To understand why diet and exercise doesn't make sense for most people, it's important to look at it from an energy perspective of demands and resources.
Lets first acknowledge the vast majority of people live in survival mode, defined as demands > resources and evident by the many manifestations of the stress response: highest recorded levels of stress-related anxiety/depression, more than 2/3 Americans overweight/obese and controllable diseases including hypertension/type 2 diabetes, to name a few.
* Survival mode (stress response): demands > resources
Now, when looking at diet and exercise through the same lens, the objective of exercise is to increase caloric expenditure (increase demands) and the objective of a diet is to reduce caloric consumption (reduce resources).
Diet and exercise further increases demands and reduces resources, reinforcing and sustaining the stress response.
While in this state of deprivation, the body will catabolize lean muscle tissue and significantly increase fatigue and emotional stress, only adding to the strain of an imbalanced lifestyle.
Unfortunately, most people just shame themselves for their inability to stick to their diet and exercise plan when all the while, it's their mind's way of telling they're on the wrong plan.
The goal, in short, is to reduce demands and increase resources.
Additionally, when creating a sustainable strategy, we need to think purely beyond the physical realm...
- Create boundaries around your work schedule and honor your commitment
- Replace high-intensity exercise with healthy, restorative movement
- Substitute gossiping and judging others with empathy and compassion
- Learn how to perform short, 3 minute meditations throughout the day
- Get 1 hour more sleep per night (2+ weeks of sleep per year)
- Schedule in one fun, planned activity per week (happy people are healthy people)
* The key here is to think of a pocket-change approach to change...it all adds up
Time to get creative! Grab a blank sheet of paper, line down the middle, left side (reducing demands) and right side (increasing resources), set a timer for 15 minutes, list as many ideas as possible. Don't overthink it, just write and at the end of your timer, pick one item from each side to implement over the next month. This works really well amongst a group of friends.
"If I had 60 minutes to solve a problem, I'd spend 55 minutes defining it and 5 minutes solving it." Albert Einstein