Do you often have the feeling that the course of your life is largely out of your control? That’s because it is. That great job can evaporate overnight due to a change in the economy or corporate downsizing. Your relationship can crash and burn because your partner decided there was something or someone else they wanted more. Your car can be stolen. Your house can burn down. You can get cancer. There are a lot of things in our lives we’d like to believe we control, but the truth is there is very little that can’t be dramatically changed in our lives due to circumstances beyond our control.
Except for one thing. Our body.
If we eat the right foods in the right quantities at the right time of day, if we exercise religiously in the right ways, we can completely control our body. No one is making us put the food in our mouths. No one is preventing us from exercising. We have absolute control over the shape our body is in.
I’m not saying it’s easy. Not by a long way. Self-discipline is hard. Denying ourselves is hard. But the fact remains that if we do everything right, any of us can have the body we want, and the health benefits to go with it.
I love music, and being the age I am my favorite music is classic rock. I define a lot of things in life by quotes from my favorite songs. In “Lovers in a Dangerous Time”, Bruce Cockburn says “Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight. You’ve got to kick at the darkness ‘till it bleeds daylight”. Truer words were never spoken.
Yes, it’s hard to control our selves. It takes discipline and determination, but the upside is that the outcome is entirely predictable. In a world that is largely out of our control, we can control how we look and feel. And when we succeed in controlling ourselves, we begin to see that while we can’t control a lot of other things in our lives, we can survive whatever life throws at us, because we come to believe in ourselves and our ability to ‘kick at the darkness till it bleeds daylight’.