Post written by Leo Babauta.
Many people don’t exercise or eat healthy because they think it’s hard or takes discipline.
They’re missing out on a lot of fun.
If you do it the wrong way, exercise is difficult and boring and too much work. If you do it the wrong way, eating healthy takes too much discipline. And so people (myself included, just a few years ago) often do unhealthy things, because it’s easier or more fun. It’s easy to not exercise, and to watch TV or surf the Internet instead. It’s more fun to eat a pile of nachos or fries, to eat fried chicken or sweets.
We want fun, not strict discipline and boringness.
The trick is fairly simple: figure out what’s healthy, and figure out what’s fun. Then find the area where the two circles intersect.
When those two worlds collide, look out. You’re on your way to being fit.
Food That’s Healthy AND Delicious
When we see healthy diets as boring and bland, we can’t stick with them for more than a short while. Sometimes a week or two, sometimes only a few days.
But if you can find delicious, healthy food, it’s easy to stick with a healthy diet.
I generally eat just a few types of plant foods (no animal foods, for ethical reasons): lots of veggies, fruits, beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains. Some wine, coffee, tea. I eat a few foods in modest amounts, only occasionally: sweets, processed grains, fried foods, sugary beverages.
Boring? Not if you do it right.
For example, here are some foods I find delicious:
- Nut butter (almond butter especially)
- Steel-cut oats with flaxseeds, fruit, cinnamon
- Stir-fried veggies w/ olive oil, spices
- Spicy tahini sauce on brown rice, kale, black beans
- Veggie chili
- Veggie curries w/ coconut milk
That’s just a start. And that’s just my tastebuds — yours are different, of course. You need to find the foods you love that are also healthy. That takes some experimenting. Also, I’ve found that tastebuds change over time. So give different foods a chance.
I don’t do boring exercise. If I hate doing something, I stop doing it. I don’t have enough life left to waste doing stuff I hate.
But I exercise almost every single day, because I love it. How did I learn to love exercise? It’s simple: I play.
I play every day, and I love it. When exercise is play, you’re not forcing yourself to do it — you *want* to do it.
Some examples of ways I play:
- I go on runs with a friend, and have long conversations.
- I go to the playground with my kids, and climb monkeybars with them.
- I play soccer or basketball with the kids.
- I throw my kids around, let them ride on my shoulders, swing them, do pushups with them on my back.
- I race the kids up hills.
- I throw heavy stuff around (sandbags, kettlebells, logs).
- I go on hikes with family or friends.
- I do races now and then, for the fun of it (no goals).
Those are just some examples, and again, they’re what I like to do. What’s fun for you will be very different. And again, it takes some experimenting to find what’s fun for you.
Don’t do boring exercise. Find where fun and fit collide. It makes a world of difference.