From low carb to IIFYM and from CrossFit to running, there are a million different diet and workout programs.
How do you know which one is the right one?
The truth is not everything will work for anyone, but there is one thing that works for everyone.
In order to get real, lasting results, you need to ask yourself: What makes you the least miserable and what is the most realistic?
When it comes to your nutrition, the way to determine the best diet for you is to find out what way of eating makes you feel your best.
High protein diets work well for some, while others don’t feel great consuming a lot of animal protein. Maybe going low carb makes you tired and foggy, while someone else might feel fine eating very low carb.
Ask yourself what’s realistic for your life and schedule. Maybe you can’t eat five times a day. That’s ok, you don’t have to. Maybe you need consistent energy so eating every 2-3 hours is better.
What types of food do you like to eat? If you’re trying to stick to a diet and you hate all of the foods that you’re eating, you’re never going to do that long-term. You do have to eat healthy and you do have to make good choices, but even within healthy foods, there are typically foods that you prefer over others. Perhaps you don’t really like kale but you like spinach. No problem, just be sure you’re eating your greens no matter which greens you choose.
Exercise also should be realistic and not something that makes you miserable. We often think of exercise as something that has to be unenjoyable, unpleasant, difficult, and tedious. That is not at all the case, there are a million different ways to burn calories move your body and use your muscles.
Some people really like getting in the gym and lifting really heavy weights, some people would prefer to do body weight workouts, or yoga. That’s what feels good on their body, and that is ok.
You do need to strength train, but you can strength training with 300 pound weights and you can do strength training with lighter weights or even bodyweight.
If you love kettle bells but hate barbells, no problem! If Pilates is your jam but you’re not that into the weight room, that is A ok!
Maybe you don’t really like exercise. That’s ok too. But you know you need to do it, and there’s going to be something you can do that you’re at least going to say “this isn’t so bad, I can deal with this.”
Just like diet, your workout plan needs to be realistic. If you don’t have two hours a day to workout, a heavy strength training program probably isn’t realistic. That 6:00 a.m. yoga class probably isn’t either if you hate getting up that early and dread dragging yourself out of bed.
Try shorter circuit workouts that take less than a half hour and you can do on your lunch break. Or find a workout plan you can do at home on your own schedule.
Whatever you do, you’re going to have to move your body regularly for the rest of your life. So if you can’t see yourself working out at 6:00 a.m. every day in a year, it probably isn’t a good long-term plan.
That is the ONE thing that works for everyone.