June 8, 2013 by mybattlebuddyfitness
written by Elisabeth Meany
Life is difficult and it’s messy. It’s not black and white—it’s so grey sometimes that it’s borderline foggy. We’re all juggling so many balls in the air at one time that it’s often hard to keep track. We have a million obligations and a million things on the to-do list at any given time. I have good news though: when it comes to health and fitness, it doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, it’s quite simple. Do you want to lose weight? Great! Eat less and move more. Do you want to improve your cardio endurance? Easy. Get out and raise your heart rate. Do you want build muscle or tone up? Perfect. Pick-up some weights and throw them around a little bit.
There are SO many diets, detoxes, fads, cleanses, 30, 60, and 90-day programs out there. Who knows which one to follow? I am a fitness professional—it’s my JOB to keep track of all this stuff and I can’t even keep up. At least once per week I have a client come to me and say, “Hey what do you think about XYZ program?” Sometimes I know what they’re talking about, but sometimes they get my honest response of, “Hells bells. There’s another one out there, huh? I’ve never heard of it.”
Before I offend anyone, let me say that I am not knocking the results that people get by following some of these diets and programs. I am absolutely certain that there are many people out there that get amazing results when they remain within the parameters of whatever it is that they set out to follow.
That being said, I am also certain that there is no magical formula or equation that works for everyone. P90X may have been exactly what Sally needed to drop 20 pounds for summer, but maybe the workouts are too intense for Bill, who is a beginner. Jillian Michaels might be the in-your-face trainer that Rick needs, but perhaps Veronica needs more a bit more of a Bob Harper type to greet her in the mornings when she goes to work out. Eating Paleo and doing Crossfit might be a winning formula for Barb, but maybe her husband sees better results with the Eat Clean Diet approach.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve purchased a new book or DVD series that promised me a set of six-pack abs in 90 days. Do you know how many times I ended up with a six-pack in 90 days? Exactly zero. Now that’s not to say that it was anyone’s fault but my own. Because I’m human, and like many of you out there, that book or set of DVDs ended up covered dust by the end of week 3. Because at the end of week 3, I decided, “Hey. I’ve worked hard for three weeks now. I can totally let up a bit and enjoy a glass of wine with my friends…” And then on Sunday, when I’m hungover and laying on the couch, I decide that pasta is a GREAT idea. And then on Monday, when I’m super bloated from the alcohol and the pasta (of which I inevitably I ate WAY too much), I step on the scale. And holy bajolies!!! I’ve GAINED weight?!! “Well, eff this stupid program. It’s clearly not working.” –FYI this little scenario is not just LOOSELY based on my real life experience—it’s TOTALLY based on my real life experience.
Okay, okay. What’s my point here? My point is this: all of these programs and magical formulas to weight loss and muscles are totally unnecessary. The best piece of advice I can give is this: KEEP IT SIMPLE. Eat less, move more. Focus your diet around the foods that reside on the outer edges of your grocery store. Avoid those center aisles. Fill up your plate with lean proteins and veggies at every meal. Avoid added sugar at all costs. Find a few meals that are really nutritious and make you feel good and put them in rotation on your family’s menu. I realize that we all need variety, but sometimes I think variety can be a bit overwhelming. I know that when I sit down on Sunday and look through my cookbooks, I can start to fret a bit. I start making the grocery list and suddenly it’s huge! And then I look for different recipes that simpler, and then I don’t find what I’m looking for, so I end up falling back on the ole’ faithful recipes that I know will taste delicious and keep me feeling great.
Part of the reason why I wanted to do the 7-Day Summer Challenge that I presented in the previous blog post is so I could return to this simpler way of eating. I got really excited to get back in the kitchen and make some amazing food after the figure competition. And it was fun. Really fun. But it was not fun to see what it did to my energy level and my body. I have come to the conclusion that I am much better off planning two meals per week (Friday and Saturday night dinner) to really cook up something awesome in the kitchen, and then keeping it really simple during the week. Lean meats and veggies. Easy peasy.
So, if you’re anything like me and you get totally overwhelmed when you pick up one of those weight-loss books, then follow my advice. Don’t get caught up in the details. Keep it simple. If it comes in a box and can gracefully age like a fine wine, or if it contains ingredients you can’t pronounce, DON’T EAT IT. Unless you are an elite athlete or have super-specific athletic goals, don’t fret about the small stuff. Get your exercise and eat good stuff. Period.