Your Most Powerful Exercise Might Happen in Your Brain

It’s the Monday after Thanksgiving weekend. Are you like me … feeling a little bit like a stuffed turkey? 😉 I had two Thanksgiving feasts and lots of extra food over the weekend. It was all very tasty, but I can’t eat like that all of the time.

Do you know what is most dangerous about a day or weekend where you don’t eat like you know you should? The NEXT day. The NEXT week.

Sure, it’s not good for us to over-indulge every day. No one should have Thanksgiving feasts on a daily basis. But, it was just one day. (Or, like in my case, one weekend.) What is important is this question: What are you going to do today?

For me, it’s easy to think, “Well, I’m not a healthy eater, so I might as well give up! Here comes the holiday season. I’ve already blown it.”

I should not admit how many pieces of pie I had over the weekend.

I should not admit how many pieces of pie I had over the weekend.

But, the truth is, I didn’t eat healthy for a few days, but that doesn’t mean I should throw in the towel. It just means I need to decide what I’m going to choose today. What am I going to eat today? How am I going get some exercise in today?

It has been said that if you want to improve an area of your life, you should look to someone who is already doing — and succeeding at — what you want to do. So, if you want to be better with your finances, you should talk with someone who is good with their finances. If you want to do better in the weight room, you should talk to someone who knows what they are doing. (You might start with Jessica! 🙂 )

I am not an expert at nutrition. I am not an expert at exercise. I think I’m an expert in giving up on things because of one bad day or one bad weekend. It’s really silly, I know. In fact, it’s kind of pathetic. It’s the perfectionist in me. If I can’t do something perfectly, then I just give up.

Temporary Defeat Hill

You know when I like to give up the most? Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. I mean, it’s the most wonderful time of the year! It is fun to celebrate with friends and family, and celebrations always include food! And I’m usually up late working on various Christmas gifts or holiday activities, so my exercise routine goes to the pits.

Maybe some of you can relate.

It’s certainly not evil to enjoy some holiday celebrations. I’m most concerned about the attitude that starts creeping in my mind, and maybe yours, too. The idea that you are a failure because you ate too much pie on Thanksgiving, or ate too many cookies when you decorated them with your kids, or missed your exercise routine because you were traveling. It’s so easy to just give up.

Here’s the problem. You aren’t a failure. Yes, you made some unhealthy choices for a day or so, but that doesn’t not make you an unhealthy person. Notice the difference in these two phrases:

  • I am unhealthy.
  • I made some unhealthy choices.

The first gives you a label, and the second gives your choices a label. It doesn’t seem like much of a difference, but it really is. When we start labeling ourselves, we start beating ourselves up. And if we get defeated in our minds, it’s hard to convince the rest of our body to cooperate.

So, let’s work on exercising our brains by training our thoughts. Here are some phrases we can repeat on this Monday after Thanksgiving:

  • I made a few unhealthy choices, but today is a new day for new choices.
  • I am on a journey to better health. Thanksgiving was a tasty detour, but I’m back on the right track today.
  • I am not a failure.

What things are you doing to exercise your brain and use your mind to improve your health? Share some in the comments to encourage us all. And check out our latest Small Changes Challenge on Facebook. Jessica will be writing more about it here on the blog tomorrow. Let’s make this a great holiday season! And let’s start by not beating ourselves up over a few bad choices.



CoriCori is a wife, mom of three and random writer who is learning how to take small steps towards big goals. She tends to be an all-or-nothing kind of person, but a journey to learn how to run (something she always hated) has taught her a lot about gradual, slow change. She has a degree in journalism and enjoys doing research and writing.


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