Is it worth it? This is the question I am going to talk to you about today.
This is the question that helps me stay on track when I just can’t seem to dial it in. That keeps me motivated and moving towards my goals. That stops me in my tracks before I go down that sugar roller coaster ride that I know I don’t like. I’m human just like you.
And even though I am extremely passionate about exercise and nutrition, I know what it feels like to struggle with choices, be faced with challenges and consider the trade offs.
Have you ever been approached about winning a free scuba day or getting paid to attend a time share presentation while on holiday? We all know the spiel – you will be given an all inclusive afternoon of scuba diving or X amount of dollars if you just come listen to this time share presentation.
This is a true story. I can remember doing this in Mexico in my 20’s to make that $100! For some of us, the trade off is worth it. Sit through 4 hours of torture but get an all inclusive scuba day. And for some of us not. I only had to do this once to realize the stress and time involved was definitely not worth it!
Why am I telling you this?
Well for the last few weeks I have allowed myself to get in a bit of a “ nutritional funk”. My back injury has prevented me from golfing, running, working out and ultimately getting my heart rate up, my endorphins flowing, and burning off my stress. And this led me to start making some choices that were not serving me well at all. You see I have always had a weakness for sugar, and because I wasn’t dialed into my workouts the way I am used to, my focus on nutrition has not been as strong as it can be. I started treating myself to things like my old favorite diet pop, afternoon fancy coffees and having a few too may deserts to name a few. Now there is nothing wrong with enjoying your favorite foods on occasion, but pretty quickly the effects of sugar will add up. My joints started aching, my sleep suffered, and cravings kicked in for more.
I normally do not have to ask myself “is it worth it” when making food or drink choices. It’s usually an automated decision for me, but it’s primarily driven from knowing how I want to feel when I teach, workout, or go for that long run. And those things aren’t tangible anymore. So back to checking in with myself I go.
Maybe you can relate. Have you ever looked at eating in this way? When we make food or drink choices that are not going to serve us well (excess sugar, alcohol, that 3rd piece of pizza etc.) we really only get 5-30 minutes of pleasure for 2 to 3 hours of fatigue, achy joints, bloat and usually regret for lack of “self control”, due to the changes in blood sugar and extra calories these choices incur.
We often think that we do not have strong willpower when it comes to that piece of chocolate, glass of wine, or things that are in the cupboard that are not healthy. Often those urges are due to not eating enough or lacking something in our diet. They are also tempting when we are hungry and easily accessible. When we come home from work and are tired, we grab whatever is in our sight.
It doesn’t matter if we have a physical job or are making decisions all day, we are using energy.
Our brain requires energy too. So it helps to come home, take a pause , have a cup of tea, glass of water, and healthy snack (fruit or veggies) before we begin a chore or head off again with another activity.
We need to refuel our brain so we make good decisions.
It can be helpful to track our behaviours and become aware of specific situations or triggers that cause us to “emotionally eat”. Once we are aware of those times, we can prevent the emotions from escalating and access our executive functioning of our brain, to problem solve and make good decisions.
Take that pause and deep breath and then say, “is it really worth it” or “what are the consequences”. It is about being mindful and present. It takes time to practice but can be the skill to be helpful in many aspects of our life.
Question #1. Is it worth it?
Start by asking yourself this the next time you are standing at the grocery store eyeing that chocolate bar or at home choosing what to have for a snack. Is it worth it? Will this nourish me? How will I feel tomorrow? What do I want my day to look like? What choices will make me feel the way I want to feel and get me closer to my goal?
Question #2. Ask yourself “what’s the trade off”.
Life is full of trade offs. Celebrities trade off fame for privacy. Diabetics trade off sugar for their health. You can trade off getting there faster or taking the scenic route instead. The higher paying job that’s out of town or more time with family.
So take the time to check in with yourself when cravings set in, remove yourself from the situation, pause and ask yourself these two questions. And have you given your brain the fuel it needs to make the right choice?
These matters of perspective can change our entire outlook on the choices you make and ultimately help you achieve your goals of living healthy and fit.
ps. this question was inspired form Annie Grace, of That Naked Mind.