Healthy Lifestyle-What’s in Your Control?

A healthy lifestyle change isn’t easy. Even when you know what’s best for you, the inevitable happens. You’re stuck in a place where you feel you have no control, and your intention to make healthier choices is thrown out the window. So, you ask, why even bother?

Sometimes we can be faced with this challenge. We come across a situation that makes us feel discouraged. We start to question the value of the healthy journey we embarked on. Is it worthwhile to bear the struggle? Impatience ensues because we’ve been longing to see results. And it seems you’ve run out of steam and no longer feel in control.

When my level of confidence heads south, and I get disheartened with my goals to commit to my wellness vision, I like
to find inspiration in books. One I’m currently reading is The Obstacle is The Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials in Triumph by Ryan Holiday. The first chapter talks about the ‘Discipline of Perception’ with bulleted points to remember when we face challenges. I’ve written them down on a small blackboard that’s on a wall across from our downstairs bathroom, where I can read them a few times a day:control

Here’s an excerpt from the book:  There are a few things to keep in mind when faced with a seemingly insurmountable obstacle.  We must try:

  • To be objective
  • To control emotions and keep an even keel
  • To choose to see the good in a situation
  • To steady our nerves
  • To ignore what disturbs or limits others
  • To place things in perspective
  • To revert to the present moment 
  • To focus on what can be controlled


What’s in your Control?

Let’s zoom in on the last point – to focus on what can be controlled. When it comes to a healthy lifestyle, ask what is in your control? What choices are available?

Last week, I felt like I was in a bind deciding what to eat for dinner while on a road trip. My kids and I were driving back home from a short vacation to Myrtle Beach to visit my mom. While it’s usually a 6.5-hour drive, the traffic slowed us down. I had planned to make it back early enough to have dinner when we got home. Unfortunately, with the traffic, my choices were to eat late or make a quick stop on the road.

Since I’m not a big fan of eating late at night, I opted to grab something quick. This limited the choices to what’s available in the area that we can eat in the car. The girls agreed to a barbecue joint where I got chicken, green beans, and corn on the cob. While I was in control of making this choice, the way they seasoned the food was out of my control. The challenge with eating out is you never know how generous the cooks are with their salt. Let’s just say I needed to drink a lot of water to wash it all down.

While this was a one-time experience, I feel that every time we travel, it’s more difficult to make healthier choices. So I’m working on improving this to stay consistent with my vision of a healthy lifestyle.

Lessons from this experience:
Lesson 1 – when traveling, plan ahead! Have a few restaurants in mind with healthier options and dine-in instead of eating in the car.
Lesson 2 – one wrong choice or experience doesn’t define my overall health journey. I know when I return home, I’ve set up the foundation in our kitchen to always have healthy choices available.
Lesson 3 – acceptance. When things are not in my control, I just learn to accept them and move on.

With change, there will come a time when you’re faced with a situation beyond your control.  How would you react to it?  What would be a helpful response?