What I Learned From Failure

Good morning, people.

I love the days when Tim does a little work from home.  He makes important phone calls and taps away at his keyboard while I quietly go about my morning routine, which, as this morning would have it, included prepping a beef chuck roast and veggies to dump into the crock pot (a recipe from my new paleo cookbook, Against All Grain), making a quick visit to the chiropractor, doing a few loads of laundry, and whipping up a quick breakfast of poached eggs in marinara sauce over leftover delicata squash rings for us (YUM!) before sitting down to type up a blog post for your leisure-reading pleasure.

A slow-cooker pot roast and poached eggs in (sugar-free) Rao’s Homemade marinara over roasted delicata squash rings?  I must be the queen of the sugar detox, am I right?  Wrong.  Don’t let today’s menu pull the wool over your eyes, my friends – things were not so perfect just days ago.  Let me paint a picture for you…

Four days into the 21DSD (because I’m a cool kid now, I can use the acronym), we had friends visiting from out of town, friends we hadn’t seen in over a month since their wedding in another state, friends who (like us) really enjoy drinking wine and when the four of us get together, well, let’s just say, with all the talking and laughing and losing track of time, we’ve been known to polish off a bottle or… seven.  Luckily, this past weekend, we only made it to six.  While I feel like I held it together somewhat on the food front, passing on dessert and steering clear of starchy carbs, the aftermath of the wine the following day left me not wanting to cook and weak enough to give into the temptation of Sunday afternoon NFL advertising…

Pizza.

Sure it was delicious.  But was it worth the cold sweats, body aches, heartburn, abdominal pain, bloating, intestinal distress, and poor sleep that followed that night?  Or the sore throat and headache in the morning?  No. Freaking. Way. I had to take a cold (and I mean cold) shower that night before going to bed I felt so sick.

So there you have it.  And my reason for sharing this slip-up in today’s post is threefold.

FIRST, to express to the world that I am not perfect, and I’m okay with that.  As a yogi, and a yoga instructor, it is  often  assumed that I must have it all under control, that my life is rainbows and butterflies and that nothing bothers me because I am breathing, I am calm, I am yoga.  Well, that’s just ridiculous.  I NEED YOGA because it helps me stay balanced.  Of course, I would love to be in a yogic state of mind 24/7, but for me, that’s just not realistic (not yet, at least… there’s always room for improvement, which is why it’s called a yoga practice!).  Life is always going to be crazy, some people are always going to drive me crazy, and I’m probably going to get the urge to lay on my horn in (Miami) traffic from time to time.  But having a regular yoga practice helps me to keep my mind clear so that I’m better able to deal with situations as they arise that would normally throw me for a loop.  AND, when I DO get thrown for a loop, I know better than to beat myself up about it – I’m only human, and the only way to treat myself, especially when I’ve experienced what most would consider failure, is with loving care.  So in that aspect, failure teaches me to love myself.

Which brings me to my second point, which is: when I stumble and fall flat on my face, I don’t just lie face down in a puddle of self-loathing and self-pity and misery.  No.  I get up, I brush myself off, and I move forward… maybe just keeping a closer eye on the path and watching out for those potholes… because Lord knows they sneak up on you!  Failure not only teaches us to love and be gentle with ourselves but to learn from the failure itself.  It had been so long since we indulged in pizza, I could only remember how glorious it tasted and had no concept of what it would do to my body after eating a clean diet for so long.  After the way I felt Sunday night and Monday morning, there will be no forgetting!  After I got myself together on Monday, I immediately planned our clean, paleo (sugar-free!) meals for the rest of the week and made a trip to the grocery store to stock up on veggies and protein.  Twenty-four hours later, my crazy flu-like symptoms have subsided and I’m beginning to feel like myself again, not to mention savoring every delicious morsel of clean, nutritious food with which I’m fueling my body and nursing it back to health.  I’m so grateful for the slip-up so that I could be reminded of how amazing a clean diet can make you feel!

THIRD, this weekend also indirectly brought something else up for me, and that is that only I can control what I put into my body.  The same way I choose the clothes I put on in the morning, what I eat is my own decision, and no one else’s.  If it is socially acceptable for a person eating a vegetarian or vegan diet to make special requests at restaurants and to make their diet known to their friends and family so that meals can be enjoyed together as they are meant to be and not become a cause of conflict, then why should it be any different for someone following a paleo diet?  This is the diet on which I feel my absolute best, and, as I am learning in my Nutritional Therapy coursework, the diet we are designed to consume for optimum health! I shouldn’t feel obligated to eat something that I know will make me feel less than my best, and I’m ready to make that commitment… to myself, my family, and my future children.

And, as I expected… it feels so good!

Stay tuned for some recipe reviews… these cookbooks are preeeeetty awesome.

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