“Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor” -Truman Capote
Truman Capote’s quote appeals to me for many reasons. Perhaps in part due to the subtle food reference, but it’s mostly because it is so simple and yet, profound. I think about my own life and realize that there were many mistakes that I painfully struggled through before I could enjoy the sweetness of success. On a daily basis, I find eating healthy is a challenge. This may come as a surprise to some because it seems that knowing what to eat should translate into eating perfectly. The reality is that there are a lot of reasons why we make the food choices that we do: hunger, social cues, our environment, just to name a few.
So, how do I maintain a healthy lifestyle overall? I allow myself to make mistakes. There are temptations that I give in to, for instance, a decadent dessert that I was not planning to eat, or skipping a workout to go out with friends. The trick is not letting one mistake become a downward spiral.
Here are some tips to ensure that small failures do not derail you from achieving success
- Ask yourself why? When it comes to eating unhealthy food there are several things things to consider: First, were you actually hungry? If not, it could simply be because you were bored or tired. The later plays a role because when we are sleep deprived, we are more likely to crave unhealthy foods. Or, perhaps you were actually hungry and that was the food that was within reach. In cases like this, it is important to consider your daily eating routine and environment. There is a reason why eating small, frequent meals is so widely popular- it helps to keep your blood sugar levels on a more even keel, preventing dips that lead to extreme hunger. Grab some fruit, nuts, yogurt, and other healthy snacks to take with you on the road so you are not trapped in our fast food nation hungry
- Learn from your mistakes. Instead of dwelling, think about what you could have done differently. If you had your favorite snack in your bag, would you have grabbed something unhealthy on the road? Or, consider if your schedule was realistic to fit in that exercise routine. Exercise must become a non-negotiable appointment in your calendar-Yes, it’s that important!
- Move on. How many times have you said “Well, I’ve already gone off track by eating ____ so the whole day is blown. I will start fresh tomorrow”. The munchkins that were brought into the office, lead to pizza for lunch and so on. It is important to get back on track immediately by engaging in a healthy behavior. Climb a set of stairs, make a cup of oatmeal (despite the munchkins) or have a piece of fruit. It isn’t a calorie issue at this point, it’s a mental issue.
- Forgive yourself. The American culture makes it very challenging to practice a healthy lifestyle. You will not be perfect, but every healthy choice is a small success. You only have one body, cherish it.
Cheers to making mistakes, and enjoying success!