My relationship with a healthy lifestyle can trend a bit spotty. Things go well for awhile with healthy eating and exercise, and then life gets in the way and things get a bit unhealthy (ugh, note the passive voice here – “life gets in the way” “things get a bit unhealthy” – how about an active voice: “I make bad choices”).
Anyways, I went through an unhealthy stretch this winter, with poor eating habits and a lack of exercise. This unfortunately coincided with the beginning of the pandemic, and so my poor choices were easier to maintain. The excuses were just too easy. “I’m just trying to survive here.” “It’s too hard to eat healthily while in quarantine in the loft over my garage!” “The hospital cafeteria is closed.” Not to mention that isolation and loneliness aren’t great motivators to be healthy.
Thankfully though (with a bit of inspiration/motivation from my wife) I broke out of my unhealthy period, and got myself back on track. I’ve been eating right and exercising regularly. Like many other people during the time of COVID, I’ve been doing a fair bit of running. I’m running 5 miles a day, and my times are starting to get a bit more respectable.
As I’ve been running for an hour a day, I have a lot more time with my thoughts, and I’ve been realizing that it’s much easier to give advice when you walk the walk. I had a patient the other day (non-COVID) who needed to make drastic changes to his diet and lifestyle based on some new diagnoses he received. He came very close to dying, and was now quite motivated to make changes. I felt so much more authentic in my recommendations to him as I was actually doing the things I was recommending to him. I believe that I was more persuasive to him about the right approach to take because I was doing the same things I was asking him to do. I knew the difficulties that go along with making healthy choices over and over again. While I don’t presume that I know exactly what he’s going through, it seems like his motivation was strong enough to help him overcome those difficulties, and that’s really the key: motivation.