The most powerful supplement is free
Despite what we like to think, it's very difficult for us to truly evaluate how a new dietary change or supplement is benefiting us, at least in terms of how we "feel". This is even true with more tangible forms of measurement like weight loss, sleep duration or changes in body composition.
It's basically impossible for those of us living outside a laboratory to account for the endless variables that can influence how we feel or whether or not we lose weight or get bigger biceps. But most of us are far too confident when it comes to self evaluation, similar to how we think our memories are an accurate representation of the past (hint- they're not).
We take a new supplement or start a new diet and soon declare that we're feeling "better" or that we're losing weight, but there's a few issues:
- Placebo effect. Far more powerful than we realize.
- Few amongst us enjoying admitting to ourselves or others that we got ripped off or that something isn't working. Hence we evaluate how we're feeling through a positive tint; feeling okay last week is now feeling great and feeling terrible becomes feeling okay. There's so many variables that we usually have ample evidence to support any conclusion.
- When we start something new health wise, it's often part of a bigger push for better health with many changes taking place. We declare a new diet to be the one that finally worked, not considering that we're exercising more or things like improved sleep or hydration. This is especially obvious with diets- someone starts doing keto and thinks its a revelation but have cut out chips and cookies. It wasn't necessarily a keto diet causing you to lose weight; had you cut out chips and cookies on a regular diet, the results would probably be the same.
There's a common thread in these issues- a lot of this stuff is in our head. It has little do with science per se and has much more to do with our own attitudes! When we think something is going to work, the odds are much better that it will. This is true scientifically with medications and is especially true in terms our belief in our own ability to make the right decisions and take control of our health.
For the key to health, look within
When we are fired up and determined to make big health changes, the things we are exposed to seem more effective because our attitude is so much better. We go the extra mile or eat a few less bites of food or sleep a bit better and because we can't possibly keep track of all this stuff, we just start to associate a diet or supplement with feeling better or increased weight loss. In most cases, it wasn't some bottle of pills that got the job done, it was you! Clever marketing and advertising have done an excellent job of convincing us the answer is always outside of us.
The point I'm trying to make is that it's crucially important to remember that your own will and determination is far more powerful than anything available outside of you. Belief in yourself is the most effective supplement on the planet. Focus solely on attitude- just making the right decision (we all know right from wrong) in the kitchen, giving it your all in the gym and having a positive attitude and watch what happens.
When it comes to health and fitness, positive attitude and determination are learning to fish while expensive diets and supplements are just getting fed fish- and the fish might not even be real when it comes to supplements! One is sustainable, the other is not.
You can't sell a positive attitude
This is especially important when you're just starting out. The health industry is unfortunately full of scumbags looking to prey upon your emotions and take your money. As mentioned, it's very difficult for us to evaluate how something is working for us. They use doctored/staged pictures, junk science and fancy sounding degrees to sell you "solutions" that just pull you farther away from the real answer- your own attitude and willpower. Focus just on that and see how far it takes you!
The answers are rarely outside of us and when you tap into that inner determination, you'll make any situation work. You'll be the person coming up with excuses as to why you CAN go to the gym or make a good food choice under difficult circumstance, not the other way around. No diet, no supplement can ever come close to having that kind of impact on your health.
Feel great again with Cooper Health Coaching!
Cooper Health Coaching is a personal training and health coaching service located in Vancouver, B.C. providing in-person and online coaching for clients locally and across North America. Founder Geoff Cooper is certified as both a Health Coach and Personal Trainer through the American Council on Exercise (ACE). To get in touch, click here.