When it comes to the facts and figures of health and wellness, I like to question pretty much everything. Nowadays, with access to the “up-to-the-second-latest” world encyclopedia (Google) at our fingertips, it can be challenging knowing what advice to follow. While I’ll take people’s word on some crazy experiences (cliff/sky diving/alligator wrestling), I prefer to gain personal experience when it comes to health and fitness. By trial end error, my goal is to create the healthiest lifestyle possible for myself. I’ve experienced my fair share of successes and failures, which have all helped me gain a better understanding of what really works. Having actually lived it, also makes it much easier for me to truly relate to my client’s journeys.
There is certain advice in particular out there that in my opinion are plain myths. In order to clear up these commonly held misconceptions I’m sharing my own personal experiences. Now remember these are my experiences and yours may be different. I am only sharing them in hopes of giving you a new perspective that can help point your wellness journey in the right direction.
So here we go, let’s look at five suggestions that contrary to popular belief I advice you take with a grain of salt:
1. The more you exercise, the better the results – This is one that I debate with people (nicely). I’ve personally found that the more I exercise the hungrier l am and the less benefits I seem to get. My food choices are worse, I crave junk food and I feel run down. It’s a hormonal response that is very hard to overcome. One or two heavy weight sessions a week along with active rest (playing, walking, biking) and a sprint in there is fine. The last thing you want to do is destroy yourself in a workout only to be lazy, rundown and hungry. Being what’s called an “active couch potato” is not what it’s all about. Go hard, but leave a little in the tank to function throughout the day.
2. You have to eat every few hours to thrive – The biggest game changer in my health journey has been the ability to fast. It echoes through my ears “you have to eat breakfast / eat every three hours / you’ll go into starvation mode”. Hog wash!! I could write a 2000-word blog on the myths and facts of fasting, but until you actually do it yourself, you will never know how good you feel and how little food you require to thrive. Being primal means to attain what is called metabolic flexibility. Our ancestors had no choice on what and when they ate so their bodies had to adapt to go without food for days and run on whatever food source there was available. When we mimic this in our lives, we gain control of our health. It’s feels AWESOME!!
3. Fat loss supplements work – Oh the good old late night “pop a pill and lose weight fast” infomercial. Cracks me up over and over again and I fell for it. Over the past two decades I have spent so much $$ on fat burners, meal replacement shakes, metabolism stimulants, testosterone boosters, etc. it’s embarrassing. Sure, some show promise with their “clinical studies” and “pharmaceutical grade ingredients” and they might have even worked a bit, but all I really lost was cash!! Typically, they are filled with stimulants (natural or not) or some fat metabolizer chemical that does more harm to your system than good. Save your money and pass on the burners.
4. You need lots of carbs – Right off the hop I have to say that carbohydrates are not a bad or scary thing. I find having some good carbs (sweet potato or fruit) before bed helps me sleep better and helps with my strength training the next day. Problem is we eat way too much of them and the wrong kinds plus we’ve been told to depend on them for energy and weight loss. I probably average around 100 grams of carbs a day which is a far cry from the 250 grams plus the average person eats (I used to eat). Limiting carbohydrates keeps the insulin in check and allows the body to access its fat storages for fuel. Drop the carbs, drop the fat.
5. A strict diet is essential – If it was, I’d be in very big trouble. A strict diet for me is nearly impossible. Unless it was a matter of life or death, then maybe I’d consider it, but for now I love to eat! If there’s a dinner party and the food looks amazing, I will indulge. Life has to be lived and for me if I was self-limiting because I worried about my waistline all the time, well I better get some mental coaching. If I eat like crap for a meal or five, I just have to reset and get back on track. Maybe a heavy weight session or a 24 hour fast will be in order. Being selective and structured is one thing, but too strict is just stressful to me. Life is stressful enough, there’s no reason to make it worse.
The journey of health and wellness is a daily decision. I have to wake up and tell myself to be the best student I can be for my benefit and in turn the best coach for the benefit of my clients. Experience is the best teacher. I have a hard time trying to follow someone’s suggestions or directives if they haven’t experienced the journey themselves.