Too many people hold their health and weight aspirations hostage to their tongue! Very simply this is the reason for the obesity epidemic – eating has become a pleasure.
Choosing to only eat foods that we enjoy eating makes it so much harder to achieve our health and weight goals. The same is true for exercise. Many people will only partake in activity that they enjoy doing and think it completely reasonable that not enjoying something is a valid reason for not doing it.
The fact is, it is an excuse and it limits our options. When we have an outcome we want to achieve we need as many options as possible. If we are serious about achieving our goal then we will choose the food and exercise options that will give us the best chance of success not enjoyment.
Sure there will come a time when we will have the luxury of choosing pleasure over pain or discomfort. But like retirement we will need to work hard to get there and have a plan in place to stay there.
If we think of any achievement we are proud of in our life I can guarantee that it took some hard work and discomfort to achieve. Weight loss is no different. It is not about enjoyment and it is not about making comfort your outcome!
The good news is that the more we do something the more we will grow to tolerate it. Now we don’t have to love it! Initially we will likely not even like it but we will begin to appreciate it for what it gives us outside of comfort or pleasure.
Running is a good example. It’s boring, hard work and can be uncomfortable but as an exercise option for weight loss you simply cannot beat it when you consider its accessibility and impact on calories and fitness. You may never enjoy running but you may come to appreciate the feeling of alertness you get afterwards, the views that you take in along your route, the chance to spend some time alone time thinking about the day or the resultant weight loss and boost to your fitness.
When it comes to food it's easy just to say we don’t like a food because of the taste but if we dig a little deeper often we will find it’s not the taste at all. The slimy texture of a tomato, the appearance of tinned tuna, the smell of cheese or the thought of eating liver can put many people off rather than the actual taste. Many people who dislike certain foods have never even tasted it.
When we know what it is about a food that puts us off it then we can do something about it and it can be easier to tolerate. For example you don’t like the texture of tomatoes so have you tried cherry tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato chutney or sundried tomatoes? How about the taste of broccoli? We could finely chop it to just eat the florets in a salad, drizzle a low fat cheese sauce over it, or the all-time taste buster – chop it up small and mix it in with lots of other stronger tasting foods.
The key is to have a growth mindset. Look for reasons to enjoy that exercise we hate or the food we despise. Be creative and we can find SOMETHING that we appreciate as a result from doing the activity or eating the food and focus on that. Try taking an optimists approach to food and exercise and hold onto that in the forefront of your mind.
As discussed there are things you can do to make something more tolerable but the biggest change you can make is to not expect all your food or exercise to give you pleasure.
When it comes to health and weight, food and exercise has a purpose. Focus on how your choices impact on the result you are searching for: health, happiness, achieving your dreams.
If you can do that you will afford for yourself the luxury in the future, that fun exercise and delicious food is.
Now is not the time to play for fun.
Play to win.