Prior to the previous issue of JLBC and my humble rant regarding the lack of communal focus on health and exercise, we started to consider the excuses we tell ourselves that prevent us from becoming the people we can indeed become. We discussed having a lack of time and a lack of support as two reasons why it’s sometimes difficult to reach our health and fitness goals. This week, I’d like to examine another common excuse, and see if we can’t, instead, use it as a tool to help us achieve our objectives.
Pizza day at work? Your co-worker decides to treat the whole office to the leftovers from their weekend birthday party? Your spouse believes that always keeping packets of cookies on hand in the house is vital, just in case there’s a blackout? Here in the affluent west, we’re all surrounded by a continual barrage of alluring unhealthy indulgences. It’s so easy to make unwise choices, especially when everyone around us makes those same poor choices. So how can we fight the tide? How can we muster the self-control and discipline to “choose life”?
First of all, once you’ve made the healthy decision to make healthier decisions, and have stocked up on more nutritious alternatives, make a clean sweep of your kitchen and pantry (and anywhere else you may have a “stash”). All you need to do after that is stop walking down the cookie aisle in the supermarket. Does that mean you’ll never eat another cookie or piece of cake again? No, of course not, nor should it be, and we’ll discuss more about that in a subsequent issue. For now, however, simply know that it’s far more challenging to make better food choices when familiar temptations continue to be so readily available.
One of the biggest excuses I hear regarding people’s “questionable” food choices is “there was nothing else to eat,” especially if you’re in unfamiliar surroundings. Well, that’s easy enough to change: Think ahead. Always think ahead, always have healthful foods with you, or, at the very least, healthier alternatives to the more deleterious enticements we’re all inevitably faced with from time to time. Don’t wait until you’re hungry before wondering what there is to eat; inevitably, the only foods that are easily obtainable in those pivotal instances are not ideal, to say the least. Instead, plan ahead and prevent the “surprise” of “having” to have an unhealthy snack. I suggest preparing your meals in advance, several at a time in separate containers that you can grab from the fridge whenever you need them. Before you go out, even if you’re not hungry at that moment, grab an apple or a handful of nuts for later, just in case there aren’t any healthy alternatives at your destination.
Finally, learn to say “no”; don’t give in to social or familial pressure. Admittedly, we’re all affected by foods differently, so ultimately, you must make the right choices for your own body. For some people, though, sugar and fat can feel just as addictive as drugs, a fact that is sometimes difficult to comprehend by those people who don’t share those same intense cravings.
At the end of the day, then, only you can control what goes into your mouth; it is only your own reflection with which you must contend. Remember, you are stronger than that piece of cake.
Chemmie Sokolic is an ACSM-certified Personal Trainer, and owner of Frum & Fit LLC. Chemmie can be reached at chemmie.sokolic_frumandfit.com. Visit www.FrumandFit.com or www.Facebook.com/FrumandFit for more information.
By Chemmie Sokolic