photo courtesy of holistictriathlete.worspress.com
What would convince someone to abandon their comfortable life of couch-sitting, processed foods, and stress? Whilst individuals today may be aware of the fact that they are engaging in a lifestyle which is dangerously detrimental to their health on a multitude of levels, this awareness does not translate to action. So what will get people away from the TV and Twinkies?
It is unmistakably true that one must be intrinsically motivated to maintain a healthy lifestyle, yet how do you build this so-called intrinsic motivation? It appears that this motivation still must be somewhat produced from an external source – perhaps physically twisting someone’s arm, or dragging them by their ears to go for a run, or cunningly sneaking fruits and veggies into their comfort foods might be a first step in convincing someone that making such changes is worth it? Who said physical force was a bad thing? Joking…sort of. The fact remains, you don’t know until you try. So, if you are comfortable in your ways of coach-potatoism and McDonaldization, that is perhaps because you, like most other humans, are creatures of habit, and stick to what they know.
Think about it like this – as a kid, you most likely would not have chosen to eat broccoli for dinner when presented with the choice of a sweet and sugary cookie or a freshly steamed head of broccoli. But someone so graciously forced us to try it, because they were intelligent enough to know it was good for us, and they knew eventually we would learn to eat it, both for its enjoyment and for its long-term benefits, enabling us to feel good, to feel healthy.
And with this, I have come to the realization that our nation needs to be kidnapped, handcuffed and blindfolded in order to be forced, coerced and tricked into engaging in a healthy lifestyle. But I suppose that wouldn’t be allowed. And I suppose it’s quite rash. So what legal and sane options are we left with?
Humans are complex creatures. We are undoubtedly creatures of habit, yet it would be impossible to deny the fact that we also happen to crave change. Abandon your fears of the unknown, fears of failure, and dig deep into the spider-web-infested basement of your mind to harness your innate infatuation with change. All you can do is try. You will not know until you try.
You may think you love the way feasting on intoxicating wine, deliciously fattening cheese and empty-carb-loaded French bread makes you feel after an arduous day of work. But how would you know how instead eating a fresh salad topped with grilled chicken or fresh fish, drizzled with olive oil, after that same day of work might make you feel? Step out of your comfort zone. Or allow someone to coerce you into doing so. Handcuffs really aren’t that bad…right?
Chances are you would most probably agree to let someone pay you for a month if you, in exchange, promised to stick to a healthy fitness and nutrition plan for the entirety of that month. But would you still agree to it if they instead phrased the offer as you participating in a month-long healthy living plan in exchange for tangible physical and mental health benefits? I would unfortunately have to say that you would not feel as inclined to take them up on this offer. I must relinquish my feelings of deep sadness after coming to this conclusion. What this conclusion reveals is two-fold – firstly, your priorities are severely out of order (unsurprising, yet disturbing that money trumps health for many individuals), and secondly, you probably do not believe that you could achieve such benefits (which is why you fear beginning such a program; fear of failure.).
So what is the moral of the story from the crazy fitness foodie lady? Let someone force you to try something new (healthy and new!), and have faith and trust in that you can and will see the results of your diligent work.