings me joy in life. And then...get moving and get rid of the crap! Hopefully, this will keep me on the wagon;)

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