My son went to a football practice for the first time this week. We wanted to give him a chance to check out team sports and meet new children. He had a blast that night, running and crouching with a bunch of other kids.
But by the next morning, he shared that he didn’t want to go back, because he felt sore. (Did I mention this was an extra-lengthy session for some reason?) I tried to explain that he might feel sore because he was using muscles that he doesn’t normally use, that his body was “practicing” and getting used to moving in the ways he was moving at the practice. Even with this explanation, though, the end result is still no more football.
The experience of stepping out of one’s comfort zone for physical activity has a counterpart in what’s needed to change eating habits. You have to exercise your “eating muscles,” so to speak, by getting used to eating new foods and getting used to eating less food.
I often hear people complain about being hungry on diets, or not wanting to try to lose weight because they don’t think they can survive on less food. My arguments would be, one, that choosing the right healthy foods can be filling, and two, you’ll be surprised by how easily your mind and body adapt to eating less if you let them. It really is a matter of giving your body practice time with a new way of life.
And guess what? “Practice” means that sometimes you get it right, and sometimes you don’t. It means there’s ample opportunity to learn and change what doesn’t work. It means challenges aren’t failures, just part of the learning curve.
You haven’t stretched your healthy “eating muscles” before now. Be patient, be persistent, and reap the results.