Heck no. I will not treat plant based eating like a Weight Watchers program. Most days I will fill my belly with vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains. Occasionally, I will eat cheese. Or steak. Or ice cream (even though there are some delish non-dairy options). Those days will just happen to be few and far between because I have found plants to eat that make me feel complete (i.e. satiated/happy). I am not keeping track of silly things like "Dear Journal, Today was a 'cheat' day". I am not a bad person for deviating from my health goals. AND NEITHER ARE YOU.
Here is how to avoid the shame spiral that we have been conditioned to take on a regular basis. Read it aloud while looking in the mirror if you have the opportunity.
1. I am not a bad person. Sometimes I make bad decisions.
2. What is the story I tell myself when I choose to eat poorly on a regular basis? Some examples: "I'm tired." "I worked hard today so I deserve it." "So-and-so was mean to me."
3. I am going to throw out that garbage story. I will not lie to myself.
4. I deserve to eat food that will make me feel good.
5. I am worth the effort it takes to eat well.
6. I will not compare my eating habits to other people's with the intent of making myself feel inferior, superior, or justified in my decisions.
7. I will set my goal and do my best to stick to it. My goal is to eat plant based at ___ percent of my meals.
8. I'm proud of you for taking responsibility of your health.
Virtual hugs! I'm proud of you too. You deserve to feel happy, healthy, and energetic.
My goal is to eat plant based for 80% of my meals. That means animal-free. No dairy, meat, fish, eggs, etc. It took me about 3 months to really make that goal work for me. I love to challenge myself so it felt like a good fit. What goal makes sense for you? Are you pushing yourself too much or not enough? Dig deep to make the best decision for you. Check in about six months later and re-evaluate your goal.