One thing that has been on my mind lately is how often I’m told by people that they could never do X because they aren’t willing to accept the discomfort associated with it. Whether it’s exercise, abstaining from alcohol, or adopting a new lifestyle; people want change to happen in their lives without any discomfort. Well, I have some bad news: It’s just not possible, and it’s just not going to happen.
Discomfort comes in many forms: physical, emotional, tiredness, loneliness, hunger, among others. When I did my first Whole30, there was a lot of discomfort. Not only did I find myself under emotional duress at not being able to eat all day (something I did for comfort), but I found myself hungry and feeling the most intense flu-like symptoms I’ve had without actually having the flu. The good news is that it passed relatively quickly for me, but in learning a new way of eating, I faced more discomfort as I felt uneasy and awkward with what I could vs couldn’t eat.
Right now, as I write this, I feel slight discomfort. My legs are sore from the great run I had last night, and my arms are sore from the 70 push ups I did within 2 minutes (not my max; I stop before my arms strain too much). My stomach is also grumbling because I’m about 20 minutes out from my regular lunchtime, and since I’m doing IF, I have to stick to the plan. Is this discomfort going to kill me? No. It’s all manageable, and if I am being completely honest, I kind of like it. It reminds me that I’m active, I’m engaged in my health and fitness, and I’m able to persevere past slight discomfort.
I also felt some discomfort last night in the last quarter of a mile of my three-mile run. Now, anytime I feel pain during a run, I make a quick determination as to whether the pain is injury-related, or my body getting used to the exertion. In this case, I quickly realized that it was my body being pushed to its limit, so while I backed off just a tiny bit to allow the pain to subside, I immediately kicked it back up as soon as the pain went away and ended up finishing strong. Again, this was an acceptable amount of discomfort, but it’s all for a good reason: my fitness.
Have you ever been fishing? If you haven’t, allow me to explain. When you hook a fish, it immediately begins to fight against the hook and your line. Depending on the size and type of fish, these fights can last a long time. I caught a jack earlier this year, and the fight took over an hour. I felt every pulse of the fish as he fought me. I ended up prevailing and the fish eventually tired out and couldn’t fight against me reeling him in. But he never fully gave up. I am certain that he felt all kinds of discomfort (I know I did, and for days afterward!) but the discomfort was worth it to the fish because he believed his life depended on it. In the end, it did not, as I released him back into his home, but the lesson is clear: if you value the outcome enough, no level of discomfort is unacceptable.
Anything worthwhile takes, effort, time, and will often be accompanied by discomfort. You have to learn to accept discomfort if you want to accomplish anything in life, not just weight loss, improved health, and fitness. They do, however, go hand-in-hand. You’d be surprised at the amount of discomfort you can put up with when you value the outcome greatly enough.