Updated: Jun 6, 2018
“Would you like a side of fries with that?” the cashier asks as I grind my teeth to fake a smile and responsibly decline his offer.
As if I didn’t already feel guilty about my trip to get fast food! At least I ordered the Diet Coke, I rationalize to myself.
Why is it that I am constantly feeling guilty about what I am eating, but then turn around and binge on something that just threw off the last three days of dieting?
When given the option and tempted with a side of fries, who doesn’t want more? But are we reaching for the side of fries because we really need it, or because there is always temptation around us and we feel an imminent case of FOMO (“Fear of Missing Out”).
There are two culprits at play here. Firstly, I am succumbing to my cravings as I devour whatever looks and taste good to me in the moment. My relationship with food is that it tastes good and I want more of it. Secondly, I am succumbing to societal pressure to diet because beach season is around the corner and I don’t want to look like the only one who couldn’t say no to that last pint of ice cream.
Truthfully-- I am seeking temporary happiness from the satisfaction of taste from my food, and also superficial happiness from the satisfaction of my appearance on the beach.
This volatile cycle is the norm: one moment we are so strict, and the next we are binging. We are looking to food for our source of immediate happiness.
This is why we choose those diets that will help us lose too much weight in too little time. And when that doesn’t work, we turn to our trusted Ben & Jerry’s to make us momentarily feel better.
The problem with this cycle is that most Americans are not making the shift in their relationship with food to sustain a healthy lifestyle. Our nation is plagued with diseases and cancers that weren’t even around 100 years ago due to the abundance of artificial ingredients and lack of physical exercise that is deteriorating our spirits.
Conversely, some choose to inject themselves with unnatural chemicals to achieve the seemingly perfect appearance and forgo proper nutrition and exercise.
What needs to change in America is our attitude about food. Food was created on this beautiful planet to sustain our body’s nutrients and rejuvenate ourselves. This requires knowing our own body types, and that each body is unique. There is not a one-size-fits-all prescription for nutrition.
We should respect our physical bodies and know our limits. We need to know the proper amounts of proteins, carbs, and vitamins that our bodies need in order to perform at optimal physical and mental levels. Proper nutrition boosts cognitive function, clarity, and restores cells to keep your body working better and longer.
So before you think about trying the next extreme diet, ask yourself:
What are my motives?
What are the pros and cons?
Is this sustainable?
Know that happiness isn’t a given once we’ve reached our weight goals. Happiness is achieved when we find contentment with ourselves and where we are now.
So maybe you will never have the body you had in your 20s-- but who cares? Aging is beautiful and natural! We need to stop comparing ourselves with everyone around us, because the momentary satisfaction will never bring ultimate satisfaction and contentment.
So long as you commit each day to get 30 minutes of cardio, drink about 8 glasses of water, replenish your body with vitamins, and get outside when you can-- you will be on the proper track to a healthy lifestyle.
Instead of getting cold and cynical about the physical indifferences you endure, consider an alternative path. You can choose to live for more. You can change your happiness trajectory by finding contentment with what you have and where you are, now!
Focus on the good, find joy in the present moment and make the most of today.
Let’s let go of society’s pressures and strive for more real health in this one life to live.
Be sure to register for our Virtual Book Launch on Tuesday, June 12 at 8:00 PM EST. Viewers will be offered an exclusive offer at the end of the webinar. Register on our site, www.thehappinessmapbook.com.