Why suffer through the day to day struggle with eating right when you can eat that greasy, fat infested hamburger at the local fast food joint? Why not drink the entire six pack of beer during the game? Waste not, want not right? Many people actually believe this philosophy is normal. Eating right and exercising regularly is not a struggle. It is a matter of priority and can become as "normal" as you want it.
We must change our definition of a normal existence. Is it normal to overeat on every occasion possible? Is it normal to pollute our lungs with massive amounts of carcinogenic smoke with warning labels telling you that you could die from it? Is it okay to accept as normal the fact that most companies provide two 15 minute smoke breaks throughout the work day. However, those same companies frown upon those who would rather have an extra 30 minutes during lunch to exercise?
I remember I was told by someone in the gym once that I needed to get a life. The person actually assumed that being in the gym and eating properly was not living! Boy am I glad to have a strong mind and did not let that deter me. I recently went on a cruise and, of course, one of the main cruise attractions is the quantity and endless availability of food! As a bodybuilder, and many may tell me that I'm the only one who would think like this on a cruise, I found it very interesting that passengers were required to specify, in advance, any special dietary needs. The food "normally" served was high in saturated fat and high in simple sugars. Why is that normal? Because that is how we have defined "normal". With all the foods available, how hard would it be to provide an alternate menu for fit conscious passengers?
In the beginning, I found it very difficult to eat properly. I craved all the bad things that I loved so dearly! Pasta, mmmm...spaghetti!! Bread, yummy...garlic toast! High sugar cereal, yowwww...Fruit Loops with Sugar Corn Pops! I failed miserably on several occasions trying to rid myself of the uncontrollable urge to indulge in all those delicious foods. I would rationalize by telling myself that, "I need to load some carbs" or "One bad meal won't kill me". Problem was that when I had one bad meal, I usually had a huge serving or one bad meal turned into two bad meals which turned into three and so on... Also, I didn't realize the negative effects of ingesting excessive simple carbs and fat! It was so easy to lose control since I had "normally" eaten like this for as long as I could remember. I knew nothing else.
As my interest in being fit became more important, primarily due to my desire to be the best bodybuilder that I can be, I began to place more attention on how I ate and what I ate. I read many articles in major health and fitness magazines and the Web. I even went to the extent to find the most current Glycemic Index (GI) chart. I was determined to make eating properly a "normal" part of my life. It has been a constant learning process and it has made me even more interested. Paying attention to what I eat, how much I eat, and even when I eat has given me many rewards! My energy level has increased substantially. My overall muscular development has improved. My body fat percentage stays in a very favorable range. I feel more confident and alive than ever! What did it cost me? The only price was deciding to make fitness and nutrition a priority in my life. I recommend that everyone try it! It can't hurt right?
If you decide to make eating properly a priority, please promise me one thing. Promise me that you will commit to the plan and stick to it for about 6 months. What I will guarantee is that you will realize how easy and normal it can be. Based on your goal and if you have selected that right exercise and nutrition plan, you will make remarkable progress towards achieving your desired success.
One of the greatest benefits that I have found by committing to a nutrition-filled diet for an extended time period is what I call, "Lower Threshold of Gratification". This is an effect that occurs from the fact that your body has adjusted to a new "normal" diet and requires very little in the way of over-indulgence. For instance, I periodically have that urge for "something extra". In the past, that "something extra" was a piece of cake and/or pie and/or cookies and/or ice cream. After maintaining a consistent and nutritionally balanced diet for a such lengthy time, I can satisfy that urge with a simple bag of fat-free popcorn! Thus, I have attained a much lower threshold of gratification! Please remember, it only works if you have conditioned your mind and body to its re-defined version of normalcy. That is what I call "normally fit".
Before closing, I want to express to each and every person who reads this that change is a constant. We do, however, have the ability to control and manipulate "change" to some degree. Deciding "what" to change must be the initial focus. Next, it is important to discover "how" to change. This is the most difficult and time consuming part. "Why" to change is up to each of us to decide. Don't let the "why" be a result of bad news from your physician! "When" to change is again up to each of us.
Again, thanks for reading and remember this...
"Never regret yesterday because it cannot be changed;
Instead make sure today does not become a regret of tomorrow."
--- Steven Jacoby