Did you just clap your hands? Or shout "Hooray!"? That is the beauty of childhood...when you least expect it, the wisdom of your youth will surprise you with its truthful simplicity. And it goes far beyond my mom telling me to eat my veggies.
Eating healthy makes me happy. I honestly can't say that I look forward to every healthy meal and its absence of deep-fried deliciousness. But at the end of the day, when I crawl into bed and work through an examination of my day, I am happy when healthy foods, activities, and attitudes are abundant.
I believe that is the secret to a happy life: living not just for today, but for the future. Speaking (or writing) personally, when I make the decisions that are difficult but the right decisions, joy follows, not just happiness.
A note on the difference between Joy and Happiness:
Happiness is quickly served, enjoyed and forgotten.
Joy is struggled over, earned, and enjoyed long after 'the moment'.
Enjoying a piece of cake might make me happy.
Knowing that I chose healthy fruits over cake and that my blood sugar levels and waist line will not be effected by the cake for the days and weeks to come, brings me a feeling of accomplished Joy.
In other words, 'Happiness' is easy. 'Joy' is earned
Anything I earn is far better than 'easy'.
When I choose what will make me happy for a meal, a.k.a. anything deep-fried, carb-heavy, or covered in cheese, I enjoy the meal until I feel the results bloating me. It's a simple but self-control-complicated dance between instant gratification and long-lasting joy.
And so it is...I must continue to make the next right choice especially when it's difficult, especially when I think no one is looking, especially when I have goals that will bring joy, not just happiness.
In my childhood, my mom did tell me to eat my veggies first. That was a treasure of wisdom I gained from her in my childhood. "If you see something healthy on your plate that doesn't look tasty, but you know it's good for you, eat that first. Then you can enjoy the rest." I have tried to carry that into my adulthood, and have done so with some success. If I know something is good for me but is less appealing...do that first. What does that actually look like? Beginning my day with scripture and prayer. Exercising before work. Eating more zucchini than I think is humanly possible, especially in July when the plants produce a bloom in the morning and a 5 inch zucchini
by the evening. Breathe deeply and don't say anything in the midst of frustration.