The "horse" I'm referring to is unique to you. It's whatever challenge, obstacle, problem or situation you struggle with. We all have them and I'm no different.
The "horse" I've been bucked off of, am staring at and contemplating is exercise and nutrition.
For as long as I can remember I've always been an active person - working out and exercising regularly. During my late 20s and early 30s I saw my weight climb and my body transform into one that I wasn't necessarily happy with. I was bummed out and I couldn't figure out why. How could I weigh more than 200 lbs and have a body fat % of 23% when I was exercising and working out 3-5 times per week? Isn't this what the doctor ordered? Isn't that what my mother encouraged?
Yes, but what the doctor didn't tell me, and what my mother didn't share is that what you put into your body is more important than what you do with it.
After taking an inventory on my nutrition, I had to be honest with myself and accept the fact that I was consuming the least healthy foods available and ignoring the fuels my body needs. Breakfast was cereal, Lunch was on the go and Dinner was often after 7 PM. Staples in my nutrition were the following foods: burgers, pizza, burritos, alcohol, cookies... I could go on and on. Absent were these fuels: fruits, vegetables and whole foods (non-processed and low-fat).
In November of 2011, after hitting rock bottom with my health and nutrition, I set out on a pilgrimage to health - optimal health. It was a pilgrimage that would change the way I thought about and viewed exercise and nutrition and one that would dramatically alter the way I looked and felt.
Within three months of setting out on this pilgrimage, I'd reached my destination. I had lost 35 lbs and lowered my body fat % from 23 to 11. I had never looked better physically or felt better mentally. Not only was I on the "horse", but I was in control of it.
There were no magic pills or short cuts. Only hard work, discipline and commitment. In addition to hitting the gym and exercising regularly, I joined a yoga studio and began practicing hot yoga. I also eliminated the foods I loved and consumed the fuels my body needed. Goodbye burgers, pizza, burritos, alcohol and cookies! Hello greens, vegetables, tofu and fruits.
But slowly, I've fallen off and my weight and body fat % is creeping back up.
There are a number of contributing factors, but none of them are excuses. This is on me! First, I became content with where I was. Second, I convinced myself that I could eat the foods I love, the foods I gave up during my pilgrimage, and that I didn't need the fuels my body craves. Then, there was the injury to my shoulder that kept me from working out and practicing yoga for six months. A perfect storm was bearing down on me.
Before my exercise and nutrition spiral out of control, I'm choosing to do something about it (Step 1). Now, I have to do something about it (Step 2) - the hard part.
This isn't a story about what I've done in the past. It's a story about what I'm going to do today and tomorrow. It's about making a commitment and having the discipline to follow through on that commitment.
Where I'm at today is where I believe most people are when they have the reigns in-hand, but have yet to put their foot in the stirrup.
But HOW do I get back on the "horse"? I'm not certain what will work for you, but what works for me is this.
First, make the choice. Then, commit to your choice. Once committed, write a personal daily affirmation statement related to your choice and read it as many times a day as needed until it's committed to memory. And then, take the first step of your pilgrimage.
Isaac Newton's first law of motion is paraphrased as, a body at rest stays at rest while a body in motion stays in motion.
My personal daily affirmation:
Today's the day I decided to change. Today's the day I set out on my pilgrimage to health. Today's the day that I will fill my body with the fuel it needs and avoid the foods I want. Today's the day that I take control.
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." - Lao-tzu