LIFE IS NOT easy, and the journey to remain in health or regain our health is possibly one of the most difficult we make. At this time of the year, many of us are committing to doing that––some of us because we overindulged during the holiday season, and some of us because we realize that we let our health get away from us in 2017. This is a good start, but all of us must learn to see our health not as something we give our attention to temporarily or after a period of ill-discipline. Preserving our health should be a lifelong commitment. It’s ironic that the word ‘diet’––now associated with a few weeks here and there of healthy eating––comes from the Greek word diaita, meaning ‘way of life’.
A lifelong commitment to health is not the same as a lifelong struggle. It can be hard to stay healthy, but if we slip up or fall off the wagon, we haven’t failed. We simply need to dust ourselves off and start again. Similarly, by approaching our health as something we work on every day, we’re less likely to fall into the ‘fad diet’ trap or set our goals so high that we’re doomed to lose motivation, suffer and eventually abandon those goals. Instead, we can set realistic and attainable targets, and little by little, work towards them every day. Counter-intuitively, without any impending ‘deadline’ (but perhaps periodic milestones) we are more likely to take the small steps necessary to ensure long-term health success, develop discipline and willpower and rewire our brains so that we see diet not as something we sometimes do, but as part of who we are.