The Least Sexy Nutrition Plan
Written by Fritz Nugent
You could lose a ton of weight right now by eating like a bird and exercising in every single minute of your free time. Actually, you would definitely lose weight if you stopped eating entirely! And exercised more. Yep, that’s the way. This would work! You’d probably drop pounds off like never before.
You could also go Keto! Or maybe run an intermittent fasting regimen. What about high carbohydrate? While out of fashion, high carbohydrate diets worked really well to shed weight off of large groups of people in the early 1900’s. And again in the 1970’s.
How sustainable are these options? Not very. Like any other captivating marketing in the interwebs, they simply strike a chord with our emotional desire to fix _____ about ourselves and end up motivating us to make short-term change. The key phrase to note is short-term.
Most diets fail long-term because people fail to adopt long-term healthy habits.
That’s the simple and ugly truth. People only can maintain a challenging and different nutrition or lifestyle change while motivation is running hot. Then it runs out, and back to square one we go, happy for a break from the momentary stress of change, and grateful to sink back into the comfort of our old habits.
People come into the gym sometimes and say, “I’d like a three-month membership to get in shape.”
Sure, you can get in better shape in three months. What happens after that? Do you go back to your non-exercise and poor eating habits? What will that get you? Exactly what you had before. Back to square one. So I’ll ask them, “What happens after the third month?”
And they might respond with, “I’ll be in shape, so then I’ll quit and go about my life in great shape.”
Three months comes and goes, and the person realizes…
1) It’s hard to get into great shape, and;
2) Once they get into shape, it takes more of the same actions to maintain said shape. So better sign up for a year contract. And then keep renewing it.
There is one approach that you could take. One that works long-term…
It’s not sexy. It’s not easy. It’s not fun. You won’t see a brand-new diet fad book with its title on the shelf of a trendy bookstore. It’s called, “the least sexy nutrition plan”. And it only involves about 25% of a focus on nutrition. Here’s the details:
Improve your sleep quality and duration (25% sleep-focused)Improve the quality of the relationships with family, friends, coworkers, and yourself (25% relationships/stress-mitigation focused)Consistently exercise (25% movement-focused)Eat only what you need, mostly from lots of fruits and vegetables and lean meats (25% nutrition-focused)
That’s it. Try marketing that. It won’t sell. There’s nothing about it that is sexy, interesting, or novel. But it works for the long haul. It won’t shed gallons of fat off your body in a month. It won’t make you feel better immediately. It won’t get your friends all wound up in envy, asking you how you did it. And even if they did ask, you tell them it involves hard and consistent work on improving the habits which make up your life, and they space out, realizing that they don’t like hard work or change, so you can keep your health tips to yourself, you jerk. They won’t say this, though. They will say, “Wow, I should try that.” And then they might stuff another bonbon in their yapper.
Consistency With the Unsexy
If you consistently work to sleep well… you will consistently recover well, enabling you to bring your best effort each day. Over time, your sleep quality and duration improve, and so does your best effort.
If you consistently eat to fuel and perform… you will consistently recover well, enabling continued progress. Continued progress is motivating, if you value long-term slowly gained success.
If you consistently exercise enough and not too much… you will stay young, healthy, and vibrant, enabling you to continue this healthy habit
If you consistently work to improve the relationships in your life with those who you encounter the most (family, friends, coworkers, people you don’t know on the roadways but interact with every single day, and most importantly, your SELF)… your baseline stress will decrease, which favorably affects all of the other habits in your life.
If you are less stressed, you will…
Sleep better, improve your mood, alertness, cognition, and a host of other benefits.
Digest your food better, improving your body’s efficiency and recovery, enabling you to improve at the gym.
Have a greater capacity for physical exercise due to lower stress in other parts of your life. This increased demand on training intensity or volume can improve everything else in your life.
Do you see the value of each individual change?
How about the value of the multi-faceted connections and benefits between these changes and their effects? Nothing acts in a vacuum, meaning these habits ALL INFLUENCE EACH OTHER. And if you want the changes to last for the long haul, with their effects compounding over time, then start small and build.
Change everything at once, and you might make it a few days, weeks, or months. Eventually you will fall back on old habits. Back to square one with you. Conversely, if you invest in your future self by changing things in a small way, intelligently and not greedily, then you will reap the rewards for your patience, diligence, and perseverance.
The fight is hard. Long. You will have setbacks. You may need to start back at square one multiple times. But the world needs you to be your best. So get moving.