A journey to well-being - by Joe Haddon

We were in the London Road Alehouse before Christmas, working on book cover designs with Foley Creative, when Joe came over and asked about the artwork.  Turns out he's an aspiring writer (and has a slot on 6 Towns Radio!) so we were delighted when he sent us this piece on his journey to health and well-being

For the best part of a decade what I ate was dependent on what was most accessible, tasty and affordable. My wallet dictated the number of times I went out drinking. The number of cigarettes I smoked in a day was dependent on nothing more than how many times in a day I felt like smoking.

There’s a term for this: physiological nihilism. The toll that fast food, alcohol and cigarettes take on your body is rendered completely insignificant when all that’s on your mind is satisfying a craving. Every variable but health is taken into account: “How much does a burger cost?”; “How far do I have to walk to the shop for some fags?”; but questioning “What is this doing to my body?” seemed irrelevant. 

You would assume that considering my attitude to what goes into my body, exercise for me would be entirely futile, and you’d be right in assuming so. But a limited knowledge of fitness and a sheer desperation to outgrow a 10 stone, weedy body, was enough to push me through the gym doors nonetheless. 

For a short time, I found myself balancing contradictory lifestyles - intensive, cardio and weight-based exercise, with equally intensive smoking and drinking. I moved on from physiological nihilism to physiological conflict. Every half a mile run was followed by half a pint drunk.

The one thing I found was that exercise, and the mental requirements of performing it, had a habit of manifesting themselves into other areas of life. In the months following joining the gym, I began questioning which foods I should be introducing into my diet, and which to banish entirely. This wasn’t a concerted effort to become a more well-rounded and healthy person. Given I was doing so much exercise, it just felt like the natural thing to do. Months later I had changed how often I was drinking, and the final curtain fell with the end of a nearly ten-year smoking habit. The best thing about it all? It was completely effortless.

The most profound thing is that this manifestation goes beyond just a healthier lifestyle. I currently host a weekly radio show on local station, 6 Towns Radio, and have begun what I hope will be a promising writing career. I can confidently say that this is as much as a result of hours spent on the treadmill as hours spent behind the computer screen.

What’s important to remember is that, when you are on the fringes of beginning your healthy lifestyle, there is no need for idealism. It will serve to set you up for failure and very little else. Let one thing, whatever that is, ignite your passion for fitness and everything else will naturally fall into place.