Austerity is overrated. Life is meant to be, not just enjoyed, but indulged.
As we’re entering the second month of 2015, I see a lot of New Year’s Resolutioners begin to falter. It’s understandable. Making lasting change is difficult, no matter the tricks and techniques you employ. But I’d offer you several bits of advice from both personal and professional experience.
First, you’re almost to the six-week mark. That’s the point where an activity, a change in behavior, becomes a habit. That means it will become easier to maintain, easier to stick with. If you’re still struggling with a new eating protocol, a new exercise routine, hang in there and it will get easier.
Secondly, it’s okay to binge.
This seems counterintuitive to a lot of people, especially people whose exposure to diet and fitness has been predominantly (if not exclusively) pop-culture and the diet/fitness industry. Many within those dual industries are not there to see you succeed; they’re there to see you spend money.
What I mean by binging is indulging in copious levels of an indulgence. ‘Copious’ and ‘indulgence’ are both up for debate and require context. And before you run off and empty the vending machine of all the goodies, this isn’t carte blanche to eat candy all day, every day. However, science and experience has shown that the occasional caloric spike from sugary and greasy food can do wonders for one’s personal well-being and athletic performance. This is the reasoning behind ‘refeed days’ (or cheat days, though I feel that term is too negative).
This also extends beyond the scheduled refeed days. Sometimes life presents you with moments that you just shouldn’t ignore. Again, this does not mean you should be eating a candy bar with every meal. But to expound, my father and I have a Monday night routine where we get BoJangles (fried chicken, and if you haven’t had BoJangles before, you need to re-evaluate some of your life choices and remedy that). Fried chicken isn’t great food, health-wise, but remove the skin and avoid the sides and you’ll be alright. My dad picked up an iced tea because he knows I love it (again, if you’ve been to BoJangles, you’ll understand the heavenly bliss this represents). Now, I could have explained the parameters of my diet to my father and staved off the iced tea to my next refeed day, or I could crack it open and have a grand time with my father, as was the goal of the evening.
Health comes in a lot of forms, and mental health is every bit a part of life as physical health. Eschewing everything that comes your way just because it isn’t in-line with your schedule is a remedy for madness and an unfulfilled life. Yes, you need to exert self-control and sometimes tremendously so. But sometimes you need to remember that life is meant to be enjoyed, not parsed out in carefully measured increments. I’m not saying have a bag of Reese Pieces with every breakfast. I am saying that sometimes, it’s good to binge.
So I have joined the 21st Century and gotten myself on Twitter. My new Twitter handle is @rvaldrich. Drop me a line and say high.
In other news, I was interviewed by the crazy guys over at Fat Gatsby at MAGFest, so if you want to hear some of the antics we got up to, check it out.