Wednesday, June 28, 2017

See How Your Brian Can Ruin Any of Your Workout or Healthy Eating Plans.

Exercising. You look great when you do it, you feel amazing when you get through a routine, but sometimes you just can’t muster the motivation to get moving. It’s so easy to tell yourself that you can skip a day, and pick up where you left off on the following day. But you tell yourself that the next day. And the next day. You see where this is going. After a few days of pushing it off, you’ll just abandon the work-out routine altogether.

Dieting can be just as tricky. Cheat days come so far and few between, and sometimes you really just want to eat a flippin’ cookie! With proper diet planning, there is plenty of room for cookies. But that is not the point. Just because we want something, doesn’t mean that it’s going to manifest itself. In order to get the results that we desire, we need to put the work in.

Our brains have created shortcuts to goals, that’s why we now want to burn fat instant as lightning

Social media gets a lot of heat for altering the way in which we view ourselves and how we think that our lives should be. To be brutally honest, it’s well deserved. Many of us have become addicted to the pleasure that instant-gratification illusion from social media has provided us with (instant likes, which translates into approval from our peers). Many marketers[1] use this technique to attract us to their products. This addiction to instant-gratification puts us at a disadvantage. Because now, we just expect things rather than seek ways to earn them.

Many of us unknowingly have succumbed to time preference [2], a concept where we put a heavier emphasis on short-term outcomes rather than long-term. In the moment, we tell ourselves that it is okay not pursue a goal, because at the moment we are comfortable[3] where we are. This relates to why so many people give up on their workout routines and goals; because the “burn” is causing them discomfort, or because they are not seeing the results that they desire right away. In order to breathe some life back into our ambition, we need to kick the need for instant gratification, and focus on the big picture.

The story of marshmallows does give your life outcome some hints

In a study orchestrated by Walter Mischel, a professor at Stanford University in the late 1960’s to the early 1970’s, studying the effects of delayed gratification.

A group of children were given the choice between receiving one small reward immediately, or receiving two small rewards if they chose to wait. The waiting period was for about 15 minutes, where the tester would leave the room for this time and return with the two small prizes. The prizes were usually cookies or pretzels, but sometimes marshmallows were used, hence the name.

Years later a follow-up study was conducted on the now grown up children of the Marshmallow Experiment. The results showed that a majority of the children who had chosen to wait for the larger reward achieved better life outcomes down the line. These achievements were determined by factors such as SAT scores, educational attainment, and body mass index.

When we are willing to wait and work towards a greater outcome, we tend to appreciate it more when we finally achieve it. A personal example of this dates back to my childhood/ early adolescents. My dad always provided me with what I needed, but if I wanted something, I had to work for it. Obviously as a 10 year old I didn’t have the means or working papers to afford what I wanted, so I would offer to perform jobs around the house, or put up my birthday money to pay half the cost of a digital camera, or whatever it was my heart was after. I appreciated and cared for my possessions because I had worked for them. I wouldn’t have viewed them to be as valuable if they had just been given to me.

This appreciation for dedication and future outcomes are the foundation to fitness and a healthy lifestyle. You need to push passed the temptation to put it off until tomorrow, or bail on your diet, because doing so will only make you feel down on yourself in the future. Stick to your plan, and not only will you look better, but you will feel better, be healthier, and will be less likely to acquire health complications down the road.

Keep going and you will never want to leave work-out alone!

As someone who tries to work out daily, I know how hard it is to get into the swing of things and make it a habit. I’ve been guilty of cutting routines short, or skipping them, only to later stuff my face with countless tacos followed by cake. But I also know how satisfying it is when you commit to a healthy diet (with prospective cheat days of course), and seeing those sexy results in the mirror. It also improves your mood and overall energy level, so once you get going, you’ll start to look forward to your work-outs! (Or at least the post-work out pride).

The road to health and fitness is a long and harrowing one, but it always leads to greatness. Denying the desire to give in to momentary pleasures such as cutting a routine short, or skipping it altogether will lead you to the euphoric pleasure you will get from achieving the body you want. So don’t give up. Stick to your goals.

Featured photo credit: Eat This, Not That! via


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