You know the saying:
"Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and he eats for the rest of his life."
I love this saying. For one, it's a reminder to me that I want to learn how to fish instead of being given a fish (because honestly, who wants to rely on someone else for daily food?).
But what about in other areas of your life? You learned to walk, talk, and read on your own. You've learned how to study, how to drive, how to use a phone. Can you imagine what your life would be like if you had to rely on someone else to communicate for you? If you couldn't go anywhere on your own, if you didn't know how to learn, or study, or check your own email? Or use Google maps?
Would you feel stuck?
What about healthy lifestyles? Diets and programs are the equivalent of giving you a fish.
I mean if you don't know where to start, diets can at least give you a boost, right? Act as your cleanse? Get you started in the right direction? Drop your first few pounds?
Wrong. They'll just end up making you feel stuck.
Learning to create healthy habits of your own is like teaching you how to fish. And just like all those other skills you've learned in life, it'll free you, make you less dependent on others and give you what you need to sustain healthy habits over a lifetime - all of which will leave you feeling more confident, capable and probably happier and more productive.
Not convinced yet? Here's 5 SPECIFIC reasons it's absolutely CRUCIAL to learn how to fish, a.k.a. learn how to create your own healthy habits.
Less Time Consuming
Being handed a fish seems like it's quicker, right? It doesn't take any brain power. But if you have to go to the market, wait in line and pick up a fish every single day, it becomes really time consuming in the long run. Learning to fish might be a longer process at first - you have to learn how to fish - ya know - the basics... and then you have to learn how to be good at fishing. Then, because you know how to fish, it will actually become less time consuming for you think about that fish and actually put food on the table.
The same is true with healthy choices. Sometimes it seems easier to go on a diet because then someone will just be telling you what to do - what to eat, sometimes when to eat, what exercises to do, how long to do them, etc.
Have you ever caught yourself saying this about diets:
"I don't want to have to think."
"I just need a kick-start."
"I don't know where to start if I don't use a diet/program."
"I just need to drop a few pounds first."
...and THEN I'll loosen up and just start eating better.
orry hunny, it doesn't work that way.
When you try a diet or program "just to start," that's like being handed a fish "just to start." But the thing about diets and programs is that they end up consuming more time in the long run. You try the diet, maybe you get results, you can't maintain that diet, you gain back the weight, you get frustrated, you get discouraged, you decide to make changes again... so you try a diet and end up in that same vicious cycle.
If you're determined to be told exactly what to do, it will end up being more time consuming in the long run because you won't be able to fend for yourself.
You won't be able to just go grocery shopping for healthier options, cook a well-balanced meal or show up at the gym to workout. Instead, you'll have your face in a book (or your phone), looking at exactly what to buy and eat - oh but when you're at home and get a craving and it's not "time to eat" yet according to that horrible diet you're trying, what will you end up snacking on?
An entire tub of ice cream? Will that just set you back?
Will you understand how to shop for healthy snacks? Will you actually keep them around? Or are you just trying to endure the diet for the time being? Because if you're just trying to "get through" the diet, you're wasting your time. "Just getting through the diet" means you aren't planning on doing the diet long term, which means once it's "done," you won't have another solution in place. Trying one diet after another is more time consuming in the long run because it just puts you into this vicious cycle you can't escape from. At least that's how it feels.
We feel confident when we do something great, right? Learn a new skill? Catch 10 fish...
You should learn how to fish - or how to make healthy choices on your own - so you're equipped with both knowledge and confidence.
Knowledge is power, right?
When you have the knowledge, you can be empowered.
Instead of relying on someone else to help you make every single decision and basically walk forward blindly, slowly learn how to create healthy habits on your own.
How do you feel right now about creating a "healthy lifestyle"? Does it seem foreign to you? Did you roll your eyes at me? Mmmhmmm....
Do you feel self-conscious? Unsure where to start? Doubtful that YOU could actually create a healthy lifestyle for YOU? Does it sound unrealistic? Like too much work?
I've been there too - I totally get it.
But how would it feel to have confidence instead? Stay with me here... Don't laugh it off.
You've seen success stories. You've seen transformation pictures and comebacks that made you stare and not take your eyes off the pictures or articles in front of you.
Somewhere in your mind, you know it's possible. At least... you know it's been possible for other people. But is it really possible for you? How would that feel? To be confident again - to stand tall, walk proud and actually know what you're talking about? How would it feel to go to a restaurant, order a healthier option and feel great about that choice? How would it feel to still indulge in that decedent chocolate cake because it looks so irritable - and not feel guilty about it?
Is balance really possible?
You better believe it! Why do you think knowledge is so freeing? So vital? If you learn how to make healthy choices on your own, you'll learn how to create balance - how to enjoy your lifestyle. And you better believe I said that with a straight face. Knowledge is power, my friend. Learn how to fish - learn how to make healthy choices on your own - and you will be empowered with the ability to create a healthy lifestyle you actually enjoy - that's realistic for every day life - and that you can maintain for years and years.
