If you’ve been around me for any length of time – as in, more than 2 minutes – you know I’m a huge advocate for getting in your daily 30 minutes of activity. I commonly use the hashtags #whatsyour2percent (because 30 minutes is 2% of the time in your day) and #moveyourbodyeveryday in my social media posts because it’s THAT big of a deal to me.
But you might also be wondering why I put such a big emphasis on it … I mean, clearly everybody already knows we need to move more, right? It’s in the ‘eat less, move more’ formula for how to get healthier/stay healthy throughout life.
That’s RIGHT! We do know it, but (1) we don’t do it, and (2) most people are so damn focused on food and nutrition and deprivation that they don’t have the bandwidth to get to the ‘move more’ part of the equation.
The Food Conundrum
Think about it… with food, we HAVE to eat, and most of us eat multiple times a day. Let’s ball-park it and say you’re like most Americans on the steady three meals per day plan.
That means three times per day (and more if you’re a snacker) you have an internal struggle, debate, and sometimes downright shame spiral over food.
First it’s the effort of figuring out what to eat – to stick with the plan, or not to stick with the plan. If you’re anything like me, the more you think about it, the more you can convince yourself to go off plan “just this once.”
So then if you give in and make a not-on-your-plan food choice, you’re both enjoying the delicious food and simultaneously shaming yourself while eating it. Or if you stick to your plan you’re cheering on the inside for finally demonstrating some resolve, but you’re also feeling deprived of the food you wish you could eat.
And lastly, afterwards you’re either all-in on the shame spiral and figuring out how to un-do it so it doesn’t wreck your plan. Or you’re feeling good about your plan, but still hungry and looking for a diversion so you don’t raid the pantry.
Three times each and every day we’re on this roller coaster of food. And it’s not even our fault! We’ve been programmed over the years to eat this, not that; stay away from fats; stay away from carbs; stay away from only bad fats; only eat raw food; eat organic; dairy is bad. All the while the food media industry is shoving every highly processed twinkie and ho-ho in our face for when we’re finished eating our supersized fast food value meal.
And all of that doesn’t even address all the different fad diets out there that all have “proven results!”
Ok, deep breath. We’re past all the mind-boggling food stuffs.
On to activity.
By flipping what it takes to get healthy on its head, from 80% nutrition / 20% activity to 20% nutrition / 80% activity, it immediately reduces the stress and overwhelm.
It does so in a few ways. The first of which is it takes you from a three times per day massive mental & willpower effort (aka meals) down to one 30 minute session of activity.
Next, activity is an added thing to your day, not a thing you must deprive yourself of (like food). It’s science that we’re more apt to change when things feel good than when they feel bad. And deprivation nearly always feels bad. By adding something in to our day instead of removing things three times per day, we’re again set up for higher success rates.
And lastly, which I wrote about last week, is the trickle down effect of activity. It isn’t just the activity itself that makes a huge difference, but it’s the subsequent things that occur that make it seem like magic. A whole bunch of things improve – like your mood, focus, productivity, attention, energy, etc. AND it can trickle down into the food arena of your life.
Maybe, like me, you find you’re able to enjoy your food MORE because you feel like you earned it and are refueling your body. Or perhaps you even forego a third cookie because you don’t want to un-do the gains you felt you accomplished during activity. It’s a double-sided win-win!
It’s Not Nutrition Naivety
So while food experts and nutritionists have a MUCH needed role in what it takes to get healthy, it doesn’t take an expert or a certification to move your body. And THAT’S why I place so much emphasis on getting 30 minutes in every. single. day.
In seeing your success and your progress in your activities, you’re significantly more likely to continue than if you were to begrudgingly eat an apple a day. Start with the path of least resistance to get a quick win, build momentum, and watch the wins continue adding up day in and day out.