Ya know when you see a skinny-fat woman in her third hour on the treadmill?
Or when you see an obese man doing dumbbell shrugs?
I have a shoulder-shriveling, neck-quivering, lower-lip-retracting, full-body-grimacing sort of physical response to this kind of sight. Do they KNOW?!
I mean, I’m completely aware that I can’t just walk up and gently suggest that perhaps their actions don’t exactly match their goals. I mean, I fully understand that I can’t even assume that the skinny-fat woman’s goal is to be stronger or leaner or to look more toned. And I certainly can’t assume that the obese man’s goal is to lose weight.
None of my business, I tell myself!
But it hurts my soul a little–these poor beings putting in the time and effort but likely not getting the results they are really after.
Anyway…I feel this same sort of stabbing-of-the-heart sensation when I hear the way people talk about their…erm…let’s call them “nutrition decisions.”
You’ve got obese people talking about coconut oil this and guacamole that, and about how they made the switch to bulletproof coffee!
You’ve got vegetarian bodybuilders talking about “pre-workout supps.”
You’ve got perfectly healthy, strong hard-to-kill types still worried about eating egg yolks while simultaneously consuming entirely too much salt and no green vegetables.
All the time, I see people focusing on the wrong things, picking the wrong battles.
If I were to summarize this is one mixed-up metaphor, I would say that folks are sweating the trees for the forest.
(Any Boondock Saints fans out there? “People in glass houses sink ships?” If you don’t get the reference, at least now you know what movie to watch next chance ya get. P.S. Not for the easily-offended by language.)
I don’t have this part completely sorted out quite yet, but I figure I can give you my take, and you can straighten me out if I’m off course.
I think there are a few different camps when it comes to dieting goals, and I think people are often confused as to which one they fall under. Now, if you are clear on your goal, I think you’ll be able to classify yourself.
Some people NEED to lose weight. Like, their health absolutely depends on it, and it must be the single focus of their health efforts. Let’s call this Camp A.
Others want to lose the “last few pounds” to get them to their ideal body. For some, this is a “general leanness” type of goal, but for some this is a very specific–possibly extremely low–body fat percentage goal. Both of these types belong in Camp B for now. I’ll explain later.
The last group has a focus on performance. They want to perform well–whether it be in the gym or in a sport, or perhaps even just in life. Let’s place them in Camp C.
In my next blog post, I’ll dive into each Camp a bit more, clarifying the battles those in each Camp should be pursuing and which “trees” their “sweating over.” In other words, I’ll delineate where those in each Camp should focus their efforts and also point out the “shiny objects” that offer unnecessary distraction.
For now, I’ll leave you with these universal tips. These are battles you should pick because–regardless of the Camp you’re in–they will help you win your war.
- Know your end-game. Do you want to feel better? Look better? Be stronger? Be leaner? Really wrap your head around this one. Seek clarity in your goal. *Quick tangent: You absolutely cannot eat for weightloss, strength gain, increased libido, lower cholesterol, lower sodium, lower sugar, lower fat, faster mile time, and improved athletic performance all at the same time. (This one throws me for a loop, too, so don’t feel like you’re alone…)
- Drink enough water. (Roughly 100g daily.) Not only does being dehydrated have lots of physically-unhealthy effects, dehydration plays a significant role in controlling cravings and hunger.
- Eat green veggies as often as you can.
- Avoid junk food as often as you can.
- Eat unprocessed foods as often as you can.
- Mostly prepare your own foods by mixing and seasoning any number of single-ingredient grocery items.
- Challenge yourself to increase awareness of your consumption. Food log to help identify sensitivities and/or nutrient deficits, monitor portions and [very roughly] macronutrients, and to see patterns of success or difficulty surrounding keeping hunger, cravings, and enjoyment balanced.
- Know that most diet-related issues can be resolved with portion control.
And, finally, I’ll leave you with your…
60s bodyweight squats (as many high-quality reps as possible)
60s push-ups (as many high-quality reps as possible, holding plank if failure is reached)
60s full bridge reps (as many high-quality reps as possible, holding bridge if failure is reached)
60s hollow hold (regressing by lowering arms, as necessary)