Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Life-Diet Balance: Don't let life get in the way!

It seems all too often that life can get in the way of following our good intentions to eat healthy and exercise. When things are going well, we have the time and energy to sit down and focus on a plan to help us lose weight, eat more vegetables, drink more water, or establish an exercise routine.

Then, "life" happens: An argument with a friend, an extra high stack in our inbox at work, bad news about the health of someone close to us . . . and all that dedication to a healthy routine goes out the window. Who can worry about making a low-calorie lunch at a time like this? Why deny ourselves an afternoon candy bar if it'll make us feel better, temporarily? What will one day of missed exercise really matter if sitting on a couch with a glass of wine seems to be what makes us feel better right now?

It's so easy to sabotage our efforts with reasons why we can let the healthy habits slide, ''just this once". But "once" might turn into "this week", and many weeks of these excuses can lead to lost habits that we once worked so hard to establish.

Try to keep focused at these difficult times by reminding yourself of a few important points:
1) When you think of 'cheating' on your diet, remember that you are only really cheating yourself.
2) Think about how good you feel physically when you do follow through with your exercise routine, both during the activity as well as afterwards. It may prove to be a lot better mood-booster than a candy bar or a glass of wine.
3) Take just a few seconds to have a conversation with yourself about what your options are and what the best choice really is, considering the circumstances. Then reward yourself for following through with your good habits when you do tough it out and take the high road.

Of course there are times when an event seriously impedes us from following our routines. But there are many more times we choose to use a slight inconvenience to give ourselves an 'out'. Take the time to stop and think about what's really important, and how much our good intentions mean to our health and well-being. When you take the actions you originally intended--the ones you decided on during the time you were focused and thinking clearly--you'll find yourself reaping the benefits, both sooner and later.

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