All right, everybody! Welcome to today’s episode of The Work Of Becoming podcast! today, we are gonna do a really fun episode that I’m calling “Vegan Except Pizza.” So, this is inspired by one of the first clients I ever worked with in Alliance Coaching, and this particular client came to me because she wanted to eat in a way that was more empowering to her. She wanted to have healthier behaviors surrounding food.
And so, I asked her what her biggest obstacle was, and she told me that for ethical reasons she was vegan, but on Fridays, her husband and kids always wanted to order pizza. And so, she would always say yes to the pizza despite the fact that she was vegan, and then she had so much mind drama about saying yes to the pizza and getting off her vegan diet that she would just eat whatever she wanted (not vegan) the entire weekend or several days into the next week, only then to reset again, be like, “No, no, no, no, no. I’m vegan,” and then Friday would come around and the same pizza situation would be happening.
The answer that we found when working together was actually quite simple and has a good lesson for all of you, and that is that this particular client, after working with me, we made a rule together that she was vegan except pizza. I know you’re thinking, “Wait, what? That sounds crazy,” but I want to draw your attention back to the story I just told. This client enjoyed being vegan. She enjoyed vegan eating most of the time and, ethically, it felt like the best thing for her. The actual obstacle she was experiencing was not the pizza eating itself. The obstacle she was experiencing was the guilt about the pizza eating. It was the guilt about the pizza eating that was causing her to derail her whole weekend and eat in a way she didn’t want to be eating during that weekend.
And so, I had asked her at one point in a session, I said, “Okay, if you didn’t have any guilt about this pizza, what would your weekend look like?” She said, “Well, I think I would be able to get up and eat my normal kind of vegan breakfast and be mostly vegan for the rest of the weekend and go on with my life.” And I said, “Okay, why are we not just doing that?” She was like, “Well, because I believe if you’re gonna be vegan, you have to be vegan all the time.” This is a sneaky example of all or nothing thinking that I think infiltrates a lot of our food patterns. We’re like, “Oh, I’m gonna eat X diet,” or, “I’m gonna eat in X way,” and as soon as you violate that way, it’s like the whole thing is broken.
But what I want to remind you, and what I reminded this client, is that your diet, the way you eat, doesn’t have to have a name. It doesn’t have to follow a specific protocol. It doesn’t have to be influenced by someone on Instagram. The way you eat can be the most helpful way for you to eat. Part of what we do in coaching is we identify which of your eating patterns are actually helpful, where are the real obstacles (like with this client), and what can we do about those obstacles.
So, this client was like, “Okay, I’m hesitant, but I’ll try it out.” So, she had a Friday night pizza exception. When pizza was ordered by her husband and her kids, she would eat the pizza, and she told her friends as a joke (some of them), she said, “I’m vegan except pizza.” But that became an identity for her over time, and it really helped her develop confidence in her own ability to not follow somebody else’s standards or somebody else’s idea of what veganism looks like, but to create her own idea of a diet and eating pattern that was most helpful for her.
So, that client, I believe to this day, is vegan except pizza. She eats her pizza, she has a great time, she has no guilt about it, and she actually eventually achieved her goal (which was weight loss) eating this way because she was able to incorporate that pizza without guilt.
All of this is to say whether you’re working on your eating patterns or something else, I would encourage you to not let someone else’s arbitrary rules about what can and cannot be included in a protocol infiltrate your own thoughts and your success. That is one of the things that we help with quite a bit in Alliance Coaching is helping you design systems. We don’t give you systems, we give you activities that help you build systems and protocols so that you’re designing a life that feels intentional and authentic to you and is based in your decisions, not flip-flopping around, following what the latest person has told you.
That is what I’ve got for you today. I hope you enjoyed today’s episode. We have one more in our client series, and then we’ll go back to normal broadcasting. But as a last reminder, if you are interested in Alliance Coaching, you have until the end of September to apply, and you’ll be able to get that six-month discount. So, I hope to see some of you working with us in the future! Ta-ta!