When reading through our blogs, you’ll probably come across the phrases “off-road excursion” and “AH Road Trip,” but what do those phases really mean? First, it’s important to recognize that they aren’t the same thing. One is a conscious decision to eat a specific food or meal that doesn’t fit in with the AH lifestyle. The other is a decision made in haste or desperation that can often lead to slipping back into your old ways of eating and leave you feeling lethargic and unsatisfied.

Off-Road Excursions

This is a phrase we like to use to describe moments when you are pulled off track unwillingly. This usually happens when life has gotten just a little too stressful or chaotic and you haven’t been prioritizing your body’s needs. In these moments (and more importantly, after they’ve passed), it’s important to remember to leave guilt, shame, and blame at the door. We have all been there. There is no reason to beat yourself up or spend time feeling guilty or defeated.

The best thing to do is simply pick yourself up and know that you can always begin again in the next moment, at the next meal, or even with the next bite. There is never anything stopping you from putting down your sugary off-road excursion and picking up something that will be healthful for your body.

Don’t let off-road excursions drag you back to where you started! Just shake them off and begin anew. But if you do happen to slide down the slippery slope to your old habits, please don’t feel like you have to give up. You will always find support from us and our readers to help you start again.

A restart can mean simply finding your footing again for the next meal or within your daily AH journey. Or, if your excursions have you completely off, you could choose to do a day or two on Phase 1. Ultimately, if you find yourself off-road more often than you’d like, perhaps it’s time for a two-week reset in Phase 1. If you haven’t already, consider joining our active Facebook group. It’s a supportive, welcoming place for moments such as these.

AH Road Trips

These road trips are special moments where you make the conscious choice to eat foods you wouldn’t normally include in your AH journey. These should be freeing moments. You should come to them with the confidence that you will be able to rejoin your AH journey at the next meal. We recommend saving these road trips until you are confident in AH and have been successfully in Phase 2 for a little while. You should also make a plan for getting back on track before you take an AH Road Trip. That way you will always feel in control of your health and lifestyle.

If you need help planning for these types of road trips, check out the If-Then planning section of Always Hungry? pp. 130-132. The template there will guide you through creating plans for conscious choices to get back on track.

Benefits of an AH Road Trip

Usually AH Road Trips are moments when you decide the social aspects of food are more important than strict rules. Feeding your body and feeding your soul almost always coincide, but sometimes a person you love will make something for you that you wouldn’t make for yourself and you choose to eat it with them out of love. For example, if your grandma prepares you a special dish that doesn’t match your current lifestyle, you don’t always have to turn her down. Sometimes it’s good to just enjoy life’s moments as they come, knowing you are still in control and have a plan to get back on track at the next meal.

These road trips are healthy in other ways too, beyond the social and community aspects of food. They test your bandwidth, knowledge, and confidence in yourself and your new way of life. These moments of indulgence and self-control should leave you feeling free and motivated. Food no longer controls your life! You are in complete control and you know that you will be able to get back on track after your road trip.

Of course, it’s always good to make plans that include healthy food choices, and we hope you feel confident to make these choices in most settings. But sometimes, there are certain situations and celebrations that simply have certain foods attached to them. We never want you to feel deprived or disconnected from your community. AH Road Trips are a tool to help keep you on track long-term.