Truth 1: Everything Is A U-Shaped Or Bell-Shaped Curve
In your body, almost everything that you think of is on a curve. Toxins and man-made food aside (clearly bad!), everything else is a continuum of good-to-bad-to-good, or bad-to-good-to-bad.
For example, body fat. An obese person has almost certainly got higher risk of all kinds of disease and health conditions. As he gets leaner, if done safely, he gets healthier. But if he gets too lean (at something like less than 5% bodyfat for most men, or under 10% for most women) he can develop problems.
You need fat for cell walls and energy storage, and to absorb and store fat soluble vitamins. You also tend to have sleeping issues if body fat is too low, and there can be problems with sex hormone production, immune system weakness, and a loss of menses in ladies.
The body uses fat for cell structure and energy storage and to create a protective cushioning around organs. Without fat your body cannot absorb the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.
Another example is exercise. Certainly a lack of exercise is a problem, but too much (quite a rare problem) can cause injury, excessive inflammation, increased stress hormone production and sleeping irregularity.
The same thing occurs with nutrients. Vitamin C for example. Too little, and you get scurvy, lowered anti-oxidant function and decreased immune system function. Too much, and you can get diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and increased risk of kidney stones.
Because everyone is genetically different and has different environment and stresses, the amount that gets you to the peak of your curve, will be different from the amount needed by others to get them to their peak.
Truth 2: Long Term Solutions, Long Term Results
Because of the “quick fix” society we live in, there is a desire, whether conscious or sub-conscious to get a result instantly. This is hardly ever the case, unless you are taking a pharmaceutical drug. But in that case you are getting a quick solution at the expense of passing the problem to another part of your body.
For example, a person may want to drop 20kg (44lbs) of fat right now, but unless he does liposuction or is on a high dose of stimulants, appetite suppressants and fat absorption blockers, this is not going to happen.
And if he does use those methods, once he stops, the weight will come back quickly as well because his body is so “shocked” by the sudden caloric restriction and weight loss that it will, as a survival mechanism, hold on to every ounce of food that he eats in the future. Quick to fix, quick to fail again.
But if he uses whole foods, good sources of nutrients, and lifestyle changes, his fat loss will not be as instant, but it will be sustainable and long term. Slow to fix, unlikely to fail.
The same holds true for other physical qualities as well.
For example, when exercising. The hardest physical attribute to change is strength. It takes years of consistent, challenging, and well designed training to maximize your strength potential. That is why you see relatively “old” people competing in the world’s strongest man competition where men aged 35 and up are quite a common sight.
However, people who gain strength by long-term, consistent training tend to keep it for a long time as well. Old time strongmen are often strong well into their senior years. This fact is also visible in our long term, experienced clients. When they stop gym training for a while due to a business trip or a holiday, they come back to their previous strength levels very quickly. The longer they have been training before the break, the faster they regain their strength. Slow to develop, slow to lose.
On the other hand, one of the easiest physical qualities to improve is cardiovascular endurance. This can be vastly improved in a few weeks, as many runners will attest to. But drops rapidly as well when it is not trained. Fast to develop, fast to lose.
Truth 3: No Magical Single Solutions
Once again, if you want to do things for the long term, in a healthy, natural way, it is almost impossible to get a magical, single solution to your problem. Your body is so interconnected that there is rarely a magic bullet solution to a problem.
Let’s take the 20kg (44lb) overweight man as an example again. Is there a single food for him to eat to get rid of all that weight? Is there a single supplement? Is there a single food not to eat? Is there one magic exercise for him to do? Is there one magic late night TV infomercial device that will work?
No there is not. In most cases, it is impossible to get 100% or even 50% better with one single form of intervention. Here is a more accurate reflection of how the body works. The percentages can vary from person to person but the principle doesn’t change.
- He stops eating refined carbohydrates — perhaps fat burning speed increases 25%
- He increases protein intake to optimal levels — increase 10%
- He does resistance training to boost metabolism — increase 7%
- He takes nutrients like omega3s, which help his cells function better as fat burning machines — increase 5%
- He sleeps better to have more fat burning hormones released at night — increase 3%
- He improves his digestion by removing allergenic foods — increase 3%
- He manages stress better by removing toxins — increase 3%
- He manages stress better by removing toxic interpersonal relationships — increase 3%
- He becomes more relaxed by choosing to be a more grateful and positive person — increase 3%
- He changes his water source to one that is more alkaline and filtered — increase 2%
And so on…
In this way he gets massive results. But not by making one massive change — which does not exist – but rather by multiple smaller ones.
I hope understanding these truths can help you achieve your long term health goals and keep them long term as well!