Lifestyle, Not a Diet

Hey all, 

Been keeping pretty busy this last week reading and finishing up some assignments, training pretty hard and over all enjoying this great weather we have been seeing here in Sydney, or out West where I live. 

Doing these things in the last week have made me think about quite a few different topics I could cover this week. Things from, looking further into SAD and vitamin D deficiency (I covered that a little bit in one of my first articles, but I could go further into that I think), Fermented foods and their benefits to gut flora, Stress minimising and Cortisol Mitigation. Veganism.  But it was the topic of stress that makes me want to write this article today. Not directly talking about stress, but more so something that adds to it.

By now, I've been eating clean and living this lifestyle for two years.

 I once heard that the two year mark is the hardest to break through. And to be honest, I don't remember where I heard this or who it was from. To quote them, "Statistically speaking the average person can only stick with a diet for up to two years.". What I remember most from when I heard this though, is that it scared me. I was coming to around about my six month mark, I had already dropped around 40kg and I really could not fathom the idea of going back to the obese, unmotivated, passionless person that I was. So what did I do?

I tightened my diet up further, pushed harder in the gym, and I began to obsess on not failing. I couldn't go back to who I was before. 

You may be asking, "How did you tighten up your diet?"

Well, I stopped eating at restaurants with friends, I refused all forms of the occasional alcohol, I reduced my carbohydrate intake even further (my training really suffered because of this).  

And as far as gym goes, I was not able to lift as much, and to make up for it i decided to train an extra day, minimising my recovery time. 

So whats my point? 

From a general health and wellbeing perspective, obsessing over your diet is going to create issues for you.

I learnt a lot from this deviation. I'd like to explain some points that may help.

First, lets look at the concept of a diet verses a lifestyle and how we should be approaching it.

A diet in most cases is something that we view as something we have to do. A lifestyle on the other hand is a choice. A diet will have restrictions and often involve calorie counting and it is something that is very easy to become obsessed over. A lifestyle, as it is more of a natural approach feels less restrictive. If it's done honestly and properly, a lifestyle approach will achieve the same results, if not better.

A 'diet' which has become much more popular over the last two years is the one that I began with... The Paleo Diet*.

I don't really mention this on the site largely for two reasons. 

  1. Paleo gets misunderstood and misinterpreted by so many people and the media is the worst for it.  It gets branded not only as a 'diet' but it also gets branded as low carb.
  2. Paleo itself is a concept. A template. There are companies that are making and marketing products that are 'paleo' and in doing this they are working against the key concept of the lifestyle. 

*As soon as I finish up this article, I'll be writing a short one on a Paleo Template

These two factors are what led me down the path of making some big mistakes that not only changed my attitude to training, but it also changed my attitude towards what I ate. Calorie counting for me was a trap. For some people it works. For others it causes more stress and cortisol than anything else. 

If we are treating our approach as a whole hearted lifestyle and not as a quick fix we are more likely to succeed.

For my second point lets look at what drove me to change from what I was doing right, to what wasn't exactly right for me. 

Fear is one of the biggest things that will make a person do something. Anything for that matter. It can change a person.  Fear is what stops us making the right decisions and it's what will take us from being confident in what we are doing, to have self doubt. It was that, that had changed me and my goals.

I have news for you. 

If you're reading this or anything of what I have written and you find yourself agreeing and understanding what I'm talking about. You're not going to fail. If you understand that health is not only about looking good on the outside, but feeling good on the inside. You're on the right track.   


Michael LaidlerComment