Fitness Isn’t About Determination

Cake Picture

Almost every summer I find myself around ten pounds overweight after starting the year very well [1] so June usually finds me asking myself “how did this happen again?”

The weird thing is most years I can look back at one moment or act that started the downward spiral or bad eating habits.

A few years ago I was part of a volunteer group that picked up donations for a food bank. Of course this also gave me permission to eat a donation every once in a while 🙂

One morning a store donated individual pieces of carrot cake (a personal favorite of mine). One of the volunteers noticed me struggling with the idea of whether to eat the cake, and said, “hey go ahead and eat that man, your really skinny!”

Encouraged by his noticing my weight loss I ate the cake…and it was amazing.

About a month later while loading boxes into a van that same volunteer lovingly pointed out that I had put on five or six pounds.

I don’t blame him for this because I had put on some extra weight (that’s what happens when you have access to free junk food). However it’s amazing that all the trouble started with one piece of cake.

My point is it’s impossible to eat healthy all of the time. Eventually you will eat the piece of cake, and be reminded of just how awesome it is. Of course this will lead to (you guessed it) more pieces of cake.

And this is why fitness cannot be about your determination, or will-power

There is a sense were these things help (especially with exercise) but there will be a moment when all the strength in the world won’t keep you from devouring that piece of carrot cake. And before you know it, the same person who was complimenting your looks is making jokes about your weight.

Okay so if fitness isn’t about will-power what is it about?

Community

We will get into this in a few days, but a true lifestyle of fitness [2] cannot be accomplished on our own since we all have moments of weakness.

So instead there should be training partners who walk along the fitness journey with us.

People who when we are asking “should I eat this cake?” will respond with;

Hey you can eat that cake if you want, but it may not be a good idea, remember what happened last time? [3]

Or make clear if you do eat it then exercise will be necessary

Or offer you a healthy alternative

Yes there will still be moments when you eat the carrot cake (and that’s okay) but after remembering how awesome it tastes, we need training partners who point out what that cake does to us definitely isn’t awesome.


  1. usually gain from mid March to the end of May  ↩
  2. healthy eating and exercise that has energy so that you can be more productive as a goal  ↩
  3. I’m not saying that all junk food of any kind should be eliminated (you can cheat once in a while) but do know from experience it’s REALLY easy to fall into bad eating habits again  ↩

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