Dear Shortcuts: You Suck.

For lots of people, not having a microwave in the kitchen would be a deal breaker. After all, how else are you supposed to heat up leftovers? What about canned soups, frozen meals, popcorn, water for tea, potatoes, all of those freaky mug cakes that you see on Pinterest, and all the other lifehack shortcuts floating around out there?

When we first discovered that our new kitchen didn’t have a microwave, we were a little rattled. We had gotten used to the ease and convenience of being able to toss something in there for a few minutes and then eat or drink it. We decided against buying one, and figured we’d try living without one for a while. We’re 5 months in and I haven’t missed it once. Sure, it’s convenient. But as with all other things in life, there are drawbacks to shortcuts.

A microwave is a quick fix. Forgot to meal plan? Heat up a sodium-laden frozen meal. Running late in the morning? Heat up a Jimmy Dean Meat Lovers Breakfast Bowl. Watching a movie? Toss some popcorn in there.

You’re valuing short-term satisfaction (ridding yourself of annoying hunger) over long-term health (seriously, look at the nutrition on some of these things).

If you think about it, that’s all too often how things work in the health and fitness industry, too.

30 day challenges, juice fasts, 6 week starvation diets, 21 day shred programs…all of these are designed to provide short-term results. Sure, they all can work! That’s why people do them. And crunching hard for a short amount of time to hit an arbitrary number on the scale feels great — that is, until you STOP doing what it took to get there, go back to business as usual, and see the scale creep up. That’s why you read some awful statistics that say things like:

“Why Diets Don’t Actually Work” 

“Why You Can’t Lose Weight On a Diet” 

“The Truth Behind Fad Diets” 

We’ve become so used to shortcuts and quick fixes that we’ve begun to devalue the hard work that it takes to actually achieve lasting results. We like to share and sensationalize overnight success stories, without realizing the years of dedication and perseverance it took someone to achieve. We want to believe that there is a quick fix to health and fitness, but the down and dirty truth is that it takes hard work. You’re going to have to workout when you don’t want to sometimes. You will have to be more mindful about food — shopping for it and preparing it. The truth isn’t sexy, so that’s why you’ll never see diet or exercise programs proclaiming that if you work hard consistently for years to come, you’ll see lasting results.

Whether it’s a weird microwave mug cake vs. a delicious slice of homemade, freshly baked cake, or a lifelong healthy body vs. one that simply lost 10 lbs of water weight in 10 days…nothing worth having ever comes easy.

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