By Dara Cox Lifestyle and Strength
I have to disagree with the saying “knowing is half the battle” as it pertains to healthy living and weight loss. If simply knowing what to do to lose weight was the solution then everyone with access to a computer and some common sense would be lean.
How many people eat a Big Mac thinking, “this is good for me!”? Even those who live a sedentary lifestyle, laden with fast food, deep down KNOW that it’s not good for them. We are bombarded by media and it is so easy to find information on the internet that I find it very difficult to believe that there are people (in the Western World) who don’t have SOME semblance of what healthy eating should be. I’m not talking about the intricacies between vegetarian, vegan, laco-ovo-vegetarians, raw diets, low carb, calorie cycling and any number of “diets” that exist. Just simple things like whole wheat is better than white. Low fat over full fat. Fruits and veggies over chips. Water over soda.
That being said, I believe that knowing is a small part of the battle. A very important part, but a small part. It is in the doing that we find success. You could spend hours of your time and hundreds of dollars searching for the “perfect” weight loss solution, book, pill, workout, DVD, diet, whatever. But, if in that span of time you focused on changing just one habit, say, switching water for soda, you would be healthier than the person who is still searching for that “perfect” solution. (Which, by the way, doesn’t exist.)
I am guilty of this myself. As a personal trainer I love to research exercises and read up on latest research in nutrition. As a result, I can spend hours putting together the perfect strength program and then run out of time to actually do it. Where as if I just get my butt to the gym and start lifting I will get better results than sitting on the couch perfecting my program.
It’s about finding a balance. Reading about health and fitness is a great motivator and learning new things is important. But even the research field is not 100% reliable so don’t change what you are doing based on one article, as it may change again next month. And keep in mind that what works for someone else may not work for you. That doesn’t mean it’s a flawed program, it just means it’s not the right program for you. If you find something that works for you, then stick to it! Too often we don’t give our new habits time to actually reap results before we are on to the next thing because we “aren’t getting results”. Patience is key when incorporating new strategies into your healthy lifestyle. Give the body time to adjust before you determine if it’s a good change for you.
So my new equation is this:
20% Knowing + 80% Doing = 100% Success
We all know (more or less) what we need to do to succeed. We need help in the doing. We need the support when we fail to do. Rarely do we learn something groundbreaking and brand new. Usually it’s an iteration of something we already know, but perhaps phrased in such a way that it finally makes sense to us. As we do, we learn ways to tweak what we are doing to help keep us on track. Think about your knowledge as the steering wheel of a car and your action (the doing) as the power of the engine. The engine in a car is what propels it forward and the slight turn of the wheel keeps us on the road. If it were the other way around we would be bumper cars, going in circles without a strong enough engine to really get anywhere. Sadly, this is the way most of us approach our weight loss or other healthy living goals. We madly speed from one empty promise to the next, all the while staying pretty much in the same place while being egged on by many others doing the same thing. Compare that to even the slowest moving car, chugging steadily along toward its destination and it’s clear who will get to the finish line faster (and less banged up!)
Learning will keep you on the road to success, but a full tank of gas will fuel the action necessary to apply your knowledge. Focus on the doing and you will reach the finish line.