There are an exponential amount of lies regarding fitness and nutrition. Many of them come from businesses who want to sell you on their products; they feel no guilt selling you a lie if it means earning a quick buck.
Those aren’t the lies I’m addressing today.
This list is about the lies we all tend to tell ourselves at one point or another on our path to getting fit, because those lies are easier to miss.
Two Truths and a Lie
Ever played the game two truths and a lie? It’s a “get to know you” sort of game, where you list three things about yourself, two that are true, one that’s not, and everyone is supposed to guess what the lie is.
Here, I have one for you about myself:
A. I have six toes on my left foot.
B. I’ve roasted a marshmallow over lava on an active volcano.
C. I’ve gained AND lost over 20 pounds in the last year.
Which one do you think is the lie?
Fortunately for you, you don’t have to guess about the other falsehoods in this list. When it comes to getting in shape, I’ll point out the lie, as well as offer the truth, no guesswork needed.
“I’d rather eat what I want and do what I want and be happy, even if it means I die a few years earlier.”
To some extent, we all adopt this mantra, whether we realize it or not.
Some people are more extreme about it than others, saying that eating healthy and exercising aren’t worth it because the extra years they gain will just be spent in the kitchen or the gym.
Even if you have a more moderate perspective, it’s possible you’ve accepted a level of health that’s far below where you could be, and with no extra “happiness” to show for it.
Getting in shape isn’t (only) about potentially extending your life. It’s about increasing your quality of your life.
Will you really be ok with the decisions you’re making for your body now if it means the last 20-40 years of your life will be accompanied by additional physical pain, health complications, and an increased dependence on other people?
Not to mention the fact that you could be more comfortable in your body right now, and it wouldn’t take total abstinence from the things you enjoy to achieve it.
“I’ll be happy when I lose X pounds.”
As long as we’re talking about happiness, this particular lie is a good follow-up, and there are two sides to it.
1. You may think you need to lose weight in order to get in shape. This may or may not be true. It’s not an automatic lie, but it’s not necessarily true, either.
2. If you’re unhappy now, you may think weight loss is the answer to your problems. That’s definitely a lie.
There were two sides to the lie, so I’ll give you two truths.
1. Weight loss doesn’t equal health. You’re better off focusing on fat loss. If the weight comes with it, great. (Read more about this here.)
2. I’m not qualified to tell you how to find happiness, but I do know it won’t happen through diet and exercise alone. I’d hate for you to think it’s the only answer and end up running yourself into the ground trying to attain it.
“I know what I’m doing.”
This lie is easy for me to spot when other people say it because even I don’t know what I’m doing half the time when it comes to getting in shape.
That’s a scary thing for a personal trainer to say, but what I’ve come to learn is that the best coaches and trainers in the world are the ones who are willing to admit it. I wouldn’t trust one who doesn’t.
Fitness and nutrition are becoming more and more well-researched topics every day. So there’s a lot that can be “known.” However, because every person is different, it makes getting in shape a bit of a moving target.
That means, to some extent, everyone is guessing.
People who have studied fitness and nutrition and stay up to date on current research are just better equipped to make more accurate guesses. If that’s not you, you’ll need help to do it.
Not for forever. Maybe not right now. But at some point, everyone needs help.
“I just have to work really hard.”
If you think you have to white-knuckle your way into getting fit, you’ve been misinformed.
It’s more important to have a realistic plan than it is to force your way through just any tough diet or exercise program.
Challenging yourself to the extreme may get you results for a while, but if it’s the only measure you use to gauge the efficacy of your efforts, eventually there will be nowhere to go but down.
Consistent work trumps hard work every time.
“Getting in shape won’t be that hard.”
This one might seem like the opposite of #4, but they go together.
If you think getting in shape is a quick challenge away, no matter how “hard” you work, it makes it seem easy. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works.
Just working hard isn’t the answer, but that doesn’t mean there will be no hard work involved whatsoever.
The difference is that the hard work comes from making intentional efforts over a long period of time. That means you’ll have to dig deep, be honest about your shortcomings, be open to change, and stay consistent.
None of that is easy.
If You’re Wondering
In my game, two truths and a lie, if you guessed “A,” you were right. I don’t have 6 toes on my left foot. Unfortunately I’m just a plain, boring old ten-toed individual.
I hiked up an active volcano in Guatemala and roasted a marshmallow with a very long stick and my arm held out as far in front of me as I could, and still felt the heat of the lava on my face.
Also, it’s a long story, but I intentionally gained over 20 pounds (of mostly muscle) and lost over 20 pounds (of mostly fat) in the last year. Maybe I’ll tell you about it sometime. If you’re interested and don’t want to miss out, sign up for our email newsletter, where we send all kinds of weekly tips and stories to help you get in shape.