In this day and age, there is so much reliable information and science surrounding health and wellness that it seems a shame that so many people continue to approach the topic from the wrong angle and with wrong notions.
If you are looking to step up your health and wellness game in a sustainable, healthy way, then read on for three misleading tips that sabotage your fitness journey.
1. Carbohydrates and fat are evil.
For some reason, carbs have developed a bit of a bad reputation, which is unfortunate because not all carbs are the same and most people need some carbs in their diet in order to function at an optimal level.
Our bodies need carbs because they provide it with glucose, the primary energy source after fat. What you do need to keep in mind is the type of carbs you are consuming. Fibrous carbs (such as green beans and broccoli) provide you with a lot more nutritional value than starchy and sugary carbohydrates (such as those found in flour, bread, and potatoes) that get broken down into single molecules of sugar.
Additionally, you have likely been programmed throughout your life to believe that counting calories is the only way to lose weight. Unfortunately, this is another misleading tip that can significantly sabotage your fitness journey.
Consider how many people only eat “low fat, no sugar” items but still aren’t able to lose weight. That is because it is far more critical to focus on the quality of the food you are consuming and the balance of carbs, fats, and proteins you are eating rather than just the number of calories.
After all, calories are merely numbers that specify a unit of energy. Unfortunately, they don’t tell you anything more than that, and they certainly don’t define how a particular food makes you feel once you have eaten it. You don’t want to be filling your body with “low-cal” meals or snacks that either have no nutritional values or make you feel awful because you aren’t providing your body with enough fuel to work.
2. You must work out in the morning.
Everyone has seen the morning routines of successful people that boast of an early morning workout. Unfortunately, too many people take this to mean that fitting in a run or a barre class before the sun has risen is the only way to workout. This couldn’t be further from the truth; what you should really take from studying these routines is that consistently working out is the key to a successful fitness journey.
In other words, for you, the best time to workout is the time that fits best into your schedule repeatedly. By choosing a consistent time to exercise, you will be able to get into a routine and are less likely to miss it or schedule something else during that period.
Additionally, contrary to popular belief, it isn’t through dedicating hours and hours of your life to working out that you become fitter. So before you start shrugging off the notion of exercising because “you don’t have time,” remember that it isn’t the amount of time you spend working out, but instead, it is the quality of that time.
You can get the benefits from a 13-minute workout, as long as you are pushing yourself, giving your all, and doing the right things. This is why HIIT (high-intensity interval training) is so popular among those in the know. This type of exercise combines resistance and aerobic training, which each has its own benefits, and therefore the combination makes them more effective than if you were to just follow one of the two schools of fitness on its own. Plus, a 15-minute HIIT workout is going to have you sweating from the get-go.
Plus, remember that losing weight is 80% diet and 20% exercise. No matter how much time and energy you spend on your workouts, you need to be eating well and nutritiously in order to lose weight or sustain your fitness journey.
3. Health and wellness are all-or-nothing.
One of the most harmful mindsets that sabotage too many people’s health and fitness journeys is the idea that it has to be “all-or-nothing.” If you are honest with yourself, how often do you make one tiny bad decision (such as eating a rich piece of chocolate cake or snoozing your alarm to go to the gym) and then proclaim “Well, I ruined it, anyway” and continue to make bad decisions for the rest of the week?
Everyone has been there, which is why so many people find it hard to stick to any kind of health and wellness routine or find it impossible to break out of a cycle.
Here is the thing: Maintaining health and wellness is not an all-or-nothing principle.
All-or-nothing isn’t sustainable because you shouldn’t be hardcore on your health or wellness routine, but you shouldn’t be entirely off, either. You want to continually be trying to improve it little by little, day by day, choice by choice. After all, if you get one flat tire, do you think “Well, this is bad, let me slash the other three to make it worse”? Of course not. You just deal with the one flat tire and look for ways to prevent it from happening again in the future.
Therefore, the key to sustaining your fitness journey is to not think of a “wagon” that you can either be on or fall off, but instead, to do the best you can every day and not to wait until next year, next month, next week to make a change.
When looking at your options, ask yourself, “What choice can I make that is a little bit better than before?” It doesn’t need to be everything, nor perfect; it just needs to be a little bit better.
The key is to inch forward slowly.
In a similar vein, you don’t have to change everything about yourself and your lifestyle in one go. In fact, that is a surefire way of failing. You can’t change everything all at once, and you can’t transform your mindset and routines in one day — this is unsustainable and unrealistic — and if you think this is the way to a healthier you, you are wrong.
Instead, a healthier and more sustainable way is to add better habits and switch up routines one by one.
This allows you to focus all your energy on making one small change at a time. While it may not seem profound at the moment, you are far more likely to stick with the change, and once you feel comfortable with it, you can incorporate something else.
So, maybe this week you commit to taking a walk each day during your lunch break. Next week, you bring your lunch in from home each day to ensure you are making healthy choices. The following week, you choose only to eat out once a week. Then, for a couple of weeks, you just focus on these changes, and once you feel as though they are new habits, you add a couple more new actions to take you further down the health and wellness trail.
What misleading health and wellness tips have you been taught? What challenges are you facing in becoming the healthiest, most balanced version of yourself possible? Let us know in the comments below, and we can work together to change!
Dave Asprey is the creator of the widely popular Bulletproof Coffee, host of the #1 health podcast, Bulletproof Radio, and author of the New York Times bestselling book, “The Bulletproof Diet.” Through his work, the Silicon Valley investor and technology entrepreneur provides information, techniques and keys to taking control of and improving your biochemistry, your body and your mind so they work in unison, helping you execute at levels far beyond what you’d expect, without burning out, getting sick, or allowing stress to control your decisions.