Diet, exercise, health: Myth or Fact? Your questions answered!

You'd think that everyone in our nation would like to be healthier, more fit and eat better but that's not always the case. There are some individuals who are happy just the way they are but if you are reading this blog right now, it's likely that you have a diet, exercise or health-related goal and you are seeking information on how to accomplish that goal. 

In the quest of health/nutrition/exercise-related information, it's likely that you are in information overload. Your search engine has seen hundreds of websites, blogs and article links over the past few years and although some of the information may be credible, effective and appropriate, it's likely that a lot of the information you have read (and continue to read) on the internet is not very reliable (and often times, very unhealthy). 

Now a day, it's hard to decipher what is factual or false because there are many sources to receive information. There are books, magazines, the media, television, articles, blogs, websites, lectures, journals and many times, pure experience and word of mouth. 

Much of what we hear/read is oversimplified. The media and "experts" often take a simple topic and make it very complicated and confusing. Considering that if you are reading this now and you are over the age of 20, you have been around for some time on this Earth and you are likely doing something right to keep your body alive. 

But short term fixes do not bring long lasting results and no matter what age you are, it's important to be careful of what's "too good to be true" and what's worth the change. 

There are a lot of experts in this world and it's easy for our society to decide how they will get their information and what information they want to receive. 
-There are those who want Free advice
-There are those who will pay an expert for his/her time
-There are those who will try anything at any cost
-There are those who are resistant to change, despite searching for a change
-There are those who are always excited to try something new
-There are those who like to follow the masses

If you are confused or overwhelmed by all of the nutrition/health-related information available to you, visit the Oakley Women facebook page tomorrow, starting at 9am where I will be answering all of your nutrition-related questions. 

Considering that most individuals use the television, magazines, books or the internet as the easiest (and most affordable) place to find nutrition-related information (instead of medical professionals and Registered Dietitians), here's your chance to pick my brain (for FREE) in honor of National Nutrition Month

Before asking your questions, I'd like for you to consider two important parts in changing your habits as you move toward a personal health-related goal. 

Stages of change

If you have your mind set a diet, exercise or health related goal, it's likely that you know changes will need to be made for you to reach your goal. You can't do the same thing over and over and expect a different result. 
The key to maintaining your energy to move you closer to your goal is to not only try new things, perhaps through trial and error, but to also apply information that will not only help you reach your goal but if applicable, maintain your goal once it is achieved.

Change is not easy. 
Psychologists will often help their clients understand what stage of change they are in order to better understand how the change will occur. Change requires small steps and this is why many people get very frustrated or discouraged and often give up on change OR many times, seek a more extreme or drastic way to achieve quick results during times of vulnerability, difficulty or setbacks. 

The two stages that I'd like you to consider before asking me a question tomorrow (or reading my response to another question) are stage 5 and 6. 

This is a great stage to be in and it's likely where you are right now in your life if you have a long term goal. Athletes know all about preparation, just like students or someone who is involved in planning an event. 
The key parts of this stage are experimenting with small changes, understanding that there will always be an adaptation phase when changes are being made. Something new is always hard at first.
It's important to gather information that you can use as you make small changes. For once a small change is made, it's time to move on to another small change.
Progress, not perfection.
Be sure to write down goals and invest in a professional who can help you devise a healthy and realistic action plan. It's also important to create a positive support system for encouragement and motivation for prep-work is not without difficulty so the key is not giving up.
As you gather information as part of your prep work, consider your own goals but also anything that may be specific to you that will affect your ability to change.
We all come from different backgrounds, fitness levels, economic statuses and we live in different places of the world that may affect our how we make changes (Ex. depending on the weather or where you live, how about your ability to eat certain foods at certain times of the year?)
Your lifestyle may be completely different than the person who you are getting all of your information from (this can be positive and negative) so it's important that you take into account the best course of action for YOU and not trying to be like someone else.

When Karel and I created our 5-week transition plan, we wanted triathletes to build a strong foundation before training more specifically for upcoming races. For the many triathletes who purchased and followed this plan (my athletes and Karel and myself included), there was a significant improvement of strength and understanding of weaknesses which is now allowing these athletes to progress more consistently with their more specific training.
Speaking of stage 6, which is the action phase, I find that many individuals jump into this stage without being prepared. No prep work has been made and thus, the motivated individual who jumps full-force into something, finds him/herself in a situation, perhaps a few weeks or months later, burnt out, injured, sick or unmotivated because too much direct action was made in too quick of time.
I don't know about you but I wouldn't want to buy a house that was created with short-cuts, cheap parts and little attention to detail. For I may be buying a beautiful looking house on the outside and perhaps one that my friends will marvel over but will eventually crumble and fall once I get settled in (talk about a waste of money as well.)
To be successful at change, you must be in a positive environment that supports change. Many times I find people overwhelming themselves with information and tips that are not pertinent to you at that specific time.
I always say "progress not perfection" but it's almost as if individuals who want to make change have this pressure to do everything right (perfect) all at once, forgetting that every expert was once an amateur.
If you have a diet/exercise or health related question, consider how the answer you are seeking will apply to you. It's ok to hear things and question an expert if it is true or not, but many times, the information you are seeking should help you make the changes you need to make, in a progressive manner, so that you can reach your goals.
Keep in mind that as you take action, you must have great support from others, that you are doing exactly what you should be doing at specific times in your journey. Continue to review your resources, motivating statements and team of energy-giving individuals that will help you maintain your action without getting side-tracked as to what other people are doing, the results of others or the tendency to desire a quick fix because you struggle with patient, hard work and overcoming obstacles. 

When it comes to changing habits, stages of change may vary from person to person.
But the most important thing to remember is your reason for change for this will be the major factor as to where you get your information for change. 

-The individual who never feels good enough, may constantly find him/herself struggling to accept the changes that are moving that individual into a better place.
-The individual who once ate out every meal, every day should not be seen as a failure if she/he is now only eating out 5 day per week, just because he/she is still eating out.
-The family of 6, who has no car and relies on food stamps as they question when they will receive their next meal should not be following the same advice from a blogger who The individual who expresses his/her beliefs as to why everyone should choose only organic local foods and should cook every balanced meal from scratch.
-The individual who was recently diagnosed with diabetes, renal disease or cancer may be in need of a clinical "quick fix/lifestyle change" unlike the individual who feels "fat" and has an unhealthy relationship with his/her body and seeks out information that encourages a fad diet, disordered eating habits, surgery or weight loss pills. 

As you can see, the reason for change will vary from person to person.
So depending on where you are getting your information, it's no wonder that you feel overwhelmed and confused when it comes to making changes to "be healthy".

I look forward to answering your questions tomorrow and helping you move closer to your individual goal as you also improve your quality of life.