It is easy to get sucked in to every piece of fitness advice that you see online or the cover of a healthy lifestyle magazine. But it is important to remember that the results of the best studies are based on statistics…and you are not a statistic. You’re a person. And had you been included in one study or another, you might have been an outlier.
So when you read something that sounds plausible and you think it could work for you, try it. But try it with an open mind. And know that after a week or two of feeling less than your usual self, rather than better, that perhaps that well researched tip you took away might just not be right for you.
Here are three things that I do regularly that go against the well researched advice that I devour in health blogs, newspapers, journals and my favorite magazines:
Three square meals…instead of five small meals throughout the day
I know, I know.
Study after study supports eating throughout the day.
But it just doesn’t work for me.
I eat so.much.more. when I graze.
I never feel satisfied that way.
Three well rounded meals work best for me.
It works even better if I add a green juice or green smoothie in the earlier part of the day.
I tend to eat more earlier in the day. I am hungrier when I wake up and usually work out in the morning, so breakfast and lunch are usually just a few hours apart. Then I can go a longer stretch until dinner.
If I chose a “snack” after breakfast instead of going straight in to lunch, I would still want lunch, so it’s a no-win situation for me.
Breakfast at 8, lunch at 12, dinner at 7. Add a green beverage and I’m satisfied, never hungry, and feeling energized all day.
A go-to workout…instead of mixing it up
I think that workout diversification is great for two things — fitness newbies trying to challenge their bodies in new ways, and athletic cross-training to prevent injury and enhance performance in a primary sport.
Getting hooked on one (or two) things has its own advantages, though.
It enables you to become really good at something.
It can also help sculpt your body in a really specific way.
I’m a “pick two” kind of person.
In recent years, my fitness obsessions have been Pilates + elliptical, yoga + Pilates, yoga + running, running + strength training, and now swimming + running.
As long as you maintain some sort of balance (and don’t just do one thing the same way seven days per week) and try different workouts within your fitness regime of choice (ie. changing strokes in swimming; running intervals, tempos, long runs and easy runs; practicing yoga with instructors who have their own unique style), it won’t ever feel monotonous, and it will always stay challenging.
A big bowl of pasta…instead of a little bit of pasta with a lot of vegetables
Sure, loading your bowl with veggies will cut the calories of your usual bowl of noodles.
But let’s face it, sometimes nothing will satisfy like the mouth-feel of forkful after forkful of al dente orrecchiette bathed in olive oil and pesto.
Food — for better or for worse — is consumed with all of your senses.
If you are craving something specific, diluting it with another food in the interest of calorie reduction just won’t satisfy the craving.
I am better off with a small bowl of pasta than a giant bowl of pasta filled mostly with vegetables.
Even though nobody loves vegetables like I love vegetables.
Because what I really want is the pasta.