Note: You can sign up for the Clean Eating Boot Camp here, completely free!

I saw that a few people had admitted to “falling off” last week, and I’m just curious – what does “falling off” mean? Does it mean you had a bad meal, so you considered that the green light to just go back to how you were before? Did you “accidentally” stop by a McDonalds on the way home? Those of you who’ve admitted to “falling off,” I’d like to hear what happened. Let’s make that a real discussion in the comments.

Butternut Squash boats with apricots, almonds, parsley and honey

Butternut Squash boats with apricots, almonds, parsley and honey

I’d like to think that the importance of planning has been made clear when it comes to progressing through these weeks. There’s no way to do it as a beginner without planning, because so much of our lives have been made easier by the advent of processed food. If you don’t have to do much more than “set it and forget it” when it comes to dinner, and you’ve gotten used to throwing something in the oven or microwave and being able to go do something else in the meantime, it becomes awfully frustrating to now have to stand over a stove for a half hour. You really have to plan things out, otherwise you go back to what’s familiar and comfortable and doesn’t require you to be on your feet for an additional half hour. I totally get that.

What I really think is happening, is that a lot of people simply aren’t being gentle with themselves. It’s always – always – easy to do something for a couple of weeks, go into it with full blown gusto, and think you’re winning. But, when you start slipping up, what do you do? Throw your hands up and say “Damn it, I quit!” and dive head first into those chips you’d been craving anyway? Or do you say “Dang, I really screwed up today… what happened? Where did I go wrong? How can I fix that, to make sure I don’t make the same mistake twice?” If “being too tired to cook dinner at night” becomes a problem, then you need to become a problem solver. An adamant one, at that. Do you need to find meals that you can cook in ten minutes or less? Do you need to become a boss at prep work, so that your dinners are little more than throwing together pieces in a skillet and seasoning them up? Do you need to start storing and stocking leftovers? Do you need to invest in a slow cooker?

I received so many e-mails from people who have had their metaphorical tails tucked between their legs, feeling bad that they’ve fallen off and ready to attribute their “inability to commit” to some moral failing.

It’s really not always that dramatic, and I want you to let up on yourselves. Seriously.

Though my slip-ups aren’t of the “Oops, I went to McDonalds and ordered half the menu” ilk anymore, I still mess up. I still have to problem solve. And, like children – who we love, adore, give the opportunity to make mistakes, and give time to learn how to do better – I may still mess up even with my problem solving. Why? Because even after you’ve created an almost-fool proof solution, it still takes time to learn to implement it correctly. It’s not “falling off” to me; it’s “learning.”

To those boot campers who cannot relate to this in any way and are breezing through this, share your thoughts on how you’ve made these changes easier for you and your families. Your step, this week, is to take a long hard look at what you’re eating for breakfast. Could you bump up the protein in your morning meal? Could you stand to lose some of the sugar? How are your portions?

To those who may be having a rough time, talk to me about what “falling off” looked like for you, and let’s problem solve together. (Also, pick up this book and check it out.)

If you want to check out the other steps in the boot camp, check ’em out here.

What’s going on?