Lies. That's the answer. If we made choices based on the truth, our daily practices would absolutely include healthy eating and exercise.
We would not be ruled by fear-based statements such as, I don't have time, or what difference will it make.
One of the lies with the most power over us, that keeps us out of fitness, is the all or nothing lie. It says:
- I must work out an hour at a time
- I must work out every day
- I must work out at maximum capacity
- I must lose a pound a week, two pounds a week, to be succeeding
- I must eat clean to make exercising worthwhile
- If I start exercising, I must diet too
- One day a week is pointless
- One walk is meaningless
- If I can't commit to the total lifestyle, I can't commit at all
These are not true! I have seen people give up on themselves, because they weren't doing enough. But the way I saw it, they were doing something! Isn't that a victory? Isn't that worth celebrating?
We never know when that step becomes another, then another, then another.
The most frustrating, stuck place is to be standing still, wheels turning and turning, trying to figure out how to pole vault to fitness in one huge move. It doesn't work. Meanwhile, the person taking the slow, small, steady steps is actually getting somewhere!
Try it. Get up from computer or take your phone with you. Stand on one side of the room. Now jump to the other side. One step only! Did you get there?
OK, now walk across. Small, slow, steady steps. Look at that!
The truth is:
- There is no day but today - today's choices are all that matter
- You can get a mile in and have an amazing workout (10-15 minutes)
- You can start with one workout
- You can work out and not change your food
- You can start with once a week and add a workout when you're ready
- You can make small changes and take slow steps
- You do not have to be losing weight to be succeeding
- Every single workout matters
- Every workout has the power to inspire you, fill your bucket, grow your confidence
- You can work out at an appropriate intensity for you and your life
- You should not be in pain and you should not be completely wiped out
Don't let the all or nothing lie stop you from getting healthier and taking steps in a new direction. You are allowed to go at your own pace. If you start working out and someone gives you crap about eating a cookie or whatever, remind yourself you are taking it one step at a time, one day at a time.
I remember when I first started working out at the Norfolk YMCA, I would finish my walk and smoke a cigarette on my way to the car. I know I took crap for that! But I'm really glad I didn't let it stop me or discourage me. Each of those walks I took was building me up just a little more. I couldn't see it at the time, but I see it looking back. I needed those walks to quit smoking. I needed to quit smoking to start lifting. I needed to start lifting to take responsibility for my food choices. And all that happened over a span of years!
I'm so glad I didn't quit. I'm so glad I showed up for each and every walk, run, yoga class, training session. They all made a difference. They all mattered. Once a month, once a week, once a day. Whatever. They formed the path that I can only see in the rear view mirror. My small, slow, steady steps out of a life of self-destruction and into a life of self-care, love and peace of mind.
That's the truth.