Technically my 8 month mark is tomorrow, but it will be Monday Morning and there’s other things I want to dig into. And I think that’s something important about maintenance lifestyle, that it has to fit in with your life.
I mean, eating right and fitness are never going to just do themselves. But if maintenance takes too much time and energy, it is eventually going to get knocked off by something else. How do we make sure maintenance is a part of our life that doesn’t get shaken loose by the vagaries of life?
I think one thing is to understand that healthy lifestyle is a resource as well as an obligation. If we have truly made a lifestyle change, it gives as well as takes, in energy and mood and resilience.
So what is our relationship with our lifestyle like? If we feel resentful about the things or ways we no longer eat, if we have to drag ourselves to exercise, that’s a relationship we will look for excuses to get out of. If you can think of it as a relationship with your body, it should be apparent that it deserves the same status as your relationship with family members, your employment, pets and other “real things”. Trouble is, these relationships can still be fraught with negative emotions.
If we look at the spectrum of things it is acceptable to have negative feelings for, there’s probably jobs on the lower end and pets on the upper end. Oddly (and maybe this is just me) spouses go closer to the low end and children rank below pets, unless they are teenagers and they then are as natural to complain about as jobs.
For my eating, it was not that hard to view maintenance as a caring and nourishing endeavor. I guess the thing about children and pets is that they are dependent upon you, and pets are perpetually. While change was a gradual process, my attitude about it was always kind of how dog people are about their pets. My trust in the rewards of the process never were in question. You have to eat anyway, and so it’s just working out how to do it best.
The fitness end has been more like living with a cat. The rewards are not as readily apparent. They say dogs look at all you do for them and conclude you are a god while cats look at all you do for them and conclude they must be. A cat may leave you alone for days but then according to their own will and pleasure they will curl up next to you and purr. It is not rewarding on a set schedule, but sneaks up on you, when you see an unexpected shadow in the mirror or realize you can feel a muscle group you never had before.