Home Clean Eating Boot Camp 2013 Clean Eating Boot Camp: What Does It Mean To “Fall Off?” Step 14

Clean Eating Boot Camp: What Does It Mean To “Fall Off?” Step 14

by Erika Nicole Kendall

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?

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victoria April 15, 2013 - 12:43 PM

I need to up the protein. I was eating turkey bacon with my oatmeal (1/2 serving of oatmeal with hemp seeds and chia seeds) but I nixed the bacon a few weeks ago. Lately I’ve had a mango with my oatmeal. I’ll try to eat a full serving of oatmeal and see what happens. I’ve had a hard time eating a full serving of oatmeal in the past but my oatmeal prep skills have improved greatly lol.

Black Beauty on a Budget April 15, 2013 - 4:16 PM

Someone shared an amazing analogy with me, and it has helped me when I “fall off”… Let me backtrack… In my estimation, to fall off implies that you failed to adhere to the steps necessary to complete your endeavor… That said, many of us take this fall as a sign of defeat rather than a moment for pause, reassessment, and renewed dedication [pretty much what Erika said]… I used to be that person… Which brings me back to the analogy… When a young child learns to walk, it will fall many times… Can you imagine if a baby fell once or twice and decided, “well geesh I guess walking isn’t for me”?!… We’d a still be crawling!!… We need to apply the same level of get-back-up-and-try sticktoittiveness that babies do… They fall a lot when they first try to walk, then they fall less but still fall, then they walk more than fall but are still shaky, then one day they toddle along with ease, and eventually even run… Through the years they will continue to fall here and there, but they master their limbs well enough to amble on with confidence… We need to persevere as babies, and know we will follow that same timeline… Just as a baby has to learn to hold on to things to steady themselves, we must learn to metaphorically hold on to something also… Babies will learn certain things are “fall triggers” [ie stepping on a toy] and we must identify things that will lead to a certain tumble too… I can go on and on with the analogy… But I say all that to say, new behaviors are never easy… We all fall, but it happens less and less u til one day we can’t remember the last time… In the infamous words of Mr. Willie Jones, “GET UP CRAIG!!”… Lmbo

Black Beauty on a Budget April 15, 2013 - 4:18 PM

So many typos… Forgive me…

Erika Nicole Kendall April 15, 2013 - 4:29 PM

LMAO If EYE can typo and no one throws shade, so can you. LOL

Jim April 15, 2013 - 10:23 PM

Love this article. My wife really gets down on herself when she “falls off.” We are both vegetarians and health conscious. I never get upset and even work into my lifestyle some detoxing because their is certain foods that I KNOW I am going to eat from time to time. You are right about being gentle with ourselves. Love the blob:-)

kiesh April 16, 2013 - 9:52 AM

For me planning and prep work are key. I tend to chop up my veggies/fruit and bag them up on the weekend so that I can do quick meals or grab-n-go during the week. There are just going to be days when I just don’t feel like cooking so I make bigger meals on the weekends and save the leftovers for those lazy week nights.

felicityrhode April 16, 2013 - 4:27 PM

I can’t say that I’ve “fallen off” because I still keep a close eye on what I eat and I still have been working out pretty consistently, but I know that I have eaten out quite a few times. It is just so hard to let go of the restaurant experience… I have so much fun hanging with my friends, lol. So I don’t think that I’ve fallen off, but that is definitely one obstacle that I am trying to overcome.

Tes April 21, 2013 - 12:29 PM

I too feel like a hermit in that I don’t get to go out very often and have the restaurant experience. I know I can order a salad or some hummus or something, but, I feel that is excessive most of the times. Plus I end up putting myself into trigger situations were I sometimes eating something that is NOT part of my plan. I have lost 20 lbs so far and have had to identify many triggers and let them go. (One I am hating to let go. Lord help me to let it go.) I would rather conquer this food addiction than hold on to anymore of my trigger foods, situations and habits. I shall overcome this … we all shall overcome this is my prayer and hope.

Ashleigh April 16, 2013 - 6:41 PM

It’s been tough for me because of exactly what you said here: lack of planning. Which has always been a weak point for me anyway–I’m more of a go-with-the-flow-i-don’t-like-routine type of person so planning just rubs me the wrong way. That’s an excuse though and I need to work on solving the problem instead of just letting the excuse give me an out.
I will say that I’m making progress in terms of simply thinking about what I’m eating more. I used to get hungry–dump something in and keep it moving. Now I ask myself “Could this be healthier/cleaner?” “Am I hungry or when’s the last time I had some water?” “Am I hungry or am I using food for something other than nourishment?”
I spend more time in the produce section looking at vegetables I never gave the time of day before. I may not pick them up yet but still–I used to bypass the whole produce section unless I needed some onions or garlic.
I got back on MyFitnessPal to start logging my food and realized I’m a perfectionist. If I can’t find the exact measurement or something to log my food, I get frustrated. I need to stop letting perfection be the enemy of the good. I will say exercising has helped me feel less deprived because MFP gives me extra calories that I can’t even eat up all the time–especially if I stay away from fast food & sugary/alcoholic drinks.
I stopped reading Mindless Eating for Les Miserables but I’m not a monogamous reader so I’m sure I’ll dive back into it soon.
Oh and I finally made the switch from white rice to brown rice. We’ll learn to love it I’m sure.
I’m trying not to be too hard on myself and just slowly make the changes but at the same time make sure I’m not being too easy on myself; letting myself take the easy way out since I’m “easing” into it. It’s tough to find the balance sometimes.

Erika Nicole Kendall April 16, 2013 - 7:57 PM

LMAO @ “Mindless Eating for Les Miserables”!!

Was it THAT bad, mama? Or was it overwhelming? Can we talk about this? LOLOL

Ashleigh April 17, 2013 - 9:50 AM

ROFL!!! I just realized how that sounded! I can’t handle the truth!!!!
Seriously though, I was in the midst of reading Les Mis but that’s a long tortuous story so I started reading Mindless Eating. Now, I switch between the two whenever I get bored or need something different.

Bre April 18, 2013 - 12:17 AM

I’ve kinda fell off, kinda haven’t. I keep on starting/stopping with my food diary, but on the days when I eat unhealthy food after unhealthy food, I realize that it would be helpful to notice exactly what pattern I am playing out. I finally got a new job, so I will be out of this pizza joint very soon (MUCH less temptation going on in my life). I finally went to the gym I’ve had a membership at for FOUR months for the FIRST TIME yesterday, and I got on the treadmill for about 20 min. The planning part of all of this is overwhelming for me though.

Chelly April 19, 2013 - 11:51 AM

My “fall-off” story is similar to the other ladies. My funding is very tight because I made it my goal to use every extra dollar to pay off debt ( All of my credit card debt will be paid and out of my life by 5 p.m. CT today. YAY!) Due to my strict budgeting I was following your $50 Challenge: https://blackgirlsguidetoweightloss.com/recipes/qa-wednesday-the-50-dollar-challenge/
It’s an excellent plan and a good boost forward but after awhile I got a little bored with it. Anytime I would try to adjust it or add a new recipe to the menu I went way over budget. In addition to that life got busy, I stopped planning and stopped walking in the mornings. Now I’m way off track. 🙁
Would you be able to provide more $50 a week meal ideas or let us know where we can find more ideas?

Anitra April 21, 2013 - 12:10 PM


I’ve found that I “fall off” in the middle of the week. It seems that the first gym day I miss is hard to get back on track. Also, my challenge is that my mom is a baker and some of the deserts are made at our home where she also tends to make extra. I guess I have to stop being a weak link and clear my mind!

Wishing you all much success in the journey to a new life style!

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