One of the biggest hurdles I face in maintaining a consistent fitness and eating plan is complexity.
For instance, Weight Watchers, to me, has just enough administrative stress to confirm that I will not keep up with it for longer than a week. And workout plans that involve a long commute to a gym and confusing workout equipment create just enough friction that I’ll struggle making it out of week two.
Therefore, I’ve created a set of principles that help me stay on task without depleting that natural human resource known as self-discipline (you do know we have a finite amount of the stuff each day, right?).
I won’t draft out a specific plan that I think all people should follow Rather, over the next few posts, I will lay out common sense principles to guide you in creating your own simple health plan.
The First Principle that makes an eating and fitness plan a Simple Health Plan: Simplicity
Simplicity means that your plan must require the fewest number of decisions possible.
The more you have to think about, less likely you’ll execute.
You should not have to decide each day what exercises you will do or have to stress about some overly complicated meal plan.
Simplicity in Your Exercise Plan
Simplicity in your exercise plan can benefit from one or more of the following…
- Basic Exercises: You might need to start with walking, push-ups, and body weight squats. You can remember that. The exercises are easily doable whether you have a gym or not or whether you have kids and a full-time job.
- Planning: My wife and her workout buddy buy and use relatively complicated plans. But… They are plans. The plans take the confusion and guess work out of the equation. You can also create your own plan. That way you know exactly what you will be doing the next workout. These plans can include elaborate equipment and difficult exercises – as long as you have the resources easily available. The fewer decisions the better.
- Hire a Trainer: A trainer can keep it simple because you’ve delegated the task of creating a plan. You simply have to show up at the right time and work out like a boss.
- Easy Access: We were a member of the YMCA for a while. It was a 10 minute drive to get there in the morning and an additional 20 minutes if I went after work. Too much friction. Make sure that you are able to easily access the equipment and location for you to do your exercise.
Again, the key element is to make sure that you have to make the fewest number of decisions each day around how you will approach your exercise.
Right now, I am focused on 10,500 steps a day and three sets of push-ups, squats, and lunges. Simple. I’ll build from there.
Simplicity in Your Eating Plan
A simple eating plan also should require few decisions.
This idea is the principle behind why I love eating according to the Whole 30 plan.
This plan requires that you eat whole foods (meat, veggies, fruits, nuts, etc.). Basically, you have to skim the outer edges of your grocery store.
While some individuals (you know who you are) feel such a plan is burdensome, with it’s no grain, dairy, or sugar, I feel liberated by it because it makes my food choices simple: meat, whole veggies and fruit, tree nuts, and most oils.
More meal prep is involved, but I don’t have to count anything, log anything, or measure anything. Simple (to me).
What would make a meal plan simple for you? Here are some ways that might mean ‘simplicity’ for you and your eating plan:
- Easy Tracking: Some folks love to count calories and Weight Watchers points. That is their ‘simplicity’. Portion control = simplicity.
- Decrease Your Choices: This is why I love Whole 30. My choices are limited. I can focus in on what I like and easily say no to the others (well, unless I’m craving a beer or pizza… but I’m not a legalist. We’ll get to cheat days later.).
- Meal Delivery Services: Such services are booming right now. If you can afford it, there are plenty that delivery high quality, healthy foods right to your door step, complete with recipes. How simple is that?
Again, you know what works for you. Generally, I would say that a common element would be to avoid purchasing stuff that kills your progress. That is one way to keep things simple.
And by simple, I do not mean easy. Eating well is the hardest thing I do. I know, drama, but still….. Do the thing that you know you can do over the long haul. That will normally be the easiest, simplest solution.
Wrapping It Up
Think through your exercise and eating plans.
Have you ever struggled to maintain consistency solely because your plan was way too complicated?
While self-discipline might help you keep a commitment for a while, I say you should give yourself the best possible chance to win.
Keep it simple!
We’ll be hitting on the other principles in the next few posts:
Stay tuned for more Simple Health… and if you want to get these posts delivered to your inbox – complete the form in the sidebar or below this post or in the box that pops up when it sense you’re about to leave this little corner of the web.