I saw a facebook status the other day that said:
"Trying to decide if I should be happy and fat, or thin and miserable"
The presuppositions in that statement... staggered me.
I think many of us associate "healthy" with sacrifice, giving up what we love, and forcing ourselves to do things that we don't want to do... and I think that's why so many of us struggle with it.
The truth of the matter is, with that mindset, they're right. They have to choose between happiness and health. Which is bull-kaka.
#1: Myth "Having to exercise"
If you "have" to exercise, how long before you willpower will fail you? Instead, what if you found a method of play that got you to move around and breath hard? Martial arts, yoga, swimming, fencing etc. What if your play served a purpose of making new friends, and exercise?
#2 Myth: "Having to eat horrible food"
With rare exception (eg you have to be really hardcore to enjoy something like Kale without making it into chips, first) the majority of "health food" can be made to taste fantastic. Don't believe me? Check out a five star vegan restaurant and order at random. Many of the recipes can be replicated, and many of the ingredients easily purchased.
And, with your newfound addiction to your fun fitness, your "cheating moments" won't be nearly as hazardous, nor as often. Results beget results, and you'll want to keep what you've earned.
#3 Myth: "Happiness comes from eating bad and being lazy"
I know that this is a corny saying, but nothing tastes as good as healthy feels.
From the sense of exhilaration you get from reaching a new goal (eg a black belt) to the sense of accomplishment you get (eg beating someone at fencing) to the sense of inner peace and relaxation you get (eg from a great yoga class) to feeling a sense of personal growth and contribution (eg from helping the 'new guy' in your class)... compare that to a bag of chips and a good TV show...
Something I do, is keep a journal of my day's "high points" - ask yourself honestly on a day where you sat and watched TV, played video games, and then went and took a martial arts class where you helped the new girl break her first board.
...how often is that TV show going to make the list of high points?
Your brain hates to sacrifice, to lose, to feel like it's being cheated out of something.
...so don't do that. ADD new, fun, exciting, loving, caring, relaxing, challenging and motivating activities to your life, and ADD new recipes designed to increase your energy and your life force.
It's really all perspective. And one perspective has a lot more high points, and a much higher sense of accomplishment and pride at the end of the day.