- Coming Clean -

COMING CLEAN: When All-or-Nothing Doesn’t Quite Work

Starting a detox during an eventful week was probably not the best decision. But then, when is a good time?

At lunch, I walked over to our local grocery store with editorial intern Casie Lukes. Even though I had started the UltraSimple detox plan on Sunday Monday, I lamented to her that I picked a bad week to start.

Today is our anniversary and we’re going out to dinner, I told her. I’m allowing myself to have a glass of wine. And what about my birthday on Thursday? If someone just happens to give me a cupcake as a treat, can I really not eat it? (I say, if it’s gluten-free, then yes!)

The fact is, this wasn’t the best week to start a detox. But is there ever really a good time? There will always be dinners out and family parties and work events. And I’m a pro at holding tight to the all-or-nothing mindset: Well, I messed up today, so I’ll start again tomorrow (or on Monday). Today is a wash.

Blame it on the “diet mindset” I’ve had since I was 11 years old. I know it hinders my success elsewhere, too, like my home and work (if I’m going to start this project, I’m committed to finishing it completely, even if that means I work into the wee hours of the night — or as Kyle used to call it, my Sunday Night Cleaning Panic).

Now that I’ve seen success in weight loss with making small changes consistently, I know it can apply elsewhere.

But back to tonight’s dinner. The menu was diverse, and sure, there were a few salads and a side or sautéed vegetables, and there was chicken and fish, but some voice in my head said I would regret not eating what I really wanted. I’d think about it all week. And I know me: When I’ve made a choice that really truly felt like restriction, I’ll sneak food later.

Plus, since I was eating according to the UltraSimple plan all day (a smoothie for breakfast, a big salad for lunch, and green tea in the afternoon), I decided I could make a few several exceptions for dinner. I chose the filet mignon, which came with risotto, and ordered a side of asparagus.

I have no regrets.

The restaurant offers a special for couples celebrating their anniversary, in which they get two glasses of champagne and a dessert (they also offer a bottle of wine, any bottle, during one’s birthday week priced at your age, but let’s not get too crazy!). I had a few bites of the apple crisp, half of the champagne, and felt pretty satisfied with my choices.

I’d much rather eat for pleasure in this life, and sometimes the meals can be rich. As long as I keep my diet balanced overall, load up on the veggies, and defeat the all-or-nothing mindset, I can keep after my goals in a healthy, sustainable way.

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