As we begin 2023, I find my self thinking about the growing number of people who are struggling with their weight, and I ask myself these questions:
Why do people choose to eat foods that don’t make them feel well?
Why do people want workouts that burn calories instead of training programs that build ability and strength?
Why do fashion and the media continue to require skinniness and glossy perfection from models, actors, and influencers?
And personally: “Why do I consume media content and news reports that make me feel bad?”
As you can image, the previous four questions left me feeling frustrated, but then, during my quiet time this morning, I remembered a quote from Albert Einstein:
“If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask.”
It became clear to me that I hadn’t found the proper question.
This morning, I came up with a question that cleared away my frustration, and gave me a new sense of hope and enthusiasm. Here it is:
How can I create the most joy, while causing the least harm?
I admit, that question takes quite a leap away from my more mundane thinking on the subject of physical fitness, but it does apply to the root cause of my frustration, which stems from the experience that so many of the things we choose in order to feel good have consequences that make us feel worse.
For example, dieting leads to hunger, which leads to overeating, which leads to the weight gain we were trying to overcome in the first place. Excessive exercise can lead to soreness and injuries which force us to stop exercising, leaving us weaker and less fit than we were in the first place. These paradoxes led me to ask what we should be doing instead, and I realized that we need a two part solution to the problem of fitness.
We must insure that our positive actions:eating and moving better, don’t end up causing harm: hunger and injury.
I invite you to apply the question of joy to your wellness practice. What kinds of food can you prepare that will bring you the most joy while causing the least harm? How can you train, move, or play in a way that will bring you the most joy while causing the least harm?
Does it make sense to apply joy to eating and exercising?
I think it does. I know that I need something beyond thinness and appearance to inspire my choices when I eat and train, and joy certainly fills the bill! I invite you to write down three or four things that you enjoy more than snacking. Then I want to challenge you to eat the foods, and choose the moves that would be most likely to enhance those activities.
In this way, you can go from a good question, to a better answer, and a happy outcome.
Happy New Year, everyone.