What Sugar and Driving Have In Common

Nutrition coaching can be a gratifying business when clients get results. But it can be rather frustrating when clients fail to follow instructions – particularly for reasons that seem illogical, arbitrary, or even a little self-destructive.

Looking at weight-loss timing, for example. Much damage can occur from the time we first go off-course with our eating to the day we decide – somewhat arbitrarily – it’s the “right” day to begin anew.

Take the “Diets Start on Monday” Thing

Who was the first person to decide that Monday is the right day for healthful eating to begin? A heck of a lot of off-track eating can happen between the decision that you need to change your diet and that new-leaf Monday.

Or maybe the time span is only the weekend. Plenty of junk-outs can still crop up in anticipation of the deprivation that will come with Monday.

And if you fall off your new food plan on Tuesday or Wednesday, what will the rest of the week look like if you wait till the following Monday? Imagine how many extra desserts or drinks you might squeeze in, how many extra pounds you might gain.

Don’t Wait Till New Year’s Day

For that matter, who decided that January 1 is the day to re-set after holiday chaos? The holiday season lasts at least 5 weeks. Why go through the same behaviors, and then set the same goals every year?

Two clients – married to each other – used to drink their way heavily through the year and “dry out” (their words) in January. I discovered their January dry-out didn’t last the full month of January. It barely covered the first 3 weeks of the year.

We needed to make changes.

A few other clients of mine have difficulties with sugar, alcohol, and weight gain. They’ve told me (separately) that they intend to keep eating and drinking through the holidays and start following a healthful plan in January.

Again, changes seem to be in order.

Food, Alcohol, and Highway Lane Dividers

What if we delayed fixing things in other areas of our lives? Like driving, for example.

No doubt you’ve momentarily driven over the raised lane dividers on the road – the ones that make the tires bump when you move into the next lane. What did you do?

It’s not a trick question. You probably course-corrected immediately and centered yourself back in your lane. It’s the only safe and sane thing to do.

The crazy, self-destructive decision would be to let the car keep moving into the wrong lane until it crashed.

Course Correction Is Everywhere

In other examples, we notice when we’re off course and adjust our steering instantly, literally or figuratively.

All travel – spacecraft, airplanes, sailboats – involves course correction without delay. Entrepreneurs risk failure if they don’t plot a new direction when a business drifts off-course.

Hopefully, healthful eating is a plan you’ll follow for the rest of your life. Forget starting on a Monday, or New Year’s Day, or first thing in the morning. We’re in the middle of the holiday season now. Sugar and alcohol are virtually everywhere.

My only recommendation is to view your health as a lifetime project. Whatever harm you may have done thus far this season, simply stop and course correct. Anytime – and sooner is better. Imagine the wreckage you can prevent if you course correct now, instead of waiting another month or so.

All-or-nothing thinking is a rigid perspective that can get us in trouble if we let it. True flexibility can encompass a few indulgences – as well as getting back on target right away, at the very next meal.