Some time ago, I was in a fitness center and overheard a conversation related to weight management. After hearing someone offer his advice, I wanted to go over and give him a high five.
Because he actually gave sound advice. Something that is very rare these days, especially in fitness centers.
What did he say? I’m paraphrasing but roughly this: “Eat real foods. Try to eat less. Move more. Find workouts you enjoy doing so you will stick to it.”
Conceptually, it’s very simple. Eat healthy foods, eat things that look as much as possible like they do in nature. If you’re trying to lose weight, eat fewer calories than you burn. Putting this into practice is when it gets very tough.
It doesn’t even matter what you eat as long as you are eating healthy foods. I was recently reading a study on diets. Low fat vs. low carb. Vegetarian vs. vegan vs. those including meat or other animal products. What the study found was that all diets initially worked about the same for weight management and health improvements. For long term success, the deciding factor wasn’t the type of diet but how much people liked it and stuck to it. In other words, it’s not about what kind of diet you followed. It was about whether you liked it enough that you could keep it going after it wasn’t the “new thing”.
As for working out, if you’re here, you probably like running. Great first step. What else do you like? What will get you moving every day? It doesn’t need to be intense every day but even a walk on your easier days so you keep moving is great.
Put this all together and you have a weight management plan that looks simple. Just like the person in the fitness center said.
Just remember, simple is not easy. Conceptually, this advice is very simple. In practice, it’s much harder to follow, especially in our modern society that makes it far too convenient to eat highly processed junk food and be extremely inactive. If you’re here, you’ve likely overcome the inactivity part to some extent. However, the nutrition part may honestly be even a bigger challenge.
Remember, the most important factor for managing your weight and, more importantly, your health is that what you do is sustainable. Both with the nutrition side and the exercise side, make sure you are doing things that are enjoyable and not too extreme. This way, you can sustain them for the long term, which gives you the greatest chance at success.