It is NOT Easy

I've been meaning to post this one for a while now. So I thought now is as good a time as any. Enjoy!

As I was leaving the grocery store recently, it dawned on me that this whole healthy living thing is NOT easy.

You read so many articles, hear clips on morning television how being healthy (losing weight, getting in shape, cooking healthy meals) can be as easy as 1-2-3.

The truth is, they say this to encourage those who need encouraging. Sure, baby steps toward health can be doable (choosing whole wheat over white bread or taking the stairs over the elevator), but overall, this stuff is not intuitive in our society.

  • Driving to multiple stores to buy my favorite local bread, organic produce and Trader Joe's healthy snacks is NOT easy (or cheap)
  • Waking up at 5:30 am to fit in my workout before work on a busy day is NOT easy.
  • Racing home after a tough workout and spending one of my three free hours of the evening preparing veggies, sweet potato, brown rice, etc is NOT easy
  • Remembering my towel, yoga mat, water bottle and clothes for a hot yoga class as I'm racing out the door is NOT always easy (or convenient).  
  • Choosing to eat a bowl of cereal for breakfast over buying a scone or other delicious bakery item is NOT always easy. 
  • Spending my money on a gym, fitness classes and foam rollers is NOT easy on the budget. 

But, for me and my health, it's worth it. The truth is, I've spent enough time, energy and money on these things to see the benefit I earn. But some people have yet to see the benefit they could earn from taking the harder route.

While I can't think of cheaper or faster meals to make than peanut butter and jelly or spaghetti, most people see drive thru's as cheaper and easier. And unfortunately, we weren't all born knowing what is best for our bodies and minds. If we were, obesity would not be the epidemic that it is.

In the cost benefit analysis, I choose the harder route. I don't mean this in some high and mighty way, but my point is that sometimes the commercials, talk shows and ads frustrate me.

Don't get me wrong, I DO think that healthy behaviors can be learned and become intuitive (and easy), but for many it is a constant struggle. We need to be teaching each other that yes, it's tough work, but in the end, it is worth it.

What examples do you have of choices you make in your life for your (or your family's) health that are easy or NOT easy?


And on that note, I've officially spent the last 30 minutes browsing Lululemon for things I can't afford, but desperately want. There's nothing like filling your shopping bag full of things that your dream wallet could afford! 

Resources:
Healthy Eating on a Budget
Academy of Nutrition of Dietetics - all kinds of good nutrition info
Choose My Plate - Track your food, fitness and health!

Comments

I totally agree. It has become easier with time, but in general, it's not easy.

It's not easy to get up at 5:45 on a Saturday morning to meet my running group for our 7 am run, but it's so worth it.

It's not easy to say not to all baked goods, breads, etc because of my gluten intolerance, but my body say thank you.

It's not easy to shell out $6 for a GF loaf of bread that's like 1/2 the size of a normal loaf, but it's really good, and it's worth the money... sort of. ;)
Sometimes it feels weird to say that my JOB is to teach people how to live healthier, but I feel lucky that it is. In our field, we learn the realities of hardship and struggle, even when we think of these choices as "intuitive" and "common sense". More often than not, it's humbling and rewarding, but challenging is definitely the word of the game.

You're right in that what needs to be taught is not that it is "easy", or should "feel easy" to make these choices - but rather than the feeling you get when you make them is worth it! The reward is taking responsibility for your own health.

I'm with you - it is NOT easy to get up around 5:30 on most workout days, because that's when it fits in. It is not easy run to the puke threshold at a race, but totally worth it to see hard work culminate in a goal achieved. :)
missris said…
You are completely right--it's not easy, OR cheap, but in the end it's totally worth it. I feel healthy and strong, and every time I choose to eat an apple instead of chips or opt for a 6am workout on a Friday because I know I need it, I can be happy and confident in the fact that I am treating my body well and as a result, it will treat me well for years to come!
Lindsey said…
Great post Lauren! I think healthy behaviors have become second nature to me, and the decisions I make to be as healthy as possible are easy decisions for me to make. But actually making it happen is not easy. It takes longer to make dinner most nights rather than go out. I try to do food prep on the weekends for the next week which is time consuming but ends up being worth it. And sometimes it really hard to get out the door and workout. I did NOT want to ride my bike last night because it was cold, but I did and it ended up being a great ride!
Whoop! I'm glad you guys liked this post. Sometimes it's a bit scary to post about things that seem a bit "preachy," but I'm usually glad that I did after the fact. :)
J said…
I feel like to have a running buddy who is also a dietician. Its nice to be able to talk about healthy stuff while running and know that even dieticians eat candy!

It is not easy to work and train for a marathon but its worth it!
Taylor B. said…
Riding my bike to work is not easy for me. It means waking up a half hour earlier, showering at work (and preparing ahead to shower at work), being physically active before AND after work when all I really want to do is either be in bed or be home and eating dinner already, and so on. BUT it's easier on the budget than buying a car!! AND it's easier for me to be physically active when I'm forced to. I won't be able to get to and from work if I don't ride! If there was nothing forcing me to do it, physical activities would be near the bottom of my to do list! It's forcing me to be healthier, which somehow makes it a tiny bit easier. I know it's not possible for everyone, but if you can live without a car, at least most days, do it! Such a money saver!
Meggie said…
Eating healthy isn't cheap - but fortunately, my parents think it's important, too. You wouldn't take a drug that did bad things to your body, right? So, why would you do that with food --- well, most of the time at least. I did go to 16 Handles last night...

Fitting in running while in medical school usually isn't easy, but it keeps me sane so I try to fit it in...
You are so right. It's not easy. Or cheap. But neither is grad school. But, do you go farther in your career, make more money...maybe. However, even if you don't go to grad school, you can still be happy and pretty lucrative with your work life, but if you skimp on your health, you are going to pay the price at some point. So isn't it better to "pay the price" now with money and a few hard choices rather than pay it later (or sooner) with your life?
Sarah said…
I definitely agree with you about the problems with ads. I feel like our culture gives us all the wrong signals about being healthy. One minute you're watching a commercial for a weight loss pill, the next it's an ad for fast food, and the next it's a TV show where all the actresses are ridiculously skinny and probably don't have healthy eating habits.
I do my best to eat healthy and exercise in college. And trust me, going to bed at 11 on a Friday so I can wake up for a 16 mile run the next morning is definitely NOT easy when everyone around me is drinking beer and ordering pizza at 3 a.m. But I ran a marathon last month (and finished before many of them probably even got out of bed) so it was TOTALLY worth it.
raulgonemobile said…
We've been doing the Weight Watchers things, and no, it isn't easy. It get EASIER, but it's never easy.

Same with running.. It gets easier, but going out and running 5 miles is never easier than sitting out on a deck having a beer.
Love this post. So true. It is NOT easy to drag myself out of bed at 6 am on a Sunday of the long weekend to run for 3 hours!

I have to admit I've been going the "easy" route on food a little too much lately... Luckily my grandma just made me a ton of veg soup and cabbage rolls to freeze and take for lunches over the next few weeks which will hopefully help me get back on track!
Scarlett said…
So true! It's actually quite tough. Especially when your back aches and there are many people around you staying skinny by smoking and drinking diet coke.
Dawnetta Rios said…
Lauren, I don't think this is preachy at all. If you pretend that it is easy, people wonder what is wrong with them because they experience struggle. It isn't honest. We all face obstacles, have to problem-solve and make mistakes. :)

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