A friend of mine (not the guy above!) has recently given up eating potatoes.
He has also given up exercising his abs’ in the course of his full body workout as I advised him to (but that’s a subject for a whole different blog post).
My friend, who turned 50 a few months ago, has been concerned about his creeping weight, particularly around the waist (those pesky abs’ again) and decided to do something about it.
Enter our good friend, the internet, and what it has to say about what we eat.
Now, as it turns out, swapping potatoes (starchy, sugary and packed with the wrong kind of carbohydrates) with rice (the exact reverse of the above) is not in itself a bad idea - hear my podcast from March on this very topic.
In fact, giving up one kind of unhelpful food for another more nutritious option is a very good idea and my friend is already singing the praises of brown rice.
What is not so good, however, is giving up on following a healthy lifestyle or taking part in regular exercise. Changing horses is one thing (as with my friend and his diet), but pulling out of the healthy living race is another thing entirely.
Most people who exercise, or who pay attention to what they eat, usually try different routines in the gym and/or dial down one foodstuff over another at some point in their lives for reasons of health. In my experience, these kinds of changes tend to be temporary, short-lived or take place in a process of filtering to find the right balance for a long-term lifestyle.
As such, some of these changes can stick (once I factored running into my workout it stayed with me from that point on, for example) and some can come and go. But being alert to how we live and what we do with our bodies is in itself a good thing, as it shows we are willing to make changes for the better and to stay with those changes that work for us.
Giving up in the face of challenge or focusing on ill-chosen priorities (the ‘I have no time anymore for the gym or for eating healthily' line) are, however, always the wrong paths to do down. We can all be thrown off course at different times in our lives, but failing to get back on course can lead to weakness, self-doubt and wasted opportunities that may not come round again. It certainly takes effort to run the race of life, but that effort is a good investment in the long term and enriches our experiences when we put our running shoes on.
So, embrace the potential that change offers and enjoy what it can bring, whether it is in what we eat or drink, how we live our lives or the direction we decide to go in for the long term. Such changes may not work out or they may create opportunities we cannot foresee, but the adventure of life is still worth the effort whatever the outcome.
Just don’t give up if life pushes back, because that can take all options off the table.