Educate Yourself: The Trial and Error Approach

The school bell may have sounded, but the road to your education has just begun. There’s no surprise that the health & fitness industry nowadays is constantly bombarded with millions of weight loss pills, fad diets, gimmicks, miracle shakes, and creative exercise equipment that all claim to be the best way of bettering your health. The cookie diet in recent memory stands out as breaking the mold of how most conventional dietary programs are perceived.  But with so many options to try, exactly how should you know which program is best suited for your needs and lifestyle?

Well, the simple answer is to EDUCATE yourself; and then reeducate yourself.  Getting an education in weight loss does not mean you have to earn a PhD in exercise physiology. In fact, self-education is the best means of staying up to date with market trends and weight loss programs that are best fit for your needs and lifestyle. Reading fitness literature, researching the Internet, word of mouth suggestions, and most importantly the “trial and error” approach, are all great ways to find success along your weight loss journey. After all, a fitness program must cater to the needs of your lifestyle, and not the other way around.

Here are a few tips to educating yourself and finding the right fitness program for you:

1) Practice Makes Perfect.  Weight loss is accomplished by knowing what you are doing. The best way to obtain such knowledge is to actively “practice” as many weight loss programs as needed until you find the one that works for you. Expert opinions on dietary guidelines literally change on a daily basis. The percentages of how many calories you should consume and the distribution of macronutrients (proteins, carbs, and fats) you take in, vary drastically from program to program. The general guidelines in narrowing down your diet search is to find one that doesn’t leave you feeling hungry nor deprived, and most importantly provides success in sustainability of your weight loss progress.

2) Continuing Your Education. Approach your fitness program as a tool that constantly needs maintenance and tweaks to ensure longevity in your success. Think of a doctor or pharmacist who stays up to date with modern medical innovations. They are constantly involved in continuing education lectures and readings to better understand new market research that surfaces. Well, identify the basics of your program that work for you today, and acknowledge that those principles may have to be altered to keep you on track for tomorrow. Your body adapts to it’s surroundings. The types of food you are eating, when you are eating, and the intensity levels of your workouts may grow stale or unproductive over time.  Educating yourself on new dietary and exercise trends will keep things fresh and exciting, but will also keep your anatomy guessing to ensure more consistent weight loss results.

3) Invest In Yourself. YOU are the best advocate for your success! Instead of spending countless hours paying experts to tell you what to do all the time, spend a few bucks educating yourself (Barnes & Noble has a big section devoted to diets and wellness) and formulate new techniques to help you through troublesome times. Buy a new fitness magazine or recipe book to test new ideas. Invest in yoga or spin classes that all you to enjoy some activity in your life. Personal trainers and nutritionists are excellent resources to help you get on track, but in those times they can’t be by your side, invest in yourself to develop the habits of success.

4) Do NOT Fall Victim to Great Marketing. Everyone must understand that just like any industry, the wellness industry is a business! All companies and products claim to have the best method of helping you lose weight. Often times, the sexiest and most appealing exercise programs are the ones that were willing to fork out extra money in their advertising efforts. They may give you a great sales pitch which sounds appealing, but the next thing you know the strage ab machine you just purchased becomes a coat rack in your home after a while. In educating yourself, read reviews from experts and consumers who are not just being paid for a promising sound bite. At the end of the day, weight loss is as simple as burning more calories than you are consuming each day. Don’t over-think it too much. Many times you are better spending money on a gym membership or on healthy groceries that can realistically fit into the mold of your life. Do not succumb to purchasing every sexy looking diet program sold by fitness models, just because they are marketed very well.

5) High Intensity Conquers Gradual Progression. Nobody says weight loss will be easy. If you are planning to coast through a few workouts, eat well once in a while, you will see results in a much slower amount of time than if you gave it 100%. Educating yourself on the definition of a high intensity workout is important, because it may be different for everyone. Intense workouts also change depending on where you may be in your fitness level. If a fast-paced walk is a high-energy workout for you, so be it. No need to be discouraged. But the results you will get from 20 minutes of a fast walk will far exceed an hour’s worth of a leisurely stroll. Studies have shown that higher intensity workouts for shorter periods of time tend to burn more calories than keeping your heart rate at a steady pace for a longer length of time. Interval training for example is based on constantly elevating and lowering your heart rate over the course of a workout. A high intensity interval workout will help you see better results in less time than just giving 30% of your energy for hours on end. Educate yourself on different types of high intensity workouts to switch things up a bit.

6) It’s OK to Fail. The most successful people in the world have failed millions of times before finding a recipe for success that is portable in everything you do. Don’t always view failure as a bad thing. Failure simply means there is room for improvement that will help you find success down the road. As Thomas Edison said when asked about his failures with creating the light bulb, “I didn’t fail 1000 times, I just found 1000 ways of how not to make a light bulb. It only takes 1 way to make it work”. When educating yourself and trying different diets, you will have successes and many failures along the way. It’s OK!! Rome was not built in a day, and your health won’t be either. But the trick to educating yourself is focusing on what works and what doesn’t.

7) Knowledge is Power. The more knowledgeable you are with something, the more empowered you will be to use that knowledge and find success in everything you do. Educating yourself is about knowing what works for your lifestyle and your specific body type, and then fine tuning your body (machine) to work for you. The more time you take to learn about your body, the more power you are arming yourself with to be successful. Think of weight loss as a constant struggle against yourself. There are good days and bad days. But every time you prevent yourself from reaching for that donut, every time you do not allow yourself to fall off the wagon, that is a moral victory for that day. And the true meaning behind finding a program that fits you is creating an environment that facilitates those small moral victories for you each and everyday. The power is always yours to be successful in all of your life endeavors, but the ease in acquiring that power all stems from your willingness to EDUCATE yourself! 

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