Endurance/Ability to Maintain Habits
Think about a diet - any diet - the one that comes to your mind first.
Could you do it for the rest of your life?
I mean really - could you go without ny carbs for the REST of your life? Or juice every day, every meal for the rest of your life? Or weigh your food every meal? Or pay for those diet meals to get delivered to you.. and then get super confused and uptight every time you go out to eat?
Because I couldn't. And I don't think any normal person could maintain a diet for the rest of their life.
Why? Because diets aren't designed for lifestyles - they're designed for 30 days - or 90 days - and neither of those come close to a lifetime.
Could you go on a diet, go off the diet, start again and stop again for the rest of your life?
Because that sounds absolutely miserable to me.
Why learn how to fish? Why learn how to make healthy choices on your own?
Because THAT is actually something you can maintain. Do you already go grocery shopping? Do you eat every day? Could you continue to go grocery shopping and eat every day if you learned how to shop smarter and cook and snack healthier?
Could you continue going out to eat, but learn how to make healthier choices when you're at a restaurant - without eating salad?
That's something that sounds more realistic to me.
If you learned how to create a healthy lifestyle, could you handle eating better foods the majority of the time, but still indulging in your favorite sweets and cravings every now and then? Or almost every day like me - eating small amounts of dark chocolate every day?
Being given a fish - being given a diet or a program - is not something you can maintain for the rest of your life.
But learning how to fish - learning how to make healthy choices that eventually turn into habits and then into a lifestyle - you can maintain that. Because if it's not designed for real life - if it's not designed for several years - it's not going to last. Habits last. Lifestyles last. So why not make those habits and lifestyles healthy ones?
Ever wonder why the diet that worked for your friend didn't work for you? Or how your sister could seriously talk about Zumba for hours? Who are these people!?
Getting handed a fish means there's no choices. It's like going through the cafeteria line when there's only one choice. Every day. It's fish - prepped the same way - sometimes alright, sometimes miserable to eat. And everyone in that cafeteria line is eating that same dumb fish every single day. And nobody looks happy.
Ya, well if you don't learn how to make healthy choices on your own, you'll be stuck in that cafeteria line for the rest of your life - with no options or variety.
See, the thing about diets and programs is they really don't care who you are, where you're starting, what's too intense for you and what's not intense enough for you. Most of the time, diets and programs are taking the current lifestyle of someone who's successful - and asking you to do the same thing... but the thing is... that successful person didn't start by going from A - Z in 30 days or 90 days - it took them YEARS. Which is totally ok.. except when that same person asks you to go from A - Z in 30 days or 90 days. It's unrealistic and discouraging.
Why don't you start by going from A - B? Then B - C?
Learning to create healthy habits on your own gives you a dose of reality and flexibility in the process.
We all like different food, right? And we like different forms of exercise? Maybe you love going for a walk in the evenings. Maybe you love Zumba. Or playing sports. Or running. Or going to the gym and pumping that iron.
When you learn how to fish - when you learn how to create healthy habits on your own, you learn how to slowly incorporate variety and you learn that your habits can look different than your neighbor's habits and different than your co-worker's habits.
We don't all have the same personality. We don't have the same education level or job or family or social life.
Why in the world would we create "healthy habits" that look the exact same as everyone else?
It doesn't even make sense.
Just as we're flexible and different in other areas in our lives, our healthy lifestyles are going to look different. The process to getting there might be the same, but the outcome HAS TO BE CATERED TO OUR INDIVIDUAL LIVES or it won't work.
The last reason learning to fish is SO vital (and it happens to be one of my favorite reasons), healthy lifestyles let you take back control!!!
Before I learned how to make healthy choices and create healthy habits that worked with real life, I felt lost and trapped.
Do you feel like that? Because it's absolutely miserable.
You feel stuck because somehow you believed that diets and programs would work, but they failed you. Or you feel stuck because you believe healthy lifestyles are time consuming, confusing or expensive so you don't even want to start. Or you feel stuck because you think your genes have you stuck - there's just nothing you can do about it - you were just born that way - it's in your blood and that's how your whole family is.
WRONG!!! ALL OF THOSE STATEMENTS ARE FALSE!
Please, I'm seriously begging you. If you don't take anything else away from this, know that you can take control. Know that all those statements are false and they've been messing with your head for far too long.
Diets and weird programs might not give you control, but healthy choices - which become habits - which become lifestyles - that's one of the most liberating feelings!
You are the one who decides whether your lifestyle is controlling you or you're controlling your lifestyle. Please choose to control your lifestyle. Choose to take control. It's really up to you. If you want control, you can take control, and nobody can take it back from you unless you give it up.