Running Out of Control
Ever feel your life’s getting out of control? Emails, texts, work, family and finances can lead to a total overload of information, tasks and stress. Plus huge temptation from food and drink and our lives can seem a mess, weight can escalate and healthy living flies out of the window or never really gets going. It’s a difficult cycle to break but one solution may be easier you think, as running and exercise can really help.
It’s important to have some say in what goes on in our lives. Ok so we may not be able to control everything, but we can learn to manage certain aspects. Teach ourselves to do things when it works for us, and learning not to place too many demands on ourselves either. With exercise, we need to have a healthy relationship with it, not become obsessive, nor accept challenges we’ve got no realistic chance of achieving, and the same can be said of food and drink. Don’t let a bad relationship with food and exercise dominate your life, but try to view these elements differently, positively, and in balance with your body’s needs rather than your worst enemies.
If you think about it, nobody exactly puts food in our mouths other than ourselves, and nobody else actually puts on excess weight for us. It’s our own actions which allow it to happen. Equally nobody can physically get active for us, it’s all down to our own self-motivation and doing that enables us.
Yet often people find they simply can’t control what they eat, drink or do, instead life controls them, becoming a mental battle of wills, especially at this time of year, with grey, wet, cold mornings and long, dark evenings. Believe me, I feel the same!
The key to success with food and exercise is to change our mindset. We need to think and believe that we can take action. With running, believe that we can run. It’s important to banish any thoughts of ‘not being a runner’. Because in reality, we’re pretty much all born to run, it’s just that most people choose not to for varied, and sometimes very valid reasons. Agreed, we can’t all be super sprinters or Marathon runners, but most people can learn to run, and build up the strength and ability to do a little more each time.
Being over-weight means running can be difficult, feeling uncomfortable, not ‘looking’ the part, but usually the respect from others is significant when an ‘out of shape’ person gets out there and pushes themselves to be active. Fitness Instructors will also be delighted, because let’s face it, the more unfit the person, the more work for the Fitness Instructor! And nothing gives more satisfaction than to see an out of shape person transform into a healthier and fitter individual through training and a positive approach.
Eating a balanced diet’s just as important, so structuring meals and planning what to eat and when is key. Positive thoughts then prevail, things become possible and we start taking control. Ever had no food in the house? If so, what happened when you got home? Most people I know then instead eat unsatisfying, unplanned snacks. The range of ‘meals’ tend to be anything from frozen sweetcorn to a bowl of dry cereal or crisps! Yet, they struggled to lose weight or do exercise. So this tells me they were most probably snacking on the wrong food at the wrong times of day, putting on weight then feeling too tired for anything else.
Other people tell me they’ve got no opportunity to exercise or eat properly. I understand the issue, but there’s always a small amount of time squeezed for watching a bit of TV, or surfing the web. It’s therefore really important to have a plan. Plan what you’re going to do, to eat and when. Look forward to your meals and think about how the food you plan to eat will work for you. After a long day, we should enjoy our food, not punish ourselves with it! Look for other healthier snacks, drinks or treats to help get you through the day. And if you really do need food to perk your mood up occasionally, or you’re so busy you miss your run, make a plan about how to ‘pay it off’ and get back in credit – rather like a bank balance that needs adjusting.
Yet don’t obsess about being in control. Going to a Wedding and refusing to eat the cake isn’t great, so have the cake, but plan what you need to do about it. If you’re short of time some weeks, then consider other ways you can do things. Maybe a quick run near to home, early morning jog or is there a running buddy who’d go out after dark? If you’re away, can you pack running kit, and if there’s no food in the house, is it really totally impossible to grab something healthy en route or stock up at weekends rather than reach for the unplanned snacks?
Believe me, when stress hits or food dominates, and alcohol seems like the solution, get out running, and all the troublesome things can be put aside. You then have the space to clear your mind, sort your admin, plus your body will benefit, meaning you can focus on planning various other aspects of your life. And that means you won’t need to come home to a bowl of frozen sweetcorn night after night.