As I write this, I am sitting at a Starbucks with my tall dark roast coffee, surrounded by two groups of women. These two different groups are having two different, yet similar, conversations about exercise and nutrition.
On one side, there are three women discussing Intermittent Fasting, and not eating after 6pm…which, to be fair, are kind of the same thing.
On the other side, two women are talking about fruit and how it’s fattening.
That’s how those two conversations are different. They are similar in the fact that both groups are talking about their topics with a lot of excitement and hope. I’m hearing “you have to”, “you can’t ever”, and “turns straight to fat”.
They are talking about their respective topics as if they are the magic pill for weight loss.
(I just put my headphones in. I’m so distracted by their conversations that those first few paragraphs took me way too long to write.)
I try not to make assumptions, but I’m going to assume this isn’t the first time they’ve engaged in conversations about specific diets and nutritional practices, and talked about them as if they finally found “the magic pill.”
Let’s be honest, that’s most of us, right? We can probably all recall, whether recently or not, getting sucked into fads and putting all our faith in a certain dietary protocol.
I mean, there was a time right out of college that I was somehow simultaneously doing a low fat diet, and Atkins. I wasn’t really…I was just eating like an idiot and deluding myself.
But, I understand that thinking. And I’m certainly not sitting here judging these women, or thinking negatively about them hoping that they’ve finally found something that will work for them.
But have they, really? I doubt it.
People rarely find long-term success in fad diets that restrict and control food choices. And if they do, there are often other elements of life that suffer. Like not having any friends because you won’t shut up about “doing Keto”.
If there’s not a reliable answer in ever-changing fad diets, what do you do?
Well, here’s my answer-change your habits.
It’s simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. In fact, it’s often a lot of work. I know, I know…I’m quite the salesman…most people sell “quick and easy”…I sell “hard work and do it for a long time.” Who would be interested in that?
You should be, if you want to make changes you can maintain for the rest of your life.
It’s easy to buy into fads because surely there is something massive we need to change to make progress, right? Most likely not. It’s more likely that there are several smaller changes that need to happen, and that you need to be consistent with those changes for a long time.
Another way to put that is, “Do less. Do it for longer.”
(Sometimes I write sentences like that last one and think, “Man, I’m really smart”, and then a few minutes later I do something like put my car in reverse instead of drive and unsuspectingly launch my self three feet backwards. And I remember that I’m not that smart after all. It is a really good sentence though.)
What if instead of avoiding all carbs for two months, five different times in the last few years, you ate a few more vegetables and drank more water. And you did that almost everyday? Think you might be a little better off than you’ve been with five starts and stops of a diet that completely disrupts your life, only to return to previous eating habits every time? I do.
So what’s your magic pill? It’s making the decision to not buy into quick fixes and restrictive diets anymore. It’s investing in yourself-for life. It’s doing the hard work and striving for increased consistency. It’s looking at your habits, identifying which ones negatively impact your progress, and replacing them with ones that positively impact your progress.
But Mike, that’s not a magic pill at all! Nope, it’s not. Because there is no magic pill. The closest, and only thing is hard work and consistency. Now, get to it.