Friday, June 1, 2012

Diet or exercise, what is the answer?

KISS it. 

Keep It Simple Stupid
There is no quick and easy way. There are NO quick fixes or gimmicks to get you fit & healthy. 

Good nutrition and exercise work hand in hand.  You need to Keep Things Simple. Don't overcomplicate things.

What is the main reason we "diet" or exercise? Which one is more important? Do we want to be fit, healthy or disease free? Or all of the above.  Does it feel like a chore most days TRYING to achieve your health & fitness goals?  

I have been listening to the talk on the street (aka Facebook, Twitter, gym floor, on the train, work) and a similar pattern emerges.  People are still confused about "diet" and exercise.  People are still feeling guilty for NOT exercising XX times a week and for "falling off the wagon" with their "diet". Or not running fast enough in the half marathon on the weekend...  So much unecessary pressure we put on ourselves.  Do we really prepare ourselves for the decisions we make?

So what is the big hype about nutrition and exercise?  Why do some people continue to struggle to achieve their health & fitness goals? Now don't get me wrong,  a little struggle is part of any change process, you will come across struggle street and hurdles whilst on the any journey in life when setting out to achieve your goals, this is how you GROW, LEARN and ADAPT, but for some people, the continual struggle doesn't get them anywhere fast.  Why is that I ask you?  Change. Patterns. Habits. Change things and you will notice change.

As most of my readers, friends, twitterverse, Facebook peeps know, I despise the word "diet".  It is up there with the word "tone", "low-fat", "low-sugar". They are words created by marketers to SELL products & fads, you don't need any of them.  I prefer to use words like nutrition, fuel, energy or muscles.

What is more important - nutrition or exercise?
I believe they go hand in hand.  I agree with the saying "abs begin in the kitchen".  I am a big believer that if you eat good healthy foods, make smart food choices you are more than half way there... from there you will have plenty of energy to move your body EASILY  2-3 times a week, which will definitely kick start your system and make you feel alive.  Allow time for YOU.

Energy in versus energy out. Simple. You eat too much, you store bodyfat. You can bust your gut (no pun intended) at the gym, but if you are still fuelling your body with TOO MUCH food you will put on weight. How much fuel is enough though this is where most people get confused.  Eat healthy breakfast, lunch, dinner that has good fats/proteins and fruit/vegetable carbs.  Snack if you are hungry (nuts and fruit or yoghurt/berries). Don't starve yourself. YOUR BODY WILL RELEASE MORE BODYFAT IF YOU ADEQUATELY FUEL IT.

Think of your body as a machine, a Ferrari if you will (you can choose your colour, I like red).  If you were to drive it everyday and limit the fuel intake, would you expect it to function properly?  Same goes for your body. Your body needs energy/fuel everyday JUST to function whether you are just sitting at your desk for 8hours a day,  your heart to beat, your brain to work, sending signals to the rest of your body to react, takes up energy, requires your body to be healthy.  This process needs top quality fuel to keep your body ticking over nicely, then on top of that add exercise a couple times a week to rev things up so to speak.  If your hunger increases, you need to fuel your body more.

Keep it simple. Start slowly. Concentrate on your nutrition.  Reduce all processed foods, eat good fats (avocado, nuts, olive oils, omega 3 meats) good quality meat, fruits, vegetables and nuts!  Back to basics.  Fresh Fresh Fresh.  Add a couple exercise days into your week, nothing to strenuous if you are a beginner or haven't been exercising for a while, start with a walk 2-3 times a week will have you feeling the difference.  I don't mean a dander down to the corner store, I want your heart rate to go up and to be a little breathless and maybe even have some sweat on you.  Please, you got to move it to change it.  For those who train 3-5 times a week, have a week off. THen change around your training.

What I want YOU to feel is change. That you start to feel better, confident, healthier even. You might have a little more spring in your step and all you have done is thrown out the processed foods, take-aways and moved your body a couple times a week.  

Go to your GP and get a full health check. Your body is your body, YOU ensure you look after it. Know what is happening, find out how you are going.  I bet most of you worry about fat loss or training for this and that, but wouldn't even know how your system is actually working to try and keep up with you? 

So where to start?  First thing is to set realistic SMART goals

Yes goal setting, always seems quite daunting.  But to succeed you need to plan. If you fail to plan, you are truly 100% planning to fail. You plan at work, for your home mortgage, for your holidays, your children's education, so why not your health & fitness goals?  Adapt the same approach.

S – specific: this is the who, what, when, where, and how of your goal.
Be specific - writing "getting healthy" isn't very specific at all.  Write out your goals - to give up smoking, to eat more fresh foods, join a gym that has classes I can attend, do a short course triathlon, get back into my favourite pair of jeans or dress for an occasion, to be fit enough to play with my children.
M – measurable: you’ve got to be able to measure your goal in some way. Otherwise how will you know if you’ve reached it?
 How are you going to measure your specific goals?  Write it down -  how many smokes you have a week, aim to eat at least 2-3 different coloured vegetables each day this week,  build up to taking two classes at new gym this week, take measurements for your jeans/dress goal.

A - attainable: if you really want to set yourself up for success, the goal should be something you can feasibly attain (i.e. winning the lottery so you can quit that job you hate is probably not a good goal).
You can aim for the stars all you want, but will it help you succeed?  If you are training for your first short course triathlon ever, make sure your attainable goal is to train each leg of the event once a week and finish the entire triathlon on the day - don't set the goal to come first, that puts too much pressure on you, I am not saying you couldn't come first, but you get the idea.

R - realistic: something that you are willing and able to work toward. This doesn’t mean you can’t set the bar high — sometimes just fully believing something can be accomplished can make it realistic.
Something you are willing to strive for. If you aren't a swimmer then a 3km ocean swim might not be the best goal to set first thing, maybe a short course triathlon, that has a 400m leg only and work from there.   Once you are confident in that area, you can start ramping up those goals.
Ttimely: your goal(s) should have a specific time-line; a date by which you want to achieve them. This will motivate you to get started.

Set timely goals. Plan them out. Write down specific dates and events in your diary that could affect these goals, so you are prepared, so you won't **"fail".  

A timely goal would be: I have three months until the BRW short course triathlong, I will swim, run and ride 1 x a week until the week before.  Gives you a boost, you feel organised and motivated. You can amend any training goals further down the track once you start.

Remember to set YOUR goals. Plan out your week ahead. Know what is happening with your body. Watch what you put in your mouth.  Never feel guilty EVER about NOT training or eating something you wished you hadn't - learn from it, change your habits.

Fitbydons simple steps to being happy & healthy!

* Trust yourself, don't think about it too much
* Throw out packaged foods, ALL of them. Don't buy them. Be strong.
* Cut out SUGAR - 100%
* Drink water, limit alcohol and caffeine drinks ( I love a coffee a day.....)
* Move your body. Walk,run, dance, skip, weight train. Challenge yourself.
* Get your grey matter moving, take up a new hobby, meet new friends, change your routine - mix it up a little, shake it up a little.... 
*Laugh, smile and hug your loved ones.
* Listen to what YOU want do to with your life, make plans for YOU! 
* Don't give a shit what others think of you, who cares, positive energy only, no negativity crap!

** there is no such thing as failing... it is called life, experience it, learn from it and use the small mishaps to push you further.

1 comment:

  1. This is one of my favourite posts ever! Such great words.