The Discipline Debate

Nov 2, 2023

Why is it that so many people think having discipline when it comes to good eating choices and exercise is a bad thing? Perhaps it is not that they actually think it is “bad”, but that is often how it can come across. Comments, eye rolls, snuffs, when the dessert tray is “denied,” healthy snack options are brought to gatherings, “special” orders are made at restaurants, time is spent exercising instead of “playing.”  Living in a world of “go with the flow, you only live once,” may be the reason…I like that mentality with many things too. But structure and discipline when it comes to eating and exercise are good too. Someone trying to be the “optimal” version of themselves is also good. 

A few years ago I was in a “rut.” Truly, I had gotten “lost” in “mom-ing” and “wife-ing.” I thought that was fine…until it wasn’t. I am strong and, in that “rut,” I didn’t feel strong. I like giving “all of me” to my people, but I was quickly learning that putting my own health and needs a bit more on the “back burner” wasn’t helping anyone.  Honestly, it was taking a toll on my physical, emotional, and mental well-being. I knew change was needed. For me. For my family. For my sanity. And, let’s face it, change requires discipline. I was eating “well-ish.” I was working out “most days.” Then I made a new commitment to and for myself and, in turn, those around me.

I work out daily. Not because I am obsessed with how I look, but because I know it helps how I FEEL! I like to get up before everyone else in my house to start my day off with a workout. It is what gets me going, what I use as my stress-relief, what jump starts my day. It is a bit of “me time” that is needed to help me be a better me for everyone and things my days bring. Then, often, I end my day with yoga or a good stretch. How I end each day seems to be, for me, just as important in my balance of life as to how I start each day.

And eating – oh, do I like food, all types of food, and carbs are definitely my favorite go to. The carbier (not a word, but it should be) the better. But, I have learned that mindful, clean eats (of or from the earth, without a bunch of added junk), is typically the way for me to go. These choices are personal and help me be, perform, and feel my personal best. Rock hard abs and muscley-muscles come and go. And, to date, no matter what my age or choices, my booty and legs have dimples. Again, it isn’t about external appearance; rather, my long-term journey, who and what I really want to be, what it does for me emotionally, and how what I put INTO my body goes hand-in-hand with what I can expect OUT of it.

Continuing down this path isn’t always easy and I’m not always spot on. But the discipline of the effort and, more often than not, the follow-thru continues to be 100% worth it. I know the “why” to my choices and I have learned to handle many of the grumbles and slack given about it. There is nothing “wrong” with being disciplined in regard to eating or exercise! It is not selfish. In fact, it is good. 

I often wonder why people react as though these choices and level of discipline are such a “bad thing”… and why they feel so comfortable sharing their “lack of support.” When people make comments, is it maybe their own lack of discipline that truly bothers them? Maybe it’s their strong “life is short, enjoy the bad stuff” mentality (which I can kinda wrap my head around sometimes)? Maybe it’s their own annoyances with themselves and their choices?  We may never know and, truthfully, don’t know that we need to.

What I do know, from first-hand experience, discipline in these areas has the ability to lead to better emotional, mental and physical well-being (that can/will hopefully last a lifetime). It has the potential to inspire others (even if they give eye rolls in the process). We are all well worth any bit of time and effort we put into ourselves. We are worth overcoming any harassment we get for it. Like I said earlier, taking care of ourselves first is what only helps us take better care of anyone else. It starts within ourselves – being mindful to what our bodies and minds need. 

If you are one who can eat whatever you want, not workout at all, and still feel great (physically and/or emotionally) OR have great genetics and aren’t at all worried about overall health and/or longevity, more power to ya. If you dig deeper, is it legit? Maybe and that’s ok. If you are one who doesn’t eat because you are worried about the way you look, yet you tend to feel tired and sluggish, it may be time to re-evaluate.  If you are one who hasn’t been feeling well (headaches, joint pain, muscle aches, sleep issues, depression) perhaps this is one place to start. 

No matter the circumstance, I encourage all to be intentional and mindful in noticing. Notice how you really feel while eating or exercising, after you eat or exercise. Notice. Pause. Adjust. Take a week or so to be intentionally aware – mentally, physically, emotionally. To those who give the eye rolls, make the comments, tease another – take a quick second to reflect on that too. Why? And why do you think it’s ok?  Either way, whichever you are, these choices take discipline that is worth it. You are worth it. Those around you are worth it. And that, is something I would venture to say no one can debate.   

(If any of this hit close to home or for more information on mindful eating and/or living, feel free to reach out! I would love to chat with you more about it.)  



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