When anyone talks about dieting or changing something about the way they eat the first thing that usually comes up is how hard it would be not to eat certain foods. Most nutrition plans have certain things you have to go without or eat sparingly so this is a concern for most people. For me I love breaded chicken strips. Its a little crazy how much I will start to crave them when I just talk about cutting back on calories or carbs. Its a big reason why most people have failed diets at some point in their life. On top of the things you have to go without even if others around you are partaking is adding exercise to your daily life. That means wither getting up earlier or finding time during the day to go to a gym or in my case pop in a workout DVD. The thing is that we are tired, busy and our lives don’t really have a place in them for this change. At least that is what we tell others and ourselves. “Its just too hard to watch other people eat stuff I want to eat and be exhausted from my early morning workout.”
These things are why most people, myself included, have a hard time making such important lifestyle changes even when we know it is what we should do. So I started to think about how to make this aspect of a healthy lifestyle easier to reconcile in my head. I was watching a movie called “Stigmata” and the answer came to me in a scene from the film.
Gabriel Byrne’s character is a priest and he is having a chat in a cafe with Patricia Arquette’s character who is a young beautiful twenty four year old girl. She asks him if he had ever been with a woman and he said “I wasn’t born a priest.” So she asked well then how could he give it up. Didn’t he like it? His reply was what gave me an idea. He said he just traded one set of complications for another. That got me thinking about the things we think are so hard about a healthy lifestyle that prevent us from sticking to it.
Just like trading romantic relationships for a relationship with god and celibacy, trading an unhealthy lifestyle for a fit lifestyle is just trading one set of “hardships” for another set. Think about it. When you are heavy, unhealthy and out of shape you have many things that make life harder. You can’t wear the clothes you want and the clothes you do wear pinch and tighten making you physically uncomfortable. You don’t feel as good about yourself because you maybe don’t look how you feel is your most attractive. Fun activities that involve a lot of physical exertion are not as easy or are impossible. Plus just being unhealthy is risky for future health but also you just don’t feel as well in general. These are hardships. So when you eat crap and aren’t active you are choosing those. But when you are fit and healthy, yes you have to get up earlier to workout and you can’t eat everything you want all of the time, but you get so much in return. You can feel comfortable in your own skin. You physically feel much more energetic and can do so many more things for longer because your body is in shape. You have far less health risks from cancer to heart or kidney health related problems .
The biggest thing I took from this revelation was that both lifestyles have sacrifices that is true but the ones you endure for a healthy life bring you a much better life. The stuff we give up as a result of being out of shape and unhealthy are life experiences and they make our life worse not better. I don’t know if this is a magic bullet to help make the switch easier but for me it was a huge “Ah Ha” moment. What do I want out of life? What am I going to look back on and wish I had more of, pizza or time experiencing the world? That choice in the theory is no brainer but having this direct comparison makes the choice in real life not as hard to make. So yeah maybe pizza and beer on a summer evening is tasty but being able to live life, really live life is much better. I will still have a slip up or cheat day every once in awhile but not eating my sister’s no bake cookies every time she makes them doesn’t seem as hard now that my perspective is headed in a more positive direction.