I once posted an Instagram story of me eating a donut. It got me several messages from people calling me a hypocrite and a fraud. Either these people have not read any of my articles, or I have not done a good job of explaining my philosophy on health and nutrition. So here’s a snippet:
I don’t do diets. My approach to fitness has to do with applying intelligence based on intuitive assessment of what the human body needs to succeed. More specifically, paying attention to my own body.
The problem with diets is most are not sustainable. They go against the needs of the human body and resulting in nutritional deficiencies and psychological suffering. On the short term, diets may work, but not on the long term. Sustainability is the key to success and this is what has been the foundation to my goals.
I have found discipline on the long term isn’t about willing to suffer. Instead, its about creating and sustaining good habits. But here’s the thing about habits: if you are suffering in order to sustain habits, they aren’t habits yet. True habits are comfortable, which is why they are hard to break. My goal has been and is to get good habits which in turn, make it easy to never relapse into harmful behavior, ever again.
There are two kinds of people that are in peak physical condition: those that are continually suffering to maintain, and those that are habitually fit. The first type is the one that is continually dieting, counting calories, depriving themselves of food they want and exercising more than they like. While society has been raised to glorify these individuals for their gun-ho attitude, their successes are short lived. Being habitually fit may not look as sexy, but it will lead to sustainable sexy results.
My philosophy on improving my life has been geared towards hacking my way into building good habits.
When it comes to nutrition, it’s important to note I don’t do anything based on discipline. The only discipline I poured into my nutrition was taking the time to think outside of “conventional” knowledge and continually seek wisdom. I’ve learned often times people are confused by the term, “junk food.” I’ve learned what I was taught in school about nutrition was flawed, and even worse, I’ve learned much of it was influenced by the corporations motivated by profit. Because of this, people are continually being tricked into perceiving marketing as education.
The past 4 years of my life I’ve focused on being effective. What many people perceive as “hard work,” I perceive as laziness. Going to the gym 6 times a week for 2 hours a session, running three miles a day everyday, going from diet to diet, counting calories and restricting fats, etc. etc. are not, in my opinion hard work. This version of “hard work” is actually a refuge for ignorance. Most of these “hard working” people, are also not achieving the results they should be. All too often I see chubby and pudgy people stuck in this rat race.
I USED TO BE ONE OF THESE PEOPLE.
It could even be defined as insanity. Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. For example, the plethora of pudgy people that continue to eat fat free yet can’t shed any fat. Or the guy with a beer gut doing crunches every day and never getting a six pack.
What I discovered is I had formulated a bad habit of willfully staying ignorant. Erroneously, it was easier to continue to grind away long hours in the gym than to admit I may need more education. It was scary to think that everything I was taught may be wrong and not only needed more education, but re-education.
Then I got lucky. I finally got fed up with not achieving adequate results for the amount of work I was putting in. I was ripping myself off, and if there’s one thing I hate, it’s getting ripped off. With the amount of work I was putting in, the only thing ripped should have been my abs, and even though I had a 297/300 score in the Marine Corps physical fitness tests, my abs looked far from ripped.
What I learned is first and foremost, adequate goals need to be set. I used to go to the gym 5-6 days a week and never truly asked what I needed. Now I now what I need. I want to feel energized and not worry about being fat. That’s my priority. In order to achieve that goal, I learned going to the gym was actually a waste of time for me. My problem was I had a very bad diet based on years of corporate misinformation campaigns.
In order to achieve my goals, after 4 years of studying my life and scouring books and the internet, I have learned the following:
The body is designed to run, and it is designed to sweat, exhale, and excrete. The body needs to be fed food that is alive and the body needs to intake copious amounts of oxygen.
That is the basic foundation for everything I do now. The results have been incredible, considering I sometimes go a week only working out for one hour in total.
Gut checks and pain inducing workouts are cool for showing off bravado, but only for the weak minded and for good marketing of exercise programs, gyms, coaches, gear, etc.
I eat a donut because I can. Its a rare event when I do, and based on the foundation I have established, eating one donut leaves me satisfied with not eating another for ever. Basically, I don’t crave donuts anymore. The story I posted was me eating a donut when another officer had gotten promoted, and as a joke, purchased donuts for entire watch. It would have been rude not to eat one.
However, this post isn’t meant to show off I can eat donuts, its meant to explain why I can eat a donut and not feel guilty. Because frankly, it feels great. One donut and I feel a sugar rush just like when I was a kid. In contrast, 4 years ago I would not feel a sugar rush, I would feel the need to eat more and more and more and until they are finished and can’t eat more due to unavailability.
I didn’t get to slimming 6 inches off my waist by suddenly shifting from eating processed food to eating leaves. The shift was gradual as I made small sustainable changes to my lifestyle which guided me towards other changes. For example, eating more fat has helped me curb sugar cravings and gain a huge energy boost. Just one small step in eating less and feeling better. And by no means should you underestimate the power of feeling better in helping you make better health choices.
So my advice to anyone striving to improve their life is this: Find a new habit, however small, which makes you feel better. As Seth Godin puts its, “The best way to change long term behavior is to change short term feedback.”
Feeling better is what I am now addicted to and its surreal. I am getting the body I want, and without any suffering. If you play your cards right, you too can do it and eat a donut.
Thanks for taking the time to read my story. My goal is to provide you with entertaining content that both inspirational and educational. If you would like to support this project, check out my new online store. If you don’t find anything you like, feel free to send me an email with the products you would like to see. I am here to serve YOU, even off duty!