Do you ever feel like just throwing in the towel? Do you ever feel you are just fed up and tired of running through the motions every day to keep yourself fit and trim? Meal prep, exercising, counting calories, logging meals, dodging food, craving junk, mood swings, supplements, bro science, real science, competitions, a one track mind, and the same old stories…
Do you look at your not-so-fitness-oriented friends and think, “I wish I could be like that.? Not fat, not skinny, but not a fitness model or bodybuilder; just a normal happy person, enjoying life without the constraints of a fitness conscious lifestyle. You may think to yourself, sure, the benefits of a healthy lifestyle far outweigh the benefits of the other in the long run, but unless you are a smoker, drug addict, alcoholic, or morbidly obese, are these benefits even quantifiable?
Countless studies and evidence exists to suggest that eating THIS has been shown to lower cholesterol, and eating THAT will facilitate heart disease. Doing THIS for ten minutes a day will lower your chances of cancer by X%, but doing THAT will increase your chances of cancer by X%. Where do these numbers come from? Who here knows somebody that has been smoking since they were 13 and are still active and “healthy? (let’s say cancer free) in their 60s? Who here knows somebody that only eats a home cooked meal 2-3 times a week and maintains a slim physique and displays no adverse health reactions? I know what you are thinking; you may not see it but the problem is there. This may be so – in fact, I’m positive it is. I’m not here to argue that point or suggest that common health advisories are governmental propaganda. I’m just saying, it seems so easy for others, but I don’t want to take a gamble with the hope that I will be the exception to rule and will dodge the proven ills of poor and unhealthy decisions.
There will always be the exception to the rule because the human body is resilient. Everybody is different and every body is different. I once saw a bumper sticker that read, “If you live like there is no God, you better hope you’re right.? The same applies to fitness and a healthy lifestyle. If you live like there are no consequences to your actions, you better hope you’re right. Whenever I get tired of the rat race, I have to remind myself that I am not living a lifestyle based on a hope, belief or theory, but a lifestyle based on fact, science, and the undeniable truths of the human condition. This is why I (we) do what we do.
There was a time when eating “clean? was just called eating. There was a time when the average person was active enough in their daily lives that exercise was not an important factor. As we evolved, progressed, and simplified (complicated) our lives, we slowly became more reliant on the items that could make our lives easier. Chemicals, genetically modified food, synthetics, technology, lowered quality standards, fillers, substitutes, and magic pills – all contributing to the creation of a new breed of human. We are essentially the product of our environment. We learn what we live and we live what we learn.
It is hard to unlearn something. You can’t reasonably expect yourself to just read a book, do some research, and all of a sudden make the decision to do the complete opposite of what you have been doing – and more importantly, what you have grown up doing. Unless you are a stubborn 150 year old recluse, you have been tainted by the goods, conveniences, luxuries, delicacies, and general lifestyle of the modern world. Having enjoyed all of these wonderful things, the food in particular, I dare you to never experience it again. Don’t eat a donut ever again. No more French fries. Forget about your candy bar. This is why our lifestyle is so hard. We have been exposed to the real world. You would never crave a donut if you had never experienced one. Believe it or not, I have seen young children that eat vegetables without debate. Why? Because in the limited time they have been alive, they have been guarded from the alternatives – fries, candy, fats, etc. You can’t miss what you don’t know, but you can’t forget what you have grown to love.
I am not working towards a conclusion that supports and defends poor lifestyle choices. We are adults, and as such we have the power to make our own decisions. It is easy to watch a TV special that follows the life and struggles of an 800 pound bed-ridden 25 year-old and make harsh judgments. There is no denying that such a person has made horrible and preventable health choices. But after taking the above into consideration, is it any wonder why?
I’m of the opinion that everything is addictive. Food, drugs, video games, sex, alcohol, pornography, money, exercising. Addiction is a disease, a disease that drives one to perform any number of poor and misguided decisions with total disregard for themselves and those around them. Drug and alcohol addicts are treated by being taken away from the addicting stimulus. How do you cure a (junk) food addict? Unlike with food, there is no corner crack store or billboard advertisements for the best place to get Crack in the Midwest. Reference my earlier article, Hold Out Your Hand for a more detailed explanation.
So here we are; like-minded individuals with a passion for fitness and the desire to live long and healthy lives. Are we any different from those who have not made the same commitment? No. Are we stronger than those that are yet or unwilling to make the same commitment. No. You cannot gauge strength, perseverance, or drive by the level of success that one attains.
Look at it this way – if you are reading this you have most likely already taken that step towards the commitment to a healthy lifestyle. Amidst all of the temptation and adversity in the world, you have decided (or at least want to) that you are not going to be a statistic and you are going to make some positive changes. Whether it is deciding to walk to work, pack a lunch, workout, ditch instant meals, or limit fast food, you are on the right track. So if you have thought about throwing in the towel, it only means one thing in my eyes – you are doing something right!
Do we all want to quit sometimes? Yes. Are we failures if we experience a moment of weakness? No. You can only fail if you never try, and not succeeding is NOT failure. It’s a tough world out there and what we do is no easy task. Don’t feel down and don’t beat yourself up if you fall of the wagon from time to time; we all do. It’s not your fault.
Hang in there.