75% of Americans say they eat healthy. Yet 70% of Americans are overweight.
Clearly there’s a disconnect somewhere.
It might not be your fault. You can do exactly what you’ve been told is healthy and still not get results. Some of it is just bad information. But even advice that caused great success for one person could be wrong for you.
I’ll tell you why that is, so you can find what’s right for you.
There are lots of people selling (figuratively and literally) their own brand of healthy, and too many of them believe their way is the RIGHT way.
I’ve tried a lot of things. Bodybuilding, distance running, P90X, crossfit, powerlifting, eat clean diet, IIFYM, countless supplements, a gallon of milk a day to bulk up, super low carb to lose fat…
Some approaches gave me decent results. Most didn’t.
The methods that didn’t work weren’t necessarily bad (some were). They were just bad for ME.
What healthy looks like for you will be different from everyone else. But if you don’t clearly define your version of healthy, you won’t achieve it.
To do that, I have 5 things for you to consider.
1. Your Goals
If you’re a busy parent wanting to lose a few pounds, trying to follow the plan of a professional bodybuilder isn’t the best idea.
But not every difference between goals is that obvious.
Let’s say there are two women who both want to cut body fat. Because of this, a trainer gives them the same workout and meal plan.
In the end, they both lose fat, but only one is happy when she looks in the mirror. Turns out Woman A just wanted to get skinny. Woman B is sad to see her curves disappear.
By getting more specific with their goals, Woman B could have followed a different plan to help her lose fat without sacrificing muscle, getting a more lean, toned look. (If you relate to that, check out Getting Lean Without Getting Bulky.)
Before letting someone convince you their way is the right way, ask yourself, “Is this program designed with my exact goals in mind?” If you’re not sure, it’s probably not.
2. Your Injury History
A friend does a certain exercise program, and now looks and feels more athletic. You think, “That’s great, I should do that, too!” The only problem is, the plan has a lot of high impact exercise (i.e. running, jumping, etc.), and you have knee problems.
You’re setting yourself up for more injury.
Whatever exercise you do, it should be designed to work around injuries, or even to help strengthen those areas (with a doctor’s consent/guidance).
3. Your Current Condition
If you’re more than a little overweight, an advanced diet could help at first, but then cause more harm in the long run.
If you’re extremely out of shape, your body isn’t ready for that high intensity group exercise program your friends are in.
If you’ve struggled with an eating disorder, you need a strategy that won’t reinforce a negative relationship with food.
I could go on and on, but the point is, based on your current health, there are a million and one reasons why a plan that’s good for someone else could be bad, or even dangerous for you.
4. Your Biology
Everyone’s body processes foods differently.
If a family member does better without gluten, that doesn’t mean you will, too. Or just because your friend tolerates dairy doesn’t mean you should ignore that it bothers you.
It’s the same with exercise.
Your body may respond differently than mine to things like high or low reps, short or long workouts, or recovery time.
It takes time to figure these things out. Once you’ve found a good plan, stick with it for a few months so you can track the results.
5. Your Lifestyle
It’s easy to feel like you’re wasting your time if you can’t fit a particular workout into your schedule.
You might not understand why you can’t force yourself to eat certain healthy foods.
Or you may get frustrated you don’t have the type of personality that loves tracking calories and going to the gym.
It’s critical that these personal characteristics come into play when deciding how to be healthy. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad about yourself for not doing what works for them. You need to find your own thing.
All of these things matter. They’re central to what makes you you. And you matter.
What Works For You
It’s easy to see why people tout their personal version of healthy as being the best. Once you find what works for you, you’ll be excited about it and want to share it, too!
If you’d like help getting to that point, we send out practical fitness and nutrition tips every week that can help you find what works best for you (sign up here).
In the meantime, remember, if you’re not getting the same great results as someone else, it’s not because you’re a miserable failure. It’s because you’re an individual with your own set of needs.