When it comes to healthy lifestyle tips don’t be an asshole to yourself is one of the most important. While your establishing any health-related goal there will be trials and tribulations, modifications, and exceptions.
No one can abolish unhealthy habits established a lifetime, decade, or a few years ago, overnight. Saying you’ll cut out refined sugar, coffee, alcohol, smoking, or inactivity and actually accomplishing that are two different things.
Throughout my quest to live healthier I’ve learned that perceived failure is an inevitable part of the process. Perceived failure is an aspect of trial and error, something we need in order to successfully facilitate lasting change.
If you decide to quit your habit of snacking on empty foods cold turkey and one Saturday you binge on them: you didn’t fail, you learned a lesson. Clearly the goal was too lofty and a rewrite is needed; perhaps stopping every other day is best for now.
I posted an article on one of L & L's social media pages relating to 30 foods to avoid after the age of 30. It was imperfect but a jumping off point to re-thinking some unhealthy habits. My humble social media accounts rarely obtain feedback but a couple people did respond to this share with the sentiment that it was depressing or daunting. That's absolutely true! The rhetoric that you should never eat something or need to cut it without exemption is punitive. I do subscribe to the adage everything is OK in moderation, except smoking.
I’ve battled a life-long propensity for bad habits: eating unhealthy food, too much alcohol, excessive amounts of caffeine, and worst of all smoking. During my quest to become healthier I’ve made a ton of progress! I eat healthy for the most part, only drink alcohol a couple times a week (still working on staying within the healthy guidelines consistently), and I limit caffeine to once a day.
A few years ago I quit smoking full-time but still continued whenever I drank alcohol; it was a cross-addiction I couldn’t kick. I ended up cutting out alcohol for a while to quit smoking but every time I went back I would end up smoking.
After my son was born I was able to drink without smoking. Then after a few nights out with friends I regressed back to occasionally smoking when I drink. I know smoking is one of the worst habit so my goal is abolish it ASAP even if it means cutting out alcohol for life (if it comes down to that).
The point of this digression: I’m still figuring out how to never have a cigarette again. I’m learning through failures. I’m learning which events/atmospheres I need to avoid but I still have yet to fully accomplished my goal. Though my occasional cigarettes are minuscule compared to past smoking habits the self-loathing is abundant.
Throughout the process of establishing a healthy lifestyle I've been the biggest asshole to myself when I don’t do it right. If I end up smoking the next day I think “you’re going to die and leave your son with no mother because you have no self-control” and blah blah blah. In the long-run these thoughts have validity; but the only purpose of them that next day is to ensure I feel like a horrible mother/human being for fucking up.
Similarly, after having candy one night I'll think “you should’ve had fresh fruit” and blah blah blah. Coulda, woulda, shoulda. Life is hard and it’s stressful. We’re surrounded by addictive shit that’s bad for us: alcohol, smoking, coffee, energy drinks, sugar, highly salted processed food. The list never ends.
We are set up for failure when attempting to live a clean and healthy life. This doesn’t mean it’s impossible. It does mean that the process will take time and include a lot of hiccups. If you’re an asshole to yourself every time one of those hiccups occurs, you aren’t doing yourself any favors. Shitty self-dialect is the most unhealthy habit of all. It leads to stress, anxiety, depression, self-loathing, and time lost doing productive things.
So just know that throughout this series I’m in the process myself. Although it can seem futile and overbearing at times I still believe it’s possible to live a healthy lifestyle in an unhealthy world. I’m walking in that direction but I have many more steps to go. In the meantime I will prioritize getting rid of my most detrimental habit of all, being an asshole to myself, and you should too.
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