As I have focused some this week on a few ideas to help you transition from a dieting to a lifestyle mindset, I realized there is a fundamental piece I have not touched on. I strongly argue that dieting is full of excuses and “I really don’t want to do this.” It is also polluted with “shoulds.” A lifestyle is something YOU WANT to do and something YOU WANT to be. Let me share an experience to help with this…
Typically, when someone is dieting they only go out to exercise to count how many calories they burned so they can plan on eating a certain amount and seeing the correct number on the scale. That is such a burdensome outlook on health. This supports my argument that dieting is harmful. They change the way we look at health, fitness, joy, and quality of life. Not to mention they really don’t do too much good for our body. Anyway, the problem that concerns me with a dieting mentality is excuses. For example, the second someone starts to feel sick they don’t do their exercise. Or, the moment they feel down they eat/drink a bunch of garbage. A lifestyle mentality is totally different…
I am currently training for the Bear 100, a 100 mile endurance run through the mountains. In order to do this I am training relatively hard right now. I was scheduled to do a decent run this morning but last night I ate something that gave me food poisoning. I will spare you the details of the night but it was many hours in the bathroom. The hour came for me to start my run (about 4am) and it was impossible for me to even get my shoes on without feeling the urge to vomit. I was discouraged as I was looking forward to a nice run. Instead of throwing the towel in for the day, I simply told myself I would get moving and have a good morning with the family and then attempt the run in the afternoon.
I knew I was not going to be anywhere close to 100% by the afternoon, but I realized that I WANTED to get out and run. The trick to not making an excuse and instead finding a reason to continue forward with goals when not feeling the best is finding all the reasons why I will be better off for doing it. Not focusing on why I should do it or why I shouldn’t do it. So, I mentally rehearsed the fact that in a 100 mile race, one feels nausea several times and cannot simply quit because of a yucky tummy. My thinking then turned to what a great opportunity I had to go out and really feel it!
Yes, it was not very fast. Yes, it involved a stop about every 15 minutes. Yes, I felt a bit miserable. This being said, I feel much better this evening knowing I did what I wanted and not even a super crappy stomach stopped me. I could have quickly made an excuse, trust me they were consuming my thoughts. However, the moment when I start with the excuses is the moment I know I have slipped away from a lifestyle mentality!
I recognize that not everyone is training for a 100 mile race, and sometimes you really cannot exercise. The point is that there is a difference between “having to” live healthy and “wanting to” live healthy, and life is sweet when you figured out how to want it
To good digestion!
-Dr. Drew Brazier