Its funny how we value information based on how big or small the price tag is. The most common perception is that things with a bigger price-tag are more valuable. For example, a real-estate agent might make a video about how to turn a profit on buying run-down houses, doing them up, and re-selling them for a profit. Lets say, the video is based on making a €10,000 profit on a property. The agent might therefore value the information in the video at 10% of the profit, and therefore, charge you €1000 for access to the content. The point is that how much we value information, as represented by how much attention we pay to it, and how well we act upon that information, can often be based on the wrong thing. In essence, you could be barking up the wrong tree because of the simple fact that you have paid a lot of money for some information, regardless of whether that information is high quality or not. On the other hand, you might be casting aside top-drawer information simply because you didn’t have to pay big bucks for it.
In this post, I am going to give you some high-quality information for free. You can cast is aside as valueless, owing to the fact that you are getting the information free of charge, or you can value it highly and act upon it owing to the fact that this is my daily area of study, and is what we used at ACLAÍ to get long lasting and life changing results for our clients. Just last weekend, we had one member win a long jump competition and set a personal best in the 100m sprint, another won a backstroke race and set a personal best, and another set a new best in a VO2 max text, as well as loosing 3 stone since January. So take it or leave it, its up to you.
If you have struggled with your weight and coincidentally your nutritional habits in the past, I am going to tell you what you can do to fix this once and for all in the most simple terms possible. So simple that all the information can fit on one page. The following is represented in the flow diagram above, with additional explanations below.
Initially, you establish poor nutritional habits, most likely coupled with insufficient daily activity levels and little or no strength training. This leads to weight gain (namely body fat gain), and general health issues (low energy, negative state of mind, poor digestion, poor sleep, high blood pressure,, high cholesterol, diabetes, etc etc.
At some stage you get a spark of motivation (health scare, sick of being unhealthy, upcoming wedding or other event etc.) and decide to get some good advice. Here is the important point coming up!
If you want to know the secret to long term health, and a clear path to regaining you health, follow these steps:
1.Drink 2-3 litres of water per day
2.Eat 3 meals per day consisting of meat, and vegetables and/or salad
3.Walk 10,000 steps per day
4.Do not eat sugar or sugar containing products.
5.Have a treat meal every Saturday.
The results will be a reversal of most health issues, a decrease in bodily fat, and an increase in your overall energy and vitality.
All very simple and straight forward so far I hear you say. And it is. The problems start to happen when that initial bout of motivation starts to fade, and the thing that we call ‘life’ interjects. Weddings, hen parties, stag parties, work nights out, sleepless nights, pressure at work, financial pressure, a hectic schedule, lack of time, not feeling great, going on holiday’s. All pretty valid things that happen to all of us, and its not hard to see how any of the above could set you back in your progress. Most people start off with the idea that progress back to health and fitness is a linear process whereby you start on day one, and make progress every day until you have reached your destination. Alas, this is not the case. If you are starting on this journey, you need to know that you will have setbacks and plan accordingly. If you have already started on fixing your nutritional and lifestyle habits, then you are already well accustomed to the inevitable setbacks. It happens to everyone, including me.
The absolute most important step is to catch yourself as soon as you can when you loose focus and/or your motivation to continue. Regroup, refocus, and tighten up the systems that you are trying to implement in your life so that the next time around your are even more on autopilot, offsetting the next set-back for as long as possible. This might be as simple as buying a 2 litre water bottle so its easier to get your daily water quota in. I’m might be cooking up a big pile of food and freezing the portions to take the brain-effort out of planning your lunch each day, or deciding not to buy biscuits and confectionary in your weekly shop so as to remove the temptation to eat those high sugar foods. Every time you fall off the wagon, circle around and fix something up a little bit so that it takes less effort to maintain it on the next cycle.
Once you keep this going for 6-12 months, things will really go onto autopilot, and the mental bandwidth required at the beginning will no longer be used up with food prep, remembering to drink water, or recording your daily step-count. You can use the excess brain-energy to get stuck into a new project or to spend more time with friends and family and doing the things that you were not capable off when you were your old-self with low energy and health issues.
Getting your health in-check need not be more complicated that what I have described above. The only thing that I would add would be regular strength training under the guidance of a coach who knows what they are doing, but outside of that, the answer to your nutritional woes lies within this short post. As I said, value it or don’t, take it or leave it, the choice is yours.
This article is by Ainle Ó Cairealláin MSc CSCS.