By: Nick Thomas
I believe in creating a life which does not need an escape in order for one to feel the best possible. A sustainable life includes daily, habitual choices in nutrition and activity, creating a level of health which not only gives confidence but keeps the body functioning at its peak. This is such a level where consistent happiness and energy is achieved week after week without stressful extra effort. This is a life of peace and order which everyone desires.
True healthy living is a passionate topic for me. I want to take time to break down my beliefs and methods in order to give full explanation to what a sustainable lifestyle truly looks like. It is much more than having a salad every other meal or spending hours at the gym, and it most definitely does NOT include a long list of daily supplements or products. Making results a reality is about knowing how to properly fuel the body, move and challenge the body regularly while being surrounded with positive influences daily.
This is the first installment of a series outlining and explaining what I not only believe, but KNOW to be the components of a sustainable lifestyle. I have followed and constantly improved and educated myself on these theories all my adult life. Moreover, I have numerous clients I have advised through my 20-plus years in the health and fitness industry which are living, breathing testaments of continued success with this mindset and lifestyle.
This sustainable lifestyle does not come without sacrifice or hard work, especially in the beginning. Creating new habits is difficult at best, but once achieved becomes second nature. Research shows that it takes roughly 20 to 25 days to form new habits and, in my opinion, at least another 30 to 40 to create true lasting change.
Lasting change in the health habits of life means that the crash diets go completely in the trash where they belong. Shift the mindset to longevity not just looking good on the family beach vacation or fitting into that favorite dress for a party next week. The quick 10 to 15 pound loss on the scale achieved by whatever Pinterest craze or latest most popular drink or supplement on the Facebook scroll will ultimately do no good. This approach will only return as double the pounds lost in just a few weeks as real life starts again.
When constantly living in this yo-yo diet world, the body is not technically losing much, if any fat. All that is being lost is muscle and maybe some water weight. The body has to have certain nutrients to function at a basic level daily, and because it is being deprived of the nutrients it needs, it will seek them out. In order to keep moving during the crash diet, the body will go to the muscles to get what it needs to survive, therefore gaining the minimal amount of energy it takes to get through each day. This is why feelings of weakness and exhaustion are typical while fad dieting. The rapid decline in muscle and loss of “weight” also contributes to undesirable loose skin. When weight loss is done correctly, this is far less likely to happen or be as dramatic.
These choices not only affect the body but have mental and emotional repercussions such as depression and extreme irritability during and/or after the diet. This crazy rollercoaster of wacky eating is ultimately not only destroying the body but also any sense of healthy mental state. Cutting out whole food groups or replacing them with a pill or shake will NEVER give the body what it needs and will eventually come to a very a disappointing end. By “filling” the body with a shake – even one with “good” ingredients – or altering/fooling the receptors in the body with a pill, you are still not providing the nutrients in the form NEEDED by the body to sustain high-level functioning. A healthy life has to focus on REAL food and REAL change. Therefore, as soon as these things stop, the body will go into a “recovery mode” – same as after the crash diet. This means it will hold onto every single thing it is given in fear of being deprived again, which ultimately causes extreme weight gain and subsequently depression as well. The mental and physical are always connected.
YES, it will take discipline to eat appropriate amounts of REAL, all-natural whole food spaced correctly through each day, along with cutting out the sugar, alcohol, and drive-thru food. It will take time to get an individual winning combination and balance, and it may change periodically depending on stage of life or current personal goals. But I can promise one thing, IF you take the time to correctly manage food intake and make it a habit, you will feel better and live a more fulfilled life.
By: Nick Thomas
Owner of Prime Performance Training, and Certified Sports Nutritionist