Normally, this column is about Corrective Exercise and human movement. This time, we’re going to use the Corrective Exercise template as an analogy, and ask the question of why “dieting” isn’t approached in the same way. And the term “dieting” will be used not for any specific plan, but simply to describe good eating habits.
The Corrective Exercise approach is that of progression; one that will most improve the manner in which an individual or athlete moves, allowing for their ability. As the person’s ability increases, the correctives get more challenging. It could be said that any good exercise program works on the same principle; starting generally and within one’s ability, then getting more specific. It is a very successful approach. Why then, when changing our diets, is there pressure to be all-knowing and perfect from the start?
“I’m starting my diet tomorrow” has an air of finality about it. Magically, overnight, we will develop new knowledge and the eating habits that will have us to our ideal weight in 30 days or less. Saying good-bye to our old self. But this creates a highly stressful situation and guarantees that one of our new recipes will be that of failure.
Dr. Cameron Brown addresses exactly this in a recent article, where he challenges the nit-picking of some diet advice. If you want to eat more fish, and start with canned tuna, eat some tuna! Worry about traces of mercury later. Similarly, do you need concern yourself with Omega 3, 6, or 9 when you’re weaning off of fried food? Remember the fitness formula? Within one’s ability.
Consider the following and what they might have in common:
Success in any of the above demand that some basics be mastered. You cannot flip to the back of an Algebra book and solve an equation. Artwork, for most, is impossible without understanding the use of color. A roof cannot stand without a frame. True fitness requires good movement. It is folly to think that the complexities of dieting can be mastered without some kind of progression.
There is no doubt that dieting works; it’s been proven by millions. The right one, the one that works, is likely the one that requires you only to make initial changes that fit easily into your lifestyle and are the least stressful. One that allows for small, ongoing improvements. These steady progressions are what will lead you to lasting success.