Living a plant-based lifestyle certainly can have its challenges, and I found myself faced with some of my biggest challenges over this past week being face-to-face with old habits and emotions. While the group did their best to include me by keeping meat and dairy on the side when possible, not everyone in the group embraces vegetables and other whole plant-based foods, so I was left on my own to separately prepare my own meals. Plus I had to keep my own separate supply of food on hand. Sometimes I had to wait until I could get access to cooking equipment because otherwise I was in the way of those preparing meals for the group and sometimes it just took me longer to prepare what I was making. There were even times I ended up sitting down to my meal as everyone else was finishing up and ready to leave the table. It would have been so much easier for me to just let it all go and eat whatever everyone else was eating!
Most things in life that are important come with challenges, and with every challenge comes the choice of what to do about that challenge, either give in or face up to it. And the choice that you make depends on how badly you want what’s on the other side of that challenge. For me, it’s pretty clear. I want to do everything in my power to prevent rather than treat any chronic degenerative disease, and someday die of natural causes rather than complications from a chronic degenerative disease. I want to have my health and vitality. I want to stay active until I drop. I value my health, because without my health, the rest is meaningless. So when I feel like giving in to the foods all around me, all I have to do is think about how much fun I’m having water skiing, paddling up-river in my kayak or on a paddle board, swimming, running, and playing with kids and dogs, plus the fact that I feel invigorated from all that activity, rather than worn out. I also notice how energized and alert I feel after eating while others are in their food comas. I remember that what looks and smells good won’t taste good to me anymore and will make me feel horrible. And I love knowing that even though I’m eating as much, if not more food than everyone else, I’m not going to weigh more when I get home. Thinking about those things reinforces my commitment to my whole plant-based lifestyle every single time!
In addition to having a commitment to this lifestyle, I showed up with a plan to help me stay strong. In my case, I planned all my meals and snacks in advance, and I brought what I needed to be able to stick with my plan. I didn’t allow myself to be in a position of having no healthy choices.
Whatever your challenges are, whether it’s living a whole plant-based lifestyle or something else, reality hits at some point, and usually more than once! The keys to successfully facing your challenges when reality hits are to remember your “why” (why this is important to you), have a plan, and stick with your plan.