(This column appeared in the Jan. 28th edition of my hometown newspaper the Devils Lake Journal in Devils Lake, N.D.)A couple of weeks ago I wrote a column that listed 10 ways I would like to live a better life in 2014. Reading over them now I have a couple of thoughts. First, what the heck was I thinking?! They are such lofty in some ways unrealistic goals.They are not bad ideas, and I certainly in some ways would like to live my life more in that manner, so I will keep them posted on my fridge and at least try to move more in those directions. Another thought I had is the one gaping item I left out. If you remember the list was all about doing some things more and at the same time other things less, such as laugh more, frown less. What I can’t believe I left out is move more, eat less.
Years ago, I worked several holiday seasons at the now defunct Border’s Books. It was unbelievable how many diet and fitness books flew off the shelves starting immediately on Dec. 26. This went on for weeks, but then sales would gradually slow down. The same can be said for gym memberships and weight loss groups such as Weight Watchers – both see a large influx of people Jan. 1 who come in all gangbusters with enthusiasm only to usually a short time later abandon their workout gear and weight loss goals and return to their old habits.
In spite of all the many diet and fitness program options, the concept is simple – move more, eat less. However, while the basic premise is just four short words, putting them into long term, sustainable action can be for many deceptively difficult. Why is that? Well changing habits, even if they’re bad ones, can be tough. You have to get some enjoyment out of eating what you like, when you like and however much you like or you wouldn’t do it. You also wouldn’t plunk yourself in front of the TV at night for hours on end and not exercise if you didn’t get some pleasure out of it. I can be guilty of all the aforementioned habits. However, I wasn’t always that way. For many years, I worked out on a regular basis and ate fairly healthy. Sadly in recent years, I’ve fallen out of those healthier habits and getting back into them has been like pulling teeth.
In the end I think the key is you have to want the healthier lifestyles and the resulting outcomes – weighing less, being more fit – more than you want the less healthy ones. A jolly, laugh more, frown less kind of a guy visits the newspaper office here on a semi-regular basis. One day he was sharing with me how he quit smoking years ago. It wasn’t easy, he said, but the key is you have to really want it and – and this a BIG and – willing to put in the work, including overcoming mental obstacles into the necessary changes in order to produce the desired outcome.
I can’t write a column Super Bowl week without putting a plug in for my Denver Broncos. In the spirit of move more, eat less I think every time Broncos quarterback Peyton Panning says Omaha I should do 10 jumping jacks, and when he says hurry hurry, 10 sit ups. Go Broncos!