A few months ago, I took a couple days off from my exercise routine. I was very busy, not sleeping enough and thought I would sleep later for a couple days instead of working out. That little break lasted over 2 months, and I have been working my way back into the routine for the past couple of weeks.
I’m pretty sure this is not a unique experience. We all make exceptions from our decisions to be healthy from time to time: illness, holiday, busy schedule, change in routine, etc. All it takes is one deviation from our commitment to kick off a cycle of discouragement, self-loathing and addiction.
Why is it so hard to get back on track?
We are more persistent than we expect to be. Each thought, decision, action or inaction we choose, at this moment, ripples throughout our lives and eternity. Most times, decisions that we think of as temporary have much more permanence than we think.
For instance, when faced with a choice between an orange and a candy bar, it may be my intention to eat the candy bar today and the orange tomorrow, but tomorrow, I will be faced with the same choice. Why would I choose differently? I have no control over tomorrow’s choices and can only assume that the choices I make right now will influence those of tomorrow.
Our bodies are amazingly adaptable. This is one of the reasons the human race has been so successful. We can adjust to anything. Every time we choose a bag of potato chips over fresh vegetables, our bodies adjust in favor of potato chips. Every moment we sit on a soft, squishy couch, the more our bodies resemble that couch and the more comfortable it becomes. I’m not suggesting avoiding soft, squishy furniture, but when the couch (bed, etc.) is chosen in lieu of a workout, it becomes more comfortable, and tomorrow’s workout is going to be that much more difficult.
Turning it around
The reverse is also true. The more physically active we are, the easier it is to maintain physical activity and the more we will feel the need to get up and run around. The more fresh fruits and vegetables we eat, the more we will crave them. If you can’t bare the thought of giving up excessive pasta and chocolate, know that the difficulty will minimize over time if, in this moment, you make healthy choices.
This moment, I ask myself these questions:
- Do I want to be temporarily comforted by laziness or gratified by the fact that I’m moving toward my goal?
- Do I want to be temporarily comforted by unhealthy food or gratified by my decision to respect myself and my body?
Making Peace with Our Bodies
This article is the third in a series about making peace with our bodies. Click below to continue reading:
- Part 1: Motivation for Physical Self Care
- Part 2: Obstacles to Maintaining Physical Health
- Part 3: Overcoming Exceptions that Kill (currently reading)
- Part 4: Overcoming Discouragement
- Part 5: Overcoming Procrastination