The "Starting Monday" Mentality
Growing up, I can remember countless times where if it wasn't myself, either one of my family members or friends would say "starting Monday I am going to eat healthy and exercise." What did that mean? It mean't that until Monday it would be a "eat until your heart stops" food frenzy and a "hate yourself for everything" mentality.
This way of thinking about health was very addictive. It had the lure of rebellion (eat terribly, feel terrible) meets obedience (eat perfectly, feel perfect). It gave way to the opportunity for gluttony (eat all the foods considered bad), and then allowed for a subsequent cleansing and removal of all foods other than those that were on the "clean list."
In reflection, what I find interesting is how many "starting Mondays" I experienced. How many times I repeated the same behaviour and belief that Monday represented change, and that anything prior to Monday mean't I was going to be "unhealthy" and make myself feel as shitty as possible.
The reality is that the "starting Monday" mentality doesn't just apply to Mondays. In fact, you can probably think of a time that it applied to one of the following for you "starting this new year," "starting after my birthday," "starting once I get back from vacation," "starting once the kids go back to school," "starting once I leave my job," "starting once I get a gym membership" - you get the idea.
The point I am getting at is not that today is the day to start "eating clean" and to stop delaying and making excuses - definitely not. The point is that the "starting Monday" mentality infers that we are doing something wrong, and until we do it right, we might as well fall way off the bandwagon and punish ourselves for it.
The antidote to the starting Monday mentality? To stop believing that if you don't follow a strict regime that you have failed and ultimately need to wait until a certain day to feel better. To stop thinking that there is an all-or-nothing to food and that if it isn't perfect then you are unhealthy and unsuccessful. And finally, to stop measuring health based on days of the week, or times of the year, but to go by moment to moment.
So if it is a Friday, and you go out for drinks with your friends, and you eat pizza after the bar and you had just made a promise to yourself to go gluten-free for the next 3 months - don't freak out. Don't "wait until Monday" to make it all go away. Appreciate that god damn pizza for what it was - a delicious drunken snack of goodness. Just sit with the reality of your pizza indulgence, don't freak out, and definitely don't promise yourself you will never eat pizza again, cause you probably will and that is okay.
I am all for goals, for dreams, for trying new ways of living, but not so much for making arbitrary decisions based off what we have been told is right or wrong for when and how. Fit in some self-caring today, (or if preferred, just don't care), and don't wait until the clock ticks 12:00 am on Monday for the change you are looking for. Take it easy and implement a little something everyday, and I believe you will never have to say to yourself "starting Monday" again. Hallelujah.