Dieting is HARD
I read a ton of research, studies, and especially opinions of experts and other bloggers. There are a handful that I whole-heartedly trust (you can see who I think are the most thorough, honest, and intelligent in my list of Sites You Should be Reading).
I really enjoy learning, particularly about health, nutrition, and overall well-being. BUT…
You MUST NEVER Forget that Learning is NOT Making You Healthier
In homage to one of the great TV personalities of our time, I think this observation deserves a huge "D’OH!" "Why didn’t I realize that", you ask just a bit sarcastically? "All this time I thought that by reading Dr. Oz, Dr. Atkins, or [INSERT FAVORITE HEALTH GURU], I was inching toward my fitness goals."
Look – I’m not arguing that anyone actually believes this, but the question, then is why do so many of us spend SO MUCH TIME reading about diet, health, and nutrition? Just look at the Huffington Post: on a daily basis they have at least 2-3 health articles on the front page. That may not sound like a lot, but it’s a good 5% of the front-page articles on a site generally devoted to current news and political events.
Here’s my theory: Just like everything else in our lives, we’d ideally like to put off doing as much as possible.
You’ve tried dieting, exercising, and whatever else countless times before. Maybe it’s worked, maybe it hasn’t, but it wasn’t easy, and it didn’t work as well as you wanted, else you would be in perfect physical shape right now. Which leads me to the following observation:
You Just Need to Read a Little More, and You’ll Find the EASIEST and MOST EFFECTIVE diet or exercise regime
Ok – I screwed up the subheadline again. You’re NEVER going to find the perfect diet or exercise regime!
I write a lot about motivation as it relates to health, so I know it’s not easy (as if I don’t already know that just from personal experience), and I know that most people require some sort of system to sustain motivation to keep dieting and exercising. I’m going to post more on this blog about that later.
HOWEVER, as a first step, you absolutely must realize that a major part of the reason we look so hard for the perfect or best diet is because we want it to be EASY. And I’ll be the first and last to tell you that dieting and exercise are never EASY. Never.
If you want to lose weight; if you want to pack on muscle; if you want to get healthier and/or recover from an illness or injury. If you want in any way to reverse something that has made you unhealthy, it’s almost inevitably going to be HARD.
Once you accept that the path is Difficult, you can figure out how to stay on the path
(Finally – a serious sub headline.)
If you don’t accept, at the very beginning, that the path you’re about to embark on is going to be very difficult and that your mind is going to constantly find reasons that you should not be on this path, then you’re destined to fail in the end.
On the other hand, if you start off by acknowledging that the road is going to be very tough, then you can strategize at the beginning about how to put systems in place to ensure that you succeed.
Being extremely healthy is like anything else in that it requires a dedication and drive that most of us can’t sustain for long periods of time. Being extremely healthy is TOUGHER than most things in that there are actual physical and biological mechanisms in your body that will try to dissuade you from dieting and exercising. I’ll post more soon about the types of systems that you can use to lessen the likelihood that you will abandon a diet or exercise program, but in the meantime, I’d love to hear from you.
How long do you typically last on a diet or exercise program before you completely fall off? Is there something in particular (a recurring event or recurring thought) that drives you to abandon the diet or exercise? How have you been successful in managing your desire to quit?
(Photo courtesy of Fatty Tuna)