Why Exercise Is More About Self-Control Than Results

by Te-Erika Patterson

I know you have a craving — it’s not for brownies or Starbucks or even multiple orgasms. You are craving the ever elusive "AFTER" photo; the one that publicly brags that you were strong enough and smart enough to shed those extra pounds. Whether you feel like weight loss is the key to your happiest self or you cringe every time you look in the mirror, you’ve taken an active interest in diet and exercise, but not just to lose weight.

We hope for an even bigger, intangible reward; we want to feel the exhilarating power of being in control. Life is crazy most of the time. Most of us feel as though life is simply happening to us as we watch events unfold. Even when we dare take a risk, we too often pull back too quickly due to unpredictable, threatening factors. If we had magic wands, we’d simply zap our ways into dream jobs, draw dream lovers into our bedrooms and eat anything we wanted without gaining weight.

Alas, there was no magic wand in the crayon boxes, so we must handle life’s complexities as they come. But, what if there were some area of our lives that we could tame and control? What if all we needed to do to be successful was to study, take action and show discipline, and progress would materialize right before our eyes?

This is possible in consciously embracing fitness and a healthy lifestyle. Gym rats show up to the gym religiously because they experimented with a fitness routine, experienced the results and became addicted to the power of tangible progress.

We lack control in so many areas of our lives that we yearn for any opportunity to take the reigns. Some people turn to alcohol and others lean into their careers, hoping that the efforts to produce income and accolades will lead them to feel valuable. Others try different diets to develop a system for fitness that works for them.

These health buffs — much like alcoholics who hide from their lives and workaholics who seek value through capitalist achievements — are adamant about steering their bodies in a direction that pleases them because they have a need to steer, to drive and to be in control of something.

But, we are in control, regardless of whether or not we choose to believe it. Somewhere along the path, we may have been convinced to avert our focus to more trivial matters. We lament the powerlessness we feel about not being able to force our bosses to promote us or not being able to guarantee it won’t rain on our wedding day.

But, when it comes to fitness, if we routinely try, learn, experiment and adjust, our bodies will bow to our commands and respond to willpower.

We can’t control the weather and we won’t always finish in first place, but upon lacing up our sneakers and grabbing our gym bags, we walk toward our futures with a greater determination. Results are truly only in our hands.

For more intriguing wisdom that will guide you through life's complexities, please visit My Savvy Sisters, the leading empowerment blog for women.

Photo via We Heart It