On “learned behaviors”

Well. I’m glad you all got a kick out of me and my sister’s “progress report” on Core Fusion last night. I can tell you – we had FAR more fun writing that post than you probably did reading it. So thank you for indulging our goofy humor on that one. 😉

Anyway, a recent comment from my super-duper inspiring runner blog friend Naomi got me thinking about learned behaviors.

I had the same reaction when Rulon said those words, probably because up until 7 years ago, I didn’t know *how* to be responsible for my health. Now, in her 60′s, my mom is only just now learning how to be responsible her self. Its been eye opening and made me realize that its something that people need to learn, not something that’s just a given.

Her comment was in reference to my post about the Biggest Loser and one of the contestants who mentioned that they were so grateful for getting something back they didn’t know they lost. Their confidence. Their ability to live a fuller, happier life. To learn how live a fit and healthy life.

Learning how to live a fit and healthy life. That’s the clincher.

It’s not an innate behavior. It’s a learned behavior.

This caused me to stop and think. For me – living fit and healthy comes naturally…it’s practically innate. That simple fact is so easy to take for granted. That my lifestyle is just part of who I am and it’s been that way for so long, I can’t even put a finger on exactly when this became so ingrained in my life. I mean, I have a general idea, but you get the idea.

Fitness, healthy living, balance. These are not learned behaviors. Yet it’s so easy to take that simple fact for granted. That and being ABLE to live this way.

This is a sobering reminder to me – especially on days (like today) when I battle my internal demons who “yell” at me when I end up with two rest days in one week vs. one…or miss / change up a “planned” workout for another. As if there is something so terribly wrong with that. There certainly is not. I admit that I still battle things like that – rest days, the numbers game, etc. So when I sit back and realize that I’m lucky to have this love of fitness so ingrained in who I am? Well, I feel downright silly for those mind games I sometimes still get caught up in.

So I guess what this all boils down for me is this: appreciate that you have learned how to live the life you lead and to love the life you live. Not everyone has learned this behavior yet…and some, well they never will. I find that very sad. It sure makes me rethink my college education…if I could rewind? Sure, I’d love to be a nutritionist or a personal trainer or something related to helping people live healthier, fit lives. To discover that learned behavior and embrace it.

I guess that’s why this blog is still so important to me…even though I battle that thing called presence sometimes, I’m finding that balance. Because I need this outlet to share my passion, to hopefully inspire just one person to move a little more everyday. Anything at all. Just move.

27 thoughts on “On “learned behaviors”

  1. gosh, you are so right! My mom is just now starting to work out and I am so proud of her. But me, how could i go without it in my blood?! I am thankful for what i have learned.

  2. It really is a habit. My husband is always like, “But you like eating that way, it’s easy for you.” But what he doesn’t realize is that I learned to like it. When I was a kid, I liked to eat Big Macs.

    • Yes!! What a great point, Lee. Yes, it IS a learned behavior even for those of us who have learned to live this way for years. It doesn’t mean it’s always “easy” though…god what I would’ve given to eat about five chocolate chip cookies (homemade) last night after dinner! But I refrained..only having a nibble of the cookie my husband had and I was ok with that. Not to say I don’t eat cookies of my own here and there…it’s about smart choices and giving in sometimes, while sticking to your guns other times (sticking to your guns is hard, no matter how long you’ve lived this way).

  3. You have so eloquently put my thoughts into words. I started writing a post on a similar topic and felt that I could write a whole book on it. You’re right, we can’t take these gifts lightly; it’s things that we need to be reminded of and pay it forward.

    • Eloquent? Here I was thinking I was rambling along when I wrote this last night – I even had my husband read it to tell me if it was too rambly and all over the place! I love the whole pay it forward concept…you are so right.

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  5. “I admit that I still battle things like that – rest days, the numbers game, etc. So when I sit back and realize that I’m lucky to have this love of fitness so ingrained in who I am? Well, I feel downright silly for those mind games I sometimes still get caught up in.”

    Wow, it feels like you could have written this post for me Jess! Here’s me stressing about pace, about a dropped 1.5 miles, about a couple of extra rest days because I busted my ass all weekend working on my thesis.. And what that means is that when I DO finally get out there and run, I stress through that as well, and don’t enjoy it. What a moron!

    K. I am banishing the Garmin. I am banishing thoughts of numbers. And I am going to just go out and enjoy being on my own two feet next time. Because you’re right, that in itself is a something to be really proud of, and thankful for 🙂

    • YAY! Banish that garmin and just run. Breathe it in and enjoy it. You are healthy and fit and strong. A few days “off” while writing your thesis is no big deal! You know how to get right back to it, just trust your body, it will never let you down if you trust it. Surrender. 😉

  6. Like yourself, I’d love to learn more about nutrition and healthy living. I do have American Council on Exercise Personal Trainer and the Lifestyle and Weight Management Consultant but would love to do something nutrition based. Have you looked into any nutrition courses?

