My guess is that almost everyone has heard the expression ‘Organized house (office/classroom/desk), organized mind.’ I certainly find a lot of truth in it, but for me an even larger effect on my mental and emotional well-being comes from maintaining a healthy body.
If I’m not exercising, the world is dark place. I’m not the only one to learn this connection in their life. Nor am I the only one to fall prey to the comfort of sleeping in, the distraction of home life, the siren song of popcorn and a movie marathon. Without regular exercise, I feel poorly about myself and question my place in the world. On an intellectual level, I always know that my worth is not tied to my appearance, physical strength or dress size. But there’s no point pretending. I do feel better about myself when my body is strong, more proud of myself when I’m working towards my next training goal, and extra confident when I’ve reached a new achievement. I enjoy the variety and challenge of triathlon training but getting out the door can still be tough. So I occasionally go through a week-long period (or three) of ignoring the weight room, skipping out on runs, avoiding the pool, and making excuses for not getting on the bike. For some reason, this happens most frequently after I get home from traveling – even if I kept training WHILE traveling – so that cause has lost its trigger for awhile.
Similarly, when I’m also eating well I feel like I’m on top of the world. I have ample energy, my sleep is spot on, my mood regulated, my concentration consistent, my attention extended. I make better decisions in the other aspects of my life too. To top it off, if I’m eating poorly, I can expect to spend a fair bit of time bent over in pain, rethinking all of my life’s decisions. Yet too many times I’ve still gone for an easy, grab-and-go deli option or a high-sugar bakery treat rather than a nutrient-dense, pre-planned meal. My dietary will-power the last couple of years hasn’t gotten near the workout that my quads have, which has lead to poor decisions and some sub-par results down the line. This chain of excuses is now at the end of its line.