Have you ever heard someone explain that they “fell off the wagon” after a weekend of indulging? Or that they “got back on the wagon” after joining a gym or eating a salad?

The concept of ” the wagon” is derived from a flawed mindset. This mindset assumes that being healthy is a finite thing; hence the invention of a tangible object {the wagon} that we are either on or off depending on our choices. However, like most things in life, it’s not quite as black and white. Instead, it is more of a spectrum, and it looks different for every person.

Understanding this concept is key for maintaining healthy behaviors, for sustainability.

Instead of thinking of yourself as on or off with healthy behaviors, try to turn that on-off switch to more of a dimmer. 

How in the world do you do that?

1.) Stop thinking of yourself as on or off the wagon {because again it doesn’texist}.

2.) Enjoy foods that are considered less healthy occasionally. Make sure these are foods that you really enjoy, not just foods that are available to you at the moment. It’s just food, and it is important to incorporate foods you really enjoy in your diet regularly in order to decrease the feeling of restriction. This is key for creating sustainability.

3.) Think more about the long term. Losing weight is a great goal for some people, but what happens once the weight is off? Once again, if you want to create these healthy behaviors for life, they must be sustainable. This means thinking beyond the achievement of whatever goal you decide is right for you. Why put all the effort and work in your health without intentions of maintaining it?!

So what does this look like IRL?

Here is a picture from one of my Saturday activities. I went kayaking with some friends, and we decided to stop for drinks after at this cute beach bar on the water.

I enjoyed this beer with beautiful scenery, wonderful people, and great conversation.

Would water have been a more healthy option? Duh.

But the beer was the right choice for me at the time. I enjoyed it, and I did not once feel guilty or feel like I “fell off the wagon”.

This is just one example, but it is a pretty accurate representation of how I live my life. I enjoy chocolate and glasses of wine throughout the week. Occasionally, I opt for beer when I go out. But none of this means I was “bad” during the week or fell off the proverbial wagon. They are just examples of my personal sustainable healthy lifestyle.

Some days you may just want to enjoy some pizza with friends. Or you may feel the need to skip the gym and take a long walk instead. Both are perfectly OK. Enjoy the sh*t out of that pizza and embrace every beautiful thing you see on that long walk. They are just decisions for one brief moment in your entire life. They do not define you or make you a bad person.

It is possible to live a healthy life that you love; you just have to create it.