Life on the Continuum


Thinking in terms of life on a continuum is helpful for your waistline. But that’s not what typically happens, is it? Especially when it comes to making choices around your health or what will make your waistline smaller.

When you think of what you should be doing around health and fitness, it sounds more absolute. It’s as though every choice you make is either right or wrong. But is that really helpful? Is it even true?

Let’s look at an example to clearly illustrate how sometimes what would have been considered the wrong choice, is actually the best choice.


It’s 1 pm on a very busy Saturday afternoon. You’ve been out running errands and getting all the shopping done for your dinner party tomorrow. 

Sure, you ate a healthy omelet for breakfast but that was at 6 am and you’ve been frantically going from store to store trying to get the perfect place setting accessories to match your party’s theme.

You figured you would be home by 11 am to have the diet-approved lunch you meal-prepped. But here you are, standing in line, again. Now you’re starting to get dizzy and you can feel your blood sugar tanking. 

Then you see it. The oatmeal raisin cookies laid out on display with a sign that says, “try one.” 

“No,” you tell yourself. “I can’t. It’s not on my diet plan. I’ve been doing so good I’m not going to ruin it now.” 

So you rummage through your purse praying to find a protein bar or your “emergency” stash of nuts and there’s nothing there. Beads of sweat are starting to form on your forehead.

What do you do?

What’s the right best available choice here? 

  • Eat the oatmeal raisin cookie that is the ONLY food available


  • Eat nothing and pass out?

You’re probably better off eating the cookie.

And then...

Now, if you do eat that cookie and get stuck in the mentality that you’ve now ruined your diet, what inevitably happens?

That’s right, you feel GUILTY about it. 

You say things like, “How could I do that? One stinkin’ cookie just ruined my diet. Now I’m going to gain five pounds. If only I had put that protein bar in my bag. I even thought about it this morning. Stupid. Stupid! STUPID! Ugh! I know better. I have a plan for this exact situation. Why weren’t my emergency nuts in my bag?!? I knew this was going to be a busy morning. I had a feeling this might happen. I can’t believe I ruined everything! Well, since it’s already ruined, I might as well go grab the burger and fries I’ve been craving since this diet started.”


Feeling guilty about the choices you make, like eating a cookie, adds another layer of stress. And that is even worse for your waistline than eating the cookie alone. 

So then, how can you get rid of the guilt that’s making your waistline unknowingly expand?

Make the Shift

Shift your way of thinking from absolutes (i.e. right/wrong, good/bad, etc.) to the continuum. To decide where something falls on the continuum, ask yourself, “what is the best option available,” or “how can I make a slightly better choice than last time?”

Figuring out the best choice in the moment depends on the context of the situation. Sometimes the cookie really is the best choice.

This doesn’t just apply to your food choices either. You can apply this concept to anything in life.

You likely already believe that life doesn’t exist in black and white and have no problem applying that to other areas like your relationship with your family. 

Perhaps it’s time to start thinking in terms of “what’s the best option available to me right now,” when thinking about decisions you make regarding your health. And then be happy with the decision you consciously make, knowing that you are living on purpose and not riding in the passenger seat of life.

Create Your Continuum

How do you create your continuum?

First, think about your goals and ask, “Will this choice bring me closer to my goals or further away?” If all options take you further away, then choose the one on the continuum that is the closest to heading there. At the very least, it’ll keep you from going too far backwards.

Step two, see how you can create other options for yourself when you get in a pinch. Think about your minimum and your ideal plans and map out your continuum baseline. 

To see a detailed example of what the continuum looks like and create your own, download our free Continuum Template here.

And remember...give your waistline a leg up by asking yourself, “Where does this choice fall on the continuum,” whenever you're faced with making a less than ideal decision.

Leave the guilt behind.

Until next time...

Sending you love, health and happiness,

Marylynn Burrows
Holistic Health Coach
Nutrition Coach
Personal Trainer
Owner: Serenity Fitness LLC
Creator of the Limitless Transformation Program

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