Thanksgiving is four days away. But I want to tell you today, right now, that if you have a piece of pumpkin pie, you didn’t blow it.
If you lick the batter of the pumpkin pie while you’re making the pumpkin pie, you didn’t blow it.
If you have mashed potatoes and gravy and stuffing and several helpings of each, you didn’t blow it.
I often have clients who don't even want to meet to talk about nutrition this time of year because "I've been bad. I've been awful."
No. You haven't been bad. And you haven't been awful.
You've been human. Human, okay?
What you may have done though, is decided that after one or two cheat meals and a few missed days at the gym, you've completely screwed up all of your goals.
No. No you haven't.
The only way you blow up your nutrition or exercise routine is when you give it away. When I coached softball a few years back, our team struggled for wins and had plenty of games where the score was out of hand. And the only thing I asked of my players in those games was to give nothing away.
You know what the hardest thing to do is in moments like those?
Give a shit. (Sorry mom, I said shit. Again.)
It is so tough to drag the bat up to the plate and swing like you care because when you’re losing 18-0 in the third inning, even a home run is just a drop in the bucket. So what does your at-bat and your effort even mean in those situations?
You caring means everything. You caring enough to try matters. In that situation, your effort matters to your teammates, to your coach, and to you. That at-bat matters because you matter. Because we don't play sports and love sports for championships and play-off wins. We play and love sports for the moments.
And your fitness and nutrition journey is no different.
What matters is you giving up. When you decide that because you ate something that was not on your plan, you should chuck the entire plan. When you judge yourself so hard because you “slipped up.”
When you decide that you can’t stick to anything, that nothing will ever work, that you might as well not even try because you ate something that wasn’t on your nutrition plan. Or because you missed one workout.
Researchers actually named this the what the hell effect. You got up and had a cookie for breakfast and decided that the day was lost. So you might as well do fast food for lunch and pizza for dinner and start again tomorrow.
So today I challenge you.
That eating a donut for breakfast when your in-laws brought donuts doesn’t mean your day is blown.
That missing the gym for the past three weeks in November doesn't mean you have to wait until December. Or January. Or even Monday.
And eating a piece of pie - even eating a whole pie - does not make you a bad person.
Let me say that again.
You are not a bad person if you have a meal that doesn't meet the nutrition goals you outlined with your coach. Or in your head.
Please hear me when I tell you that you are not a bad person.
This is my favorite quote:
"It is never too late to become what you might have been." - George Elliot
It's not too late. You're not a bad person. You can do this.
But what you can't do is throw in the towel. (In Pittsburgh we wave our towels, we don't throw them.) Don't give up on you. A donut for breakfast does not mean you start again tomorrow. It means that you had a donut for breakfast.
Believe in yourself. And believe that one or two or five decisions doesn't define you. Ok?