How to Become Addicted to Good Health

7 Sep

Have you reached a point of despair with diet and exercise? Do you do well for a period of a week or two and then falter and throw in the towel? Repeat this cycle long enough and it’s easy to lose hope. If this is you I have some good news (for a change) and no, I’m not trying to sell you anything.

There’s no new wonder product or study that is going to pull you from this cycle anyway. No, that’s not the good news I was talking about. The good news is that if you endure long enough, you start to build good habits just as you built the bad ones.

Addicted to Running

If I go without exercise for more than, say three days I start to go crazy. This was not always the case. I used to be crazy all the time! I suppose the word “addiction” has pretty negative connotations, but I am here just talking about a compulsion to run that borders on the pull to eat a piece of cheesecake (if you’re into cheesecake like I am that is). My body wants to run. It wants to play. I even have trouble sleeping if I don’t run consistently now. I get restless, twitchy legs. Okay, now I am starting to sound like a junkie.

Though these consequences of not running I face sound terrible, I think I just felt that way all the time… I just got used to it. It’s a slow, gradually slide into a life of sloth and squalor. It’s a quiet desperation that occasionally screams out for rescue. I was there three years ago. One day I ran away from it and haven’t looked back. Running isn’t optional anymore. I know where I’ve been. I ain’t going back.

Running Begets Good Eating

Pair your running efforts with efforts to improve the quality of your diet and the good habits reinforce each other. You start to see how much better you run when you eat well. Then having run and eaten well you feel FANTASTIC and you want more. Do this long enough and you’ll lose what I unscientifically call a “sugar tolerance.”

Go without sugar for a month and then try to drink a soda. I bet you anything that you’ll want to wretch.

Your body wants quality fuel, especially when you exercise. If you feed it crap it gets angry and revolts. Just as feel off it I don’t exercise, now when I eat junk food the consequences seem worse and drive me back to the good habits I’ve learned.

Completing the Trifecta of Good Health

(or, the awesome flux capacitor of awesomeness)

I’m missing the final ingredient. I’m so close to firing on all cylinders that I can hear the distant revving of a DeLorian. Consistent sleep is the third and final requirement for good physical health. Mental health goes beyond such simplification of course, but building good habits in these three areas will likely help in that category as well. It certainly does for me.
Ah sleep, I need someone as passionate about myself to slap me in the face and tell me that I’ll feel so much better if I just develop a consistent and reasonable bed-time. In fact, I encourage that. If you see me on the street, slap me square in the face. I’ll know what you mean and I’ll be glad to know that you read my post.

If you think that these three categories are unrelated, you’re fooling yourself. They are an intricate balance, a delicate dance. They are a symphony of … okay, I’ll stop, but know that this mix is important.

All for One and One for All

You can’t push hard into one area of good health without the other two coming along. That’s a tough pill to swallow, but it’s really good news I assure you. I fell in love with running again. I love it enough to make changes in the other areas so that I can run longer and later in life.

Fall in Love

Earlier this summer I played in a stream. I jumped. I ran. I splashed. Two years ago I wouldn’t have been able to do that with the abandon that I had that wonderful summer day with friends. Tasting the freedom of youth was such a rich reward of my running efforts. Make running fun. It’s an infectious, delightful thing when done right. If you feel like running is a chore, then you’re doing it wrong. In my next post I’m going to talk about how to do it right. My hope is that you too will fall in love with running. I hope that it sparks a revolution of good physical and mental health that consumes your life and revitalizes your relationships. Let us build good habits. Let us start today. It takes some time, but it’s much less time than you think.

2 Responses to “How to Become Addicted to Good Health”

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