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Take a Ride on the Virtuous Cycle

woman-bikeNo, not that kind of cycle!

The “virtuous cycle” is a pattern of behavior – just as is the “vicious cycle.” And just like the vicious cycle, the virtuous cycle is self-reinforcing. That is, the more you do it the more it becomes engrained. Over time, the effort required to sustain it lessens because the behaviors become habitual.

If the vicious cycle looks like this:

Overeat > feel physically sick > skip workout > feel guilty > repeat.

Then the virtuous cycle looks like this:

Make good food choices > feel better > choose to exercise > feel empowered > repeat.

The virtuous cycle isn’t a moral high ground, though you may find you carry yourself with a certain swagger because of the pride you have in your accomplishment. It’s virtuous in the sense that these are principled behaviors that are aligned with our healthy living goals. When our actions are aligned with our goals we sleep better at night, and we expend a whole lot less energy beating ourselves up over our “failings.”

Breaking the vicious cycle is very difficult. Nobody appreciates that more than someone who was morbidly obese for 20+ years. (Ahem, me.) Maybe you’ve managed to do it briefly, but lapsed back into the vicious cycle.

That’s not failure! That’s feedback! Do it differently this time.

This time, exercise. Exercise consistently – at least five times a week (six is better).

Exercise breaks the vicious cycle.

Exercising consistently keeps you in the virtuous cycle.

Staying in the virtuous cycle is how you lose weight and keep it off for the rest of your life.

Is it hard? Pfffft, don’t be ridiculous. Of course it’s hard! When have you ever done anything worth doing that wasn’t hard? But I swear, it gets easier. And you’re so damn worth it it’s not even funny!

Let’s go get it!

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