I had to come up with my own work-arounds for how to get healthy. Nobody helped me figure out how to afford the Y, from the perspective of both time and money. Nobody figured out how to wedge in more walking by changing how I do things at work. Nobody figured out how to adjust my lunch schedule so I could walk and write. Nobody helped me quit smoking. I figured out a lot of tricks that worked on my own.
When I suggest lifestyle changes to others who say they want to get healthy, they always come up with excuses for why they can’t. I don’t know what to say to them anymore. I’ve tried to point out different ways to get healthy, and to lead by example, but they refuse to try.
It is like coming across someone in a hole and she says she wants to get out, and I see a handhold that she has missed. I say – grab it! And she says – I can’t, my arms are too short. I say – step on that rock so you can reach it, and she says – I can’t, my shoes are too slippery. No matter what I try, she comes up with excuses for why she can’t, even though she says she wants to.
It is so frustrating. I’ve been in that hole. I know how hard it is. And I know how much better it is to be out of it. I can’t pull them out. They have to do the work. Perhaps part of it is you have to want it badly enough that you have to get there on your own. I’m reminded of these words from Buddha – “No one saves us but ourselves…We ourselves must walk the path.” Then I’m reminded of these words from Alcoholics Anonymous – “You have to work your own program.”
Some people say that they don’t have the willpower that I do. Is it really willpower? Or “won’t” power? I decided what I’m NOT going to do. There is a lot of bad habits that I used to do that I just don’t do anymore. I used to recline on the couch reading for hours every evening, eating candy bars and a bag of potato chips. While I was getting well-read, I was also getting well-rounded.
I used to define myself by what I ate. Now I think there is something better about not allowing my animal nature to take over. Every time I eat on impulse, I’m not being conscious. By being intentional about what I eat, I’m raising my consciousness. It isn’t about denying myself – it is about being awake to what I really want. I’m denying the inner 5 year old that wants what it wants right now. Meanwhile, I’m nurturing my real self that wants to be nourished with real nutrients. I celebrate a plate full of colorful vegetables, rather than a doughnut covered with rainbow sprinkles.