    • I haven’t looked into it really but would love to at least explore it. For now, this blog is my connection to all things fitness and health (and good eats!). Very cool about your certifications! How long did it take you to get them? Do you use them in your professional life currently?

      • It took me about a year to get the two certifications. I just used to study the books when I had time in the evenings and weekends. I get to use some of the material I learnt in work and I’ve helped a few friends with healthy eating (not that I always practice what I preach). I did work for a weight loss group similar to Weight Watchers (that was an eye opening experience, hated it and kind of scary how the weightloss companies work). I think in the future, I’d like to do something health related again. I think you’d like the two courses from American Council on Exercise, I really enjoyed learning about exercise and health and fitness.

  7. I grapple with this regarding my parents. My father’s side of the family has a history of diabetes, with my father being diagnosed a few years ago, and overweight. My mother has had some leg injuries, and it has kept her from doing basic things such as walking for exercise. Both my parents have tried to get into shape, diet, etc, but they keep falling off the bandwagon. After reading your last couple of posts it has given me a lot to think about, and a renewed hope that I may still be able to help them to not only WANT to live a healty life, but to also learn how to do it.

    As for your numbers game, I consistently fall into that trap as well, and it is something I need to get better about so I am not psychologically beating myself up all of the time. Thanks for the posts!

    • Wow. Your comment totally touched me! Thank you so much for stopping by. I am so hopeful right along with you that you can help your parents find a happy medium towards a more healthy lifestyle. Every little change counts so don’t lose hope!

      As for the numbers game, it makes me feel a zillion times better to know I’m not alone in that battle. Thanks for admitting to it, it’s hard sometimes to admit to stuff like that sometimes.

  8. For me, healthy living had to be learned. It did not come naturally to me and I spent hours reading about workouts and learning to cook healthy food. It was forced for a little while, but I found my passion and continue to live a healthy lifestyle in the best way I know how. Since making changes in my own life, the people around me have made small changes, too. I notice; however, that they made these changes because I did, but they haven’t made them habit or taken ownership of them yet. A balanced life is a work in progress.

  9. I love this post sis and all of the feedback here! It really IS almost innate. There is just something about getting moving, whether it’s CF or Ride or a weight workout, I love that feeling after working out and it lends to a good, balanced lifestyle. Nothing like it.

    • Totally right – there really is nothing quite like it…but if you’ve never really felt what “it” feels like, it’s SO hard to describe and to get those who haven’t figured out the balanced healthy lifestyle thing yet what we mean by that “it” feeling, you know?

  10. such an important post with so many winderful points! YOu are right, we cannot take the fact that we know how to live healthy and balanced for granted bc SO MANT PEOPLE have lost that ability! It is utterly sad but lucky for you, you are inspiring people to learn to get back to living a balanced life!! Good for you!

  11. As someone who is still learning to love fitness, I can definitely attest to the fact that healthy living, fitness and so on are learned behaviors for me. I used to love being active, but not necessarily being fit. I did it because I enjoyed it. Having lost that enjoyment, I find myself doing it because “I have to,” which often results in not doing it because “I don’t want to.” I’m hoping my challenge, making it a daily habit, creates a bit of that natural affection again.

    For those who are naturally inclined to fitness and health, don’t take it for granted! It’s such a gift, as much as being able to play an instrument or fix automobiles.

    Your blog has inspired at least one person 😀

    • I’m so excited for your challenge – I really do think that you will learn to love it again and I have all the faith in the world that this challenge will do just that for you! Keep it up girlfriend!

  12. I think I’m going to go out on a limb and slightly disagree. I mean, we learned to eat poorly and be lazy based on the way our society is. Once upon a time, people were active, they worked for their food, they didn’t sit behind desks, they didn’t have fast food joints and pre-packaged meals.

    We learn from those around us as well. If we grow up with eating out, pre-packaged, little exercise, then that’s what we know. But does that mean that being healthy isn’t innate and that being unhealthy is?

    We know better – children might, but as adults we know. We know we should be active, we should eat better. It’s just a matter of actually acting on that knowledge.

    • Wow. Interesting perspective, Heather. Seriously.

      I agree with you on learning from how we were raised – my mom was big into giving us healthful snacks like raisins over candy, fruit over soda. Stuff like that. Sure, some of that crept into the kitchen here and there over the years, but it was largely her doing that instilled the healthy eating mindset. So you’re right, we learn from our environment, totally.

      And, you are definitely right about us “knowing better” as adults…it’s just like any other bad habit though, once it’s there, it’s so hard to break. To change how “we’ve always done it” which I think is the bigger problem we face as a society.

  13. What a great post to read on a day when I have to miss a workout because I’m sick! My lifestyle feels so right to me, that I forget what it feels like to look at working out as a chore like it is to a lot of people out there.

    • Aw I love it! Thank you for stopping by, I love your perspective…so true, working out is just what I do, it’s part of my day and is never a chore (well *almost* never and if it ever does feel like a chore? Well maybe a rest day is in order then, right??)

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