“Order and simplification are the first steps towards mastery of a subject” — Thomas Mann
We all are striving for mastery in health and nutrition. However, what usually follows is anything but mastery. Not because there’s a lack of talent or desire. But often times due to the strategy.
Throughout the years, I’ve faced a variety of issues ranging from mild depression, body image issues, creating boundaries, and obsessive food behaviors.
Unfortunately, I let fitness become my ruler and I was its servant willing to do any and everything for results. This worshipping of fitness at all costs may bring results for a short period of time. But in the long run, isn’t something that is sustainable to living a good and healthy life.
Over the years, there have been a handful of laws that have helped me navigate the balance of integrating fitness into a busy life that also meshes with my desired lifestyle. Here are the 12 laws of success that can lead you to mastery in health and nutrition.
1. Review your “why” daily to stay motivated about your goals
It’s important to get to the core root of why you want a particular goal.
Are you doing it for someone else (kids, family, partner, etc) so you can lead by example? Is it to prove a point to yourself that you’re capable of much more than people have given you credit for? Are you doing this because you need a personal spark in your life to change the paradigms of your everyday life?
Whatever it is, search deeper than just relying on looking great naked. That’s important, but transformations take time and you need all the ammunition possible to stay consistent and motivated while pursuing your goals.
If you’re searching for deeper meaning, start with asking yourself why three times about a desire for a particular goal.
2. Never resort to deprivation nor any other extreme measures just to lose weight
I tried a 28-day liquid diet in college where I had nothing but shakes. I lost 15 pounds at the end of it (mostly water).
However, on day 29, I ate nearly 100 pieces of sushi at the buffet and then got sick over the next few days.
Besides being sick, I had a supporting cast which consisted of extreme waves of mood swings, achy joints which made me feel 79 (not 19), and a reunion with my 15 pounds as soon as I started eating whole foods again.
Besides not going on an extended liquid diet, the moral of this story is to never sacrifice your long-term health for short-term gratifications.
3. Make fitness fit into your preferred lifestyle, not the other way around
Life is meant to have rich experiences. Fitness is a key component of being able to do those things, but it doesn’t have to become your ruler.
Lifestyle first, and then find the workout routine and nutritional method that suits your personality and preferences.
4. Seek improvements in your health and fitness out of love, not out of hate
I started working out weighing 165 pounds and became an athletic and muscular 200 pounds.
I should be happy, right?
The problem was my mindset never changed. I was exercising and putting on muscle at times out of hate and not feeling enough as a man—not for health or enjoyment.
You can’t hate your way to losing weight and improving your self-esteem. If you don’t address your inner world, those perceived deficiencies will still be there.
5. Make sustainability and longevity the priority when making health decisions
Make decisions about your fitness and nutrition that lead to long-term success, not just a season of success.
6. Address your 4 pillars of fitness daily (physical, mental, emotional, & spiritual)
Looking at Instagram and browsing the various magazines on newsstands and you’ll notice that the only messaging is concerning the physical aspect of ourselves.
But, there is more to us than just a physical body.
There’s a mental, emotional, and spiritual side of fitness that needs to be accounted for our overall well-being.
Challenge your mental world by improving your brain through reading and other cognitive tasks. When it comes to your emotional fitness, assess your relationships and the environments you find yourself in. And lastly for your spiritual world, look into meditation or some type of habit that allows for a space of inner reflection.
7. Place a premium on sleep
I know, maybe you’re tired of seeing this on every health article, but it’s important.
Weight loss, productivity at work, better (and healthier) relationships along with your mood improve when you’re getting optimum amounts of sleep on a nightly basis.
Try meditating at night, cutting off electronics 60-90 minutes before bed, having an orgasm (hello Oxytocin), or reading a hardcover book to help yourself fall asleep.
8. Commit to finding a team to support you and keep you accountable
Maintaining a fitness regimen while juggling work and your personal life can become overwhelming. Therefore, it’s important to find some accountability in the form of a gym partner, someone to check in with, or an online community to hold you to a high standard.
9. Establish personal boundaries in your life so you can show up as your best version
What good are you to the world if you’re burnt out, overweight, moody, lethargic, and sleep-deprived?
Not addressing this is short-changing your potential impact on the world because the best version of you isn’t showing up.
Block out time for exercising, a quiet bath, meditating, or whatever else is needed to allow you to show up as the best version of yourself.
10. Remember that your food choices, not the specific type of diet are most important for long-term success
Paleo, Whole 30, Intermittent Fasting, Atkins, and the Ketogenic diet all work. At the basic foundation, if there’s a caloric deficit, then you’ll lose weight. If there’s a surplus, extra weight will arrive.
The key factor for nutritional mastery is making good food choices along with establishing a plan that suits your goals and specific lifestyle.
11. Recognize that consistency and commitment are more important than “tactics” & “life hacks”
It’s better to workout for 20 minutes a day than to overcommitment to 60 minutes and only workout one day per week. Set realistic goals and realize that repetition, time, and consistency are the true ingredients to long-term success.
12. Prioritize a way of eating that includes a plethora of micronutrients
Micronutrients (from your fruits and vegetables) contain a plethora of minerals and vitamins that boost your metabolism, fights against chronic illnesses, and helps your mental state operate at a high level.