The Secret to Health and Fitness

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The last thing the world needs is another Top Secret Tips to Lose Weight Quickly and Get Super Duper Sexy in Only Minutes a Day! article. Rest assured, this is not one of those.

This isn’t a trick or gimmick. If you want to bypass all of the prevalent nonsense and achieve results you can maintain long-term without resulting to a diet that leaves you hungry and miserable or a workout program that makes you despise physical activity, then continue reading.

The secret to health and fitness can be summed up in four words: stick to the basics. But a bit of elaboration is needed as to what the basics are and why they’re “secret.”

Here are those oh-so secret, results-producing basics …

Eat mostly real, minimally processed foods. Include plenty of plant-based foods (e.g., vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, whole grains, beans and legumes), and also eat a variety meat and poultry, seafood, dairy, and eggs. (For more information refer to The Diet That Has No Name.)

Why “mostly?” Because there are some tasty things that don’t fit neatly into those categories. Like a slice of hot, oh-my-damn-that’s-glorious cheesy pizza. Or a homemade chocolaty, decadent dessert. Telling you to avoid those amazing foods is not only ridiculous, but it would be setting you up for inevitable failure. No one is going to avoid their favorite foods forever. Enjoy them on occasion and eat real, minimally processed foods most of the time.

Move your body frequently, in ways you enjoy. Don’t overlook the in ways you enjoy part. Exercise is not punishment. Do things you enjoy, and look for new activities to try as well; you may be surprised at what you like doing. You can strength train with free weights, perform bodyweight workouts, mountain bike, rock climb, hike, or any other activity that gets you moving. Even taking your dog for a morning walk counts. Mix and match as you prefer; just move your body frequently.

Get enough sleep. Don’t underestimate the value of sufficient, quality sleep. This is simple, yet so beneficial. Don’t neglect this. A respected guideline is 7–9 hours per night. Make this a priority now and you’ll quickly experience the benefits.

When you slip up, don’t berate yourself. This is vastly important, yet is usually never discussed as being a crucial part of health and fitness. There will be days when your eating habits are not ideal. There will be days when your physical activity consists of shuffling between the couch and fridge. There will be nights when you don’t sleep well or intentionally stay up too late. Don’t give yourself a hard time. Practice self-compassion, move on, and do something positive.

Do the things listed above because you love yourself. Much of the health and fitness information thrown at us encourages us to eat less because we need to lose weight. To work out because we over indulged. We’re taught to be dissatisfied with how we look and that we should change to fit society’s standards. Believe it or not we can — and should — do things like eat well and move our bodies because we love ourselves and we want to improve our health and live life to the fullest.

“In a society that profits from your self doubt, liking yourself is a rebellious act.”

No idea who said that first, but I damn sure love it.

Love yourself and commit to implementing the tips in this article to become a better version of yourself, to increase your confidence, to feel great, and to discover the wonderful things your body can do.

Repeat the above, consistently. Is this plan perfect? Screw perfection. Don’t let your search for perfection prevent you from taking action. It’s not about finding a perfect plan — it’s about executing the basics over and over again and doing them most of the time. A good plan practiced consistently is better than a “perfect” plan you can’t follow for more than a few days, and it’s undoubtedly better than nothing.

But, This Seems too Simple to Work!

The above information is too simple?

That is precisely the point.

It’s not the least bit sexy, exciting, or groundbreaking. But my priority isn’t putting information in front of your face that’s controversial or exciting. My objective is helping you achieve, and maintain, your health and fitness goals in an empowering, enjoyable way. And the basics, explained above, are the tools for the job.

Part of what makes this a “secret” to health and fitness is that you’re never finished. Unlike having the goal of reaching a lower bodyweight, for example, which you can check off as “complete” once you reach it, you’re never finished with eating well and moving your body daily. This is what leads to long lasting success. You’re never done. These things become part of your every day life; they’re relatively easy to do every day too.

That’s the secret: sticking to the proven basics, doing them over and over again, never being “finished,” and committing to being the best version of yourself.

Practice the guidelines above, repeatedly, for several months and you’ll no longer have to take my word for their effectiveness. In fact, you’ll likely have people asking you, “Hey, what’s your secret?”

Like what you read? Get more (empowering!) health and fitness and lifestyle information on Nia’s website.