I have a lot of patients who profess to have developed positive lifestyle habits vs moments of health pursuit. The difference, is a daily commitment that transcends effort to be committed. A good example, I don’t think about going to work out, I just do it. I enjoy it immensely, and it is odd for me to take a day without it (like today), and I actually think more about it if I don’t. But to go do it, is simply part of living… lifestyle habit.
Diet is a harder one. We obviously are tempted at many times in our day, and that temptation is much more a part of marketing than the temptation not to exercise (though that is marketed to you as well… TV, technology, other sitting around activities). I think it is harder to manage our diets on a lifestyle level, simply because we use the poor diet as a social excuse. “Well what could I eat, I had nothing, I was at a party, etc.” I hear this more times in a day than you would imagine, and the reality is that if I am 80/20 (80% good, 20% bad), then it doesn’t matter where I am. If it is time to eat healthy, I simply won’t eat.
And that is a good one to consider. Over the years I have had so many people tell me it is too expensive to eat healthy. Then you should consider trying to eat like my typical week. It isn’t expensive unless I choose to make it. What I mean is, I will go three days a week that look more like a fast than a diet. If you are drinking water, and eating spinach and kale, with some almond butter. You can get through a day on about $5 or less. And many could stand to hold this diet for 6 months and gain a lot from the leveling of blood sugar and hormones.
Indeed at some point I will want you to open up those food lists a little and reach into broad diversity, but to build the habits of a lifestyle that will forever change your life for the better, how could that not be worth it? So now that we have laid the background of value, and why positives can be achieved in the face of difficulty, lets delve into this whole “I am committed/or am I” thought process.
What I have found over the decade and a half that I have been teaching wellness, is that you can best test someone’s resolve for lifestyle choices, over two separate “times” in their life. The first, and typically most successful at derailing people, is the vacation. And the second, and more devastating to the average person, but not quite so bad to someone committed to health, are the holidays. Have you ever used this excuses yourself:
Well, I haven’t worked out in awhile because of the holidays.
We have been eating just so awful because of the holidays.
I have been so stressed because of the holidays.
I’ll get back on track after the holidays (usually used by people who are never on track for more than two weeks at a time).
Self examination is an important thing. I don’t want you to self implicate, or deprecate. You don’t need to use guilt, as guilt rarely produces results. You need to simply be aware of where you are with your lifestyle. Be confident in what you do right, but don’t sugar coat what you do wrong. You are so much better off if you see your lifestyle faults for what they are, how else will you partner with the right people, organizations, programs to improve, if you don’t first see the truth for yourself.
So, if your lifestyle, isn’t where you like to think it is, then make a change. Pick one thing to improve. Don’t say you don’t drink soda, if you still have one a every week. If you choose to not be caffeine addicted, be sure that you aren’t. Move in the direction of better choices, but make commitments along the way. If exercise is your new lifestyle, start living it. If you can’t get to the gym, do it at home. If you cannot do what you had hoped, do 50 burpees. Just make it happen, regardless.
I love Christmas, more than Thanksgiving which I love a ton! My wife has her birthday on Christmas day, it is an awesome time at my house. I pray you will enjoy it the same, but I pray that you won’t lose sight of what will help you to celebrate more Christmases for years to come. Be well and Be Blessed! – Dr. E