I won’t even begin to mention the never-ending wormhole that is the subject of which diet is best and worst. Everyone has their own opinion about the countless plans, programs, and protocols so I’m not touching that gorilla. So if you’re dug in to your tribal diet corner refusing to budge even an inch then stop reading. If you’re open-minded the by all means read on.
I like to look at things from a practical standpoint with a keen eye on what works and what doesn’t in the real world. I like to communicate with others about how they did it – how they achieved their ultimate successes. I avoid the slick marketing, pyramid schemes, and “miracle diets.” I like to read and hear about actual testimonials instead of loosely strung theories and fabricated doctrines.
Here I want to distill down a few things I see as common threads among those who are successful. Here are a few of my observations.
It’s safe to say that the deluge of diet noise is unfortunately overshadowing the relevant, well-researched study of nutrition science. Sure, some will take real research and twist it into their marketing matrix to sell products and services, but too many ignore sound, practical advice and suggestions that have been around for years. I’m not talking of specific dietary scientific findings. I’m referring to time-tested principles related to better habits and common sense. Which leads us to the every man and woman.
How Jane and John Doe Did it
If you think back or even look around there are real people succeeding at their nutrition goals. They’re the ones who have been quietly working day after day, little by little on their plans. Within these testimonials you rarely hear of fad diets, tricks, or some sort of miracle pill. You hear about practical habits, common sense structure, and a realistic timeline.
Maybe you’ve read about these stories, heard from them only when asked, or find out through a mutual friend, but they’re out there. So what are some of these principles? Is there a secret program that only they know or is it something much simpler?
The Common Thread
I’ve noticed some common threads regarding these successes.
- They start slowly replacing obviously bad foods with good foods. Let’s face it, we all know not to eat fast food, excess sugar, large amounts of fat and sodium, and excessively huge meals. These people have slowly, not abruptly, replaced these foods with fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and healthy snacks. Oh, and plenty of water.
- They build on physical activity. Much like nutrition they slowly integrate and build upon exercise. It always starts with walking or some other mild activity. Then the focus shifts to frequency. They may start two or three times per week and build up to four or five. Then another shift to some light weight training or cardio class. And then another slight shift. And another. Slowly they build endurance and capacity as to not be overwhelmed and tempted to quit.
- They make discipline and habit forming an important part of the plan. The specifics of calorie counting, grams or protein, how many sets and reps performed, and other smaller details matter a lot less than the grand principle of building discipline and healthier, more positive habits. Who cares if they got only 100 grams of protein versus 120? The bigger picture is that they ate healthier and exercised somehow, some way consistently.
- They are in it for the long haul. Although many will start their journey with a terminal goal such as a wedding or vacation, most seem to have made the longstanding decision to make it a permanent lifestyle change. They’ve decided to change habits, eliminate the garbage for good. They see it as a lifelong decision not an end goal one which later may be abandoned.
- They shut out the noise. In a nutshell they do their own thing. They garner common sense, listen to their gut, seek out some sensible advice, and then put blinders on. They don’t entertain the trends or the latest elimination diet. They simply plow ahead and adjust along the way. They practice acting over analyzing.
Make Your Own Way
So what’s your plan? What small step will you take today, right now to begin your journey? The key, I think, isn’t to move mountains today, but start with a small handful of dirt to start on that mountain. Over time you will have built new habits, grown your discipline muscle, and see actual significant changes in real time.
Learn from those who’ve walked the walk. Speak to real people before reading some novel-length book about a new “breakthrough.” Seek knowledge, but trust yourself and start acting.