Which Is More Important: Nutrition or Exercise?
Let’s settle this debate, once and for all. No doubt you’ve heard this debate and probably fall on one side or the other–or perhaps somewhere in between. By and large, most people will fall into the “abs are made in the kitchen camp,” touting the idea that nutrition has more of an impact on your body than exercise–and this is partially true.
Getting your sweat on will certainly help you build muscle and strength, and can absolutely contribute to your metabolism, in turn, aiding in the loss of body fat. But, you won’t necessarily lose much fat or see any significant progress if your nutritional efforts don’t match your fitness efforts.
Diet and exercise are two sides of the same coin, and the relationship flows well when the two are in perfect harmony.
But the truth is, when it comes to sustainable fat loss, endured healthy habits, and a wholehearted life, the real answer is neither. What you eat and how much you eat of it will certainly have a great impact on your body. How you move and how often you move will undoubtedly affect the shape your body takes and how it performs.
Diet and exercise are both integral building blocks of a fit lifestyle, but how you think about these things is even more important. What’s most important when it comes to cultivating a sustainable, fit, happy life has nothing to do with your body at all, but rather your mindset.
Mindset-or the way you perceive your world-has to come first if you want to truly change your habits, and escape the constant trap of rebounding and yo-yo dieting. Think about it: how many different diets, training programs, and workout fads are there in existence? How many times have you, or people you know, jumped from diet to diet, lost weight and gained it back, and yo-yo’d on the fitness spectrum over and over again?
That’s because the real power to change isn’t external at all–it doesn’t lie in a diet or a workout plan, it lies within you. It’s all in your head.
So if you ask me what’s the number one thing you can do for your body, I’ll say this:
Many of us fall victim to the if/then trap, thinking that if we can lose weight, then we will be happy. If we can get fit, then we will adopt a positive mindset. If we can look a certain way or have a certain life, then we will experience success. But the truth is, mindset is the driving force behind sustainable changes–when your mindset shifts, so does everything else.
Taking a “Mindset First” Approach Will Ensure That You:
1) Enjoy the transformation process
2) Sustain healthy habits
With a positive mindset, “I have to workout” becomes “I get to workout,” and “I can’t eat that” becomes “I choose not to eat that.” With a mindset that is trained to see the most positive reality, the pursuit of fitness becomes an enjoyable journey in which you experience victories and valuable lessons every single day.
Most of all, with a mindset shift, you’ll learn to stop torturing yourself with a strict diet and using exercise as a form of punishment. You’ll care for your body with nourishing food and regular exercise because you LOVE your body. And what’s more, you’ll be capable of loving your body at every step throughout the process–not just once you’ve reached your goals.
Alas, I do understand that simply changing one’s mindset is a challenging endeavor; It’s not difficult to empathize with the many people who believe it to be impossible. There have been times I’ve attempted to give clients permission to love their bodies now, and they’ve responded as such:
“How can I possibly love this?”
“I’ll love myself when I’m thinner.”
“If I love myself now, I’ll never try to change.”
I understand that, because I know that the task seems nebulous and farfetched. I know that after years of hating your body and never getting the results you want, it’s difficult to imagine a world in which you accept yourself just the way you are. I know that we fear the lack of progress and often confuse acceptance with complacency.
Most of all, I know how hard it can be to grasp the concept that you can love your body even if you want it to change. But I can also tell you that anything is possible with enough practice and dedication.