I’m sorry about the misleading title, but I was trying to get your attention.
The reality is that there are no secrets when it comes to health and fitness.
There are no shortcuts.
I thought about this while being out for dinner with some friends recently.
Friend A asked friend B if she had noticed any different in weight since she started taking Supplement X. Friend B said No.
I am not surprised by this at all.
Not that we fall for the marketing of a supplement and buy it, but also not that it’s not working.
People always seem to be searching for that shortcut, for the quick fix, to loose weight, to shape up, to get more energy and so on.
What’s the rush?
It has taken years for our bodies to get to the shape they’re in today, so why won’t we let it take time to change it?
Because here’s the thing:
There are no shortcuts. There is no ‘secret’
It comes down to this:
Food, exercise, sleep and stress all need to be consistently managed well.
Eating consistently healthy
You can’t live on takeouts then take a ‘magic pill’ and lose weight
You can’t sit on your butt all day and then go all out in the gym twice a week
Your body doesn’t work that way!
You have to get the foundations right first:
Eat real food, plenty of vegetables and avoid processed food as much as possible.
You have to consistently move every day. EVERY DAY!
I’m not saying you can never treat yourself to a take out or a glass of wine. Of course you can.
But in the words of the brilliant Gretchen Rubin: what you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.
I’m also not saying you have to spend an hour in the gym every day, who’s got the time for that? You might not even like the gym!
But find something you do like.
A lot of people think that by ‘getting in shape’ they have to run. No! Just no! You can if you want to of course but the options are endless. If you hate running, don’t do it!
Go for a walk, take a Zumba class, do yoga, go swimming, go horse riding, whatever floats your boat. And make sure you get your daily activities in. Walk with the kids to school instead of driving. The classic: take the stairs. See if you can get your 10 000 steps a day in.
I would encourage everyone to get some kind of weight baring exercise in though. No, you won’t look like Arnold because you pick up some dumbbells, that takes years of consistency, dedication and a well thought out program and very very strict and balanced nutrition.
But muscle tissue burns more calories at rest than fat tissue.
Weight training strengthens your bones as well as build valuable muscle to protect said bones and joints.
And, get this:
Muscle tissue can store access glucose instead of it spiking your blood sugar and therefor decrease your risk for diabetes and obesity.
What this means is that if you eat a bit to much of the good stuff, the more muscle you have, the better your body is at ‘saving’ this extra sugar in you muscles because, hey, your body knows you will need it for next time you work out. Cool, huh?
Ok, so that was a bit of a sidebar, but what I really mean to say is that you have to get the basics down first. If you don’t eat well, most of the time anyway, and you don’t exercise, taking a “shortcut” is not going to help you get to where you want to go.
If you eat a extremely well balanced diet and you are a regular at the gym, have got your stress management and sleep under control, then a well thought out good quality supplement might help you get that extra 5-10%
But you have to do everything else right first! otherwise you’re just waisting your money. A supplement is just that: a supplement.
Look, if you want to buy the latest ‘fat melting pill’ please, be my guest. But I guarantee that you’ll get better results, and save money by getting everything else right first. Don’t know where to start?
Here’s a few basic guidelines for you:
Change 1 or 2 things at the time. Don’t overhaul your whole diet; it will never last. Studies have shown that the more changes we make at the time, the less likelihood we’ll stick with it.
So why not…
Make sure you eat vegetables or fruit with every meal. (although try to up your veg intake rather than fruit)
Make sure you have protein with every meal like meat, fish, chicken, egg, cheese, dairy
Make a habit of going for a walk every day
Make a habit of not eating after 8pm
Make a habit of going to bed earlier, and set a ‘bed time alarm’ to remind yourself to get ready for bed instead of surfing the net or bingewatching Netflix.
Follow the 80/20 rule: eat well 80% of the time and you can relax and enjoy a treat or something less nutritious the other 20%
If you want some tips or advise I am more than happy to help.
Until then, stay away from the magic pill. …and maybe the biscuit tin 😉