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Resolving conflicting values of fitness & cake

By Matt O'Neill, MSc(Nut&Diet), APD

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You like fitness & cake! But can you have both? I explain how conflicting values hamper weight management success & how to resolve the conflict for a real breakthrough.

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Values are at the heart of who we are?

Values are at the heart of who we are. Most people have the core values of 'honesty' & 'integrity'. Some people value 'money' above all else, whilst for others 'family' is the most important value.

We tend to get on the best with people who have the same values.

So, what happens when 'cake' is one of your core values?

I don't actually mean 'cake' but more like you value 'enjoyment', 'relaxation' or 'socialising', all of which can involve foods, like chocolate, cookies or cake.

These food-related values may have developed from an early age & are reinforced or even celebrated every time you visit family. They are hard to shake off.

So where does fitness fit in?

When you start a fitness, nutrition or weight loss program, you are trying to add 'fitness' & also likely 'discipline' to your list of core values.

This often sets you on a path of furious gym sessions & "no cake" to get lean & ripped.

But your values for cake (enjoyment, relaxation & socialising) remain in place, causing a conflict that wears you down, triggers a slip-up & ultimately causes you to break your program & drop out.

You see this as failure, but it's not. It's simply a case of conflicting values that you need to resolve.

Do you need new values?

What if you choose to adopt the values of 'balance' & 'wellbeing' where you strive to exercise regularly but also give yourself permission to enjoy the occasional slice of cake for 'enjoyment'.

Imagine that... a flexible approach & not an all or nothing approach that falls apart at the first bite of cake. This flexible approach may in fact help you achieve better results over the coming months & years than your previous efforts at perfection.

What I'm talking about is that some people's values of fitness & disciple come naturally, always has & always will. They are never tempted by cake.

But you may be different. Your family may have always celebrated with food & lots of it.

Awareness & acknowledgement of conflicting values is the first step

Being aware that conflicting values can be at the heart of personal challenges to become fit, strong & healthy helps to start create a mind-shift in thinking.

This doesn't mean in any way that you have to accept your values for cake & think they will prevent you from being fit. Of course, you will still be striving to save cake as a 'sometimes' food.

Acknowledging conflicting values should help you forgive yourself for slip ups & not expect to instantly trade values in your life.

The result can be that you pick yourself up again more quickly after a blow-out & get back on target with your nutrition.

Your know the saying, "Consistency beats perfection."

You may even surprise yourself that your value for fitness grows stronger than you ever thought possible & you naturally eat less cake.

So, the next time you think your willpower has failed, remind yourself... "That's just my conflicting values!" and take steps to resolve the conflict & support your healthy values.



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