Love Self

The Power of No, part 1

chocolate cake on chopping board
Photo by Marta Dzedyshko on

Given the photo above, if your thoughts are anywhere close to mine, you can already taste how delicious this treat is. The warm, oozing chocolate slowly dripping from one brownie down to the next. But why stop at two? Never do anything half-hearted they say. Let’s pile up three just for good measure. Yes, now it looks totally amazing! Ok, forget all that, let’s talk about discipline!

Earlier this week was my mom’s birthday, which called for a celebration. I called in the afternoon from my lunch break to talk for a few minutes. Later, when I got home, I sent her a text thanking her for being born. Along with it, I sent a picture of a milkshake that I got to celebrate. After all, she was not around to spend the time with, so this was my quirky way of showing her that I cared. As a matter of habit, I celebrate all kinds of things, big or small.

When I sat at the drive thru, I pondered what size shake to get. I had a minute to think it over before ordering but waited to see what the calorie count was before making my decision. Before I started exercising regularly, I always went with a large – no questions asked. But after spending hours beating my body into submission, I now take a more serious look at what I am eating. When I got to the order board, I saw the calorie count. After the initial unbelief wore off, I downsized to a smaller size. The answer to the math proved to be treacherous. One hundred minutes on a treadmill would incinerate that small milkshake. But was it worth it? Ten minutes of enjoyment at a cost of one hundred minutes of light exercise. Astonishing.

I am grateful to God that our bodies were designed to burn calories even when we are not consciously exerting effort. If every calorie burned depended upon me exerting myself in strenuous activity, I’d choose to live on water. Instead, I can eat things that I like every day. I noticed, however, with age comes the masterful ability to retain weight. I used to laugh when I heard people talk about gaining weight just by looking at food. Now I am starting to understand why they said it.

When first signing up at the gym, the guy told me to keep in mind it was twenty percent exercise and eighty percent diet. What an absurd thought. I can work out 7 days a week and still not make headway because of what I put into my body. After I did the math, it’s not that hard to understand. If I put 3000 calories into my body when my body only needs 2000 to function, it must figure out what to do with the difference between the two. For some arguable reason, it wickedly turns that extra thousand calories of deliciousness into fat in places I don’t want it. It was once a secret where the fat was hidden on me… but the now secret’s out!

Exercising caused me to see firsthand how hard it was to burn calories and I knew more needed to be done. I watched a few others around me exercise self-discipline and found it shocking when they said “no” to something. For example, turning down a donut. Who would have thought you could say no to something like that? Since I am a major foodie, I find it hard to say no to all the goodies laying around. But when I saw it was possible to learn how to say no, it changed my thought process. I knew there was something to this; the power to say no.

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