Confessions from a Personal Trainer: I can’t stand the phrase “off the wagon”

Where every Tuesday: I confess.

*This is the 21st confession sent to my email subscribers. If you’d like the most current confessions sent straight to your inbox in real time, head to my homepage, sign up, and download your free gift.*

Confession: I’m off the “wagon.”

Second confession: I really dislike the term “off the wagon.”

Often the term “off the wagon” means you’re eating badly.

Here is a sampling of some of my “off the wagon” foods from the last 10 days.

  • Chocolate “wax” donuts – you know – the ones in the roll of 6 that taste like wax
  • Cookies from Tim Horton’s
  • Burger with some of the bun from Culver’s
  • Cream cheese brownies eaten straight out of the container with a fork
  • Part of a pop tart
  • Candy corn
  • Homemade chocolate chip cookie dough (with regular flour)
  • Queso at a Mexican restaurant with lots of chips

This is not a total list. Some may say I fell WAY OFF THE WAGON. But here’s the thing – I call it life. Sometimes life happens. Let me explain.

The cookies from Tim Horton’s and the Culver’s happened during the weekend at Tough Mudder. I have found that after a weekend of doing over 44 miles and 70 some obstacles, my body craves anything it can get in it. Sometimes because the healthiest choices aren’t available….I eat what I can. I don’t worry about it. I know this pattern. I also know that in the 2-2.5 months where I am doing Tough Mudders every other weekend – I will not lose weight. My body holds onto inflammation, has a hard time recovering, and frankly – it doesn’t like long distance events. Ha! So I choose to not worry about my weight for the months of September/early October.

Now, let’s talk about the rest of the list. In life – emotional events happen and for some people (me!) mindless, emotional eating happens. I know it’s not normal eating and I know I’m doing it to cope. It’s not nutritious and it doesn’t actually make me feel good.

So after about 10 days of the emotional eating – I finally snapped out of it. Not because I felt guilty or like I need to “burn” it off, but because I really started to feel like crap.

  • Irritable
  • Stomach ache
  • Low grade headache
  • Dehydrated
  • Fatigue
  • Bloated
  • Feel “off”

This is why I don’t like the term “off the wagon.”

How you eat is not an ON and OFF thing.

You need to pay attention to how food makes you FEEL.

I know that I feel crappy when I eat poorly and I happily ate eggs this morning, drank a protein shake with tons of greens and coconut oil, and will cook up some great protein and veggies tonight. I will also exercise and get enough sleep.

I will likely write about this topic again because as someone who has struggled with how I view food and my relationship with food – I am really proud of where I am at now. But I know there are many people who still struggle. I will never eat perfectly and be ON THE WAGON. I will eat great for nourishment, I will eat for pleasure and enjoy it, and I will probably emotionally eat again. However, I will reflect on why I did what I did and make changes.

My hope for you is that you simply start to take an interest in how food makes you feel and realize that you have the ability to feel better!

And please – stop using the term “OFF THE WAGON” Food is a part of LIFE and LIFE HAPPENS.


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