What’s Keeping You Up at Night?
What’s bothering you? Ah, it’s a loaded question, isn’t it? “Botheration” is a real word that means “effort, worry or difficulty”. If you can identify the cause of your bother, you are well on your way to solving it.
Bother is caused by conflict, so every bother has more than one cause. (1) If you want to be slim, strong and healthy but you also want pizza, beer and cake four times a week then you have conflict. The number on the scale or the way that your yoga pants don’t fit or the mirror may be your bother. Your bother may be in the form of a wake-up call at the doctor’s office when your blood pressure or your blood sugar is in a dangerously high range. The point is, at some time, this conflict will cause bother.
The key to resolving the conflict is to follow the path of the stressors to their source. In the case of the ongoing struggle between a desirable body fat percentage and binge eating, the source of the stress is overeating. The two threads of the conflict have that in common. One thread is allowing the behaviour to continue and one thread is a desire to be healthy. Supposedly, these two threads have a common goal. While it seems far-fetched to imagine that these two profoundly different thoughts and behaviours have anything in common, they do. The commonality here is a contented mind. We allow ourselves to self-medicate with food to achieve a level of satisfaction that always eludes us when we resort to gluttony to solve our problems. We also believe that a healthy body will give us the satisfaction that we crave. So, both behaviours are intended to produce the same result, a contented mind. No wonder that we feel or seem crazy to those who just don’t give a damn.
If we want to resolve this conflict, which is necessary in order to meet our goals, then we must decide what is truly important. I have been told by more than one person that being overweight “doesn’t bother me”. Well, then I must ask you this question, does heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, depression and an increased risk of cancer bother you? This is a partial list of only a few of the things that are exacerbated or aggravated by excess body fat. In this artificial, pretentious world of social media that we inhabit, where so much of what we see are false images, it’s easy to look at a plastic, Barbie doll model or a man who is so ripped and gnarly that he looks like a gargoyle, and just decide that we can never look like that and toss all healthy habits to the wind. What we so often forget is that looks are only a part of why we need to be healthy. A long, productive life that is lived to the fullest is the main reason to achieve excellent health. If we are going to ever achieve our goals, we must resolve the conflict of the two threads of thought and behavior. Realizing that both behaviours are trying to achieve the same result can sometimes give us the motivation to decide which path we want to take to the desired end, a contented mind.
Which Is Better?
There is an axiom that I love, “Being overweight is hard. Losing weight is hard. Choose your hard.” This is the core of success. At David’s Way we tell you “Don’t eat sugar. Eat whole foods. Count your calories.” While this is simple, if you are addicted to sugar, there will be a difficult time of withdrawal. Learning to be accountable about what you eat may be hard for you. I remember when I realized how many calories were in snack cakes and I nearly died. I could not fathom that only two or three, or so…, swiss cakes in a day could make that much difference, but they did. In the beginning it’s hard to be accountable. So, in deciding which route you will take to a contented mind, you must decide if you want the temporary contentment of swiss rolls and overweight, or the long-term, lifetime contentment of good health. Both paths are hard but only one is ultimately rewarding.
Use the Stress for Success
The next time that you feel the conflict of your habits not aligning with your goals, follow the two threads of conflict to their source. Think about the goal that both behaviours are pressing towards and what version of that goal each behaviour will create and then determine which outcome you really want. I believe that if you are honest with yourself, you will decide that if the pathway is going to be hard either way, you will most likely choose a long, healthy life over short-term satisfaction.