No Shortcuts to Success

“Lose 10 pounds quickly with this one simple trick!”

“Eat these 3 foods to burn belly fat!”

These advertisements are everywhere. They are easy, simple and tell you what you want to hear. Unfortunately, scientists with their white coats, years and years of research and knowledge have confirmed what you’ve always known deep down: you can’t take shortcuts when it comes to your personal health.

There’s no secret berry hidden in the Amazon that will help you shed pounds like crazy. There’s no magic wrap that tones your muscles while you lay on your couch. These ideas appeal to us because we are creatures of habit, so if there is something out there that will give us all the changes we desire without us actually having to change our lives, we desperately want to believe it.

However, our bodies are (mostly) well-oiled machines that don’t buy into the fads as easily as our brains tend to do. You can delve deep into the internet and spend years reading about everyone’s recommendations to lose weight and increase physical fitness, but it all comes down to a pretty simple approach that you can commit to as much as you’d like:

1. If you want to lose weight, you need to be willing to change your lifestyle.

Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." I don’t want to be the bad guy here, but skipping dessert once a week is not going to make a very big difference. Again, it’s a lifestyle change! A lot of people, myself included, claim to only be on a diet until they hit their goal weight. However, this is a “Band-Aid” approach: one that works for the time being, but does nothing in fixing the problem itself.

2. Weight loss (or gain) is dictated by the ratio of calories in/calories out.

I know, I know, it isn’t always that simple. There are other factors that can come into play, but at the end of the day, if you are taking in more calories than you are burning, your body will store that energy and you will put on weight. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to track what you eat for a few days, just to get an idea of where you are at. Once it’s laid out in front of you, it’s easier to see where your problem areas exist and how you want to move forward.

3. Your level of fitness is the biggest predictor of your mortality.

You need to find time for activity if you want to live a full life, end of story. It doesn’t mean you have to go to the gym every day and crank out a few miles on the treadmill (unless that’s your thing, then go for it!) It can be as simple as taking a brisk walk or playing tag with your kids. The important thing is to move, and move often.

It’s hard to make a lifestyle change, but I promise, it’s not impossible! The most important thing is to not throw in the towel after a bad week (or month). It takes time, but it is one of the best things you can do for yourself.

Written by Jenny Beuschel, 2016 Fitness Ambassador