I wrote a post yesterday about this being the last week of our Whole30 challenge. I confessed my failure to follow the regimen perfectly and my resolution to see it through to the finish. Just for the sake of finishing.
I referenced a beautiful quote:
Being defeated is often a temporary condition.
Giving up is what makes it permanent.
– Marilyn Vos Savant
I didn’t know why at the time, but I felt sick inside about it. Something felt very wrong.
I realize that something is this:
Being defeated IS often a temporary condition. And giving up IS what makes it permanent.
Except when it DOESN’T.
Because what if that thing you’re trying to accomplish isn’t healthy? Or healthy for YOU? OR healthy for you RIGHT NOW?
Like the runner who pulls up short during a race because she feels THE PAIN.
If you’re an athlete, you know what I mean. Not the good hurt. I mean the BAD PAIN. The “if-I-keep-running-on-this-something-is-REALLY-going-to-be-messed-up” pain.
Some would say it doesn’t matter – you should finish, no matter what.
If finishing THAT particular race is the ultimate goal for you, then yes. By all means, please finish. Even if you injure yourself so badly you can’t run again for a year. Really.
Let’s be clear though: whether from a lifetime of competitive sports or just the all-or-nothing perfectionist in my brain – my brain’s default setting is, “GO BIG OR GO HOME.”
Enter my personal decision to do the Whole30: “I’m doing pretty well with my eating habits, but I could probably eat more veggies, not so much ice cream, and a bit less wine… I KNOW! I’ll do this really extreme Whole30 challenge! GO BIG OR GO HOME.“
What I essentially did was the equivalent of, “I’d like to run a few more miles every week. I KNOW! I’ll train for a MARATHON! GO BIG OR GO HOME.“
Do you see the faulty thinking there? Marathon training will tax you in a completely different way than 5K training. If a 5K is what’s best for you – or at least what’s best for you RIGHT NOW – then jumping into a BIGGER, MORE EXTREME version of that is NOT necessarily the bestER thing.
Marathons are not bad. But a marathon could be an unhealthy choice for you. Or unhealthy for you right now.
In the same way, the Whole30 IS NOT BAD. But it could be an unhealthy choice for me. Or unhealthy for me right now.
Full disclosure: the fact is, when doing something extreme in my diet, my tendency is to get obsessive, anxious, and not super healthy about it. So, it stands to reason that as my anxiety about food is soaring in the stratosphere, when left with the ultimatum, “GO BIG OR GO HOME,” the right choice for me is: GO HOME.
“Go home,” regroup, and determine what is healthiest for me.
Even if the healthiest thing qualifies as “quitting.”
Deciding to “GO BIG,” in this case, undermined the small changes that would’ve been entirely healthy for me right now. Bigger is NOT always better.
Sometimes going “BIG” only serves to crush the “small” thing you were really meant to do.
And this certainly doesn’t just apply to a food challenge.
What are the “small” things you could focus on doing well that get crushed under the weight of “BIG?”