The health knockout

Welcome to the positive corner of wellness. Here’s a daily digest designed to make you healthier in less than 5 minutes. If...

Welcome to the positive corner of wellness. Here’s a daily digest designed to make you healthier in less than 5 minutes. If you were forwarded this message, you can get the free daily email here.

Today’s Health Upgrade

  • Can you counterpunch?

  • The Crank Diet

  • Weekend Challenge

From AB: The Power of the Counterpunch

Taking care of your health can feel like a fight. That’s because, at some point, we all get hit in the face. That “hit” comes in many forms, whether it’s an injury, a lack of motivation, being busy, illness, vacation, or a wide variety of “life happens” moments.

This is especially true as we turn the page on the first month of the year. Most people start with big hopes and bigger resolutions. Hopefully, you’ve been able to stay on track with the support and approach we’ve shared for Arnold’s Big Challenge. But, we know that life happens and maybe you’ve had trouble sticking to the plan.

If that describes your situation, this is a critical opportunity. Because how you decide to enter February can make the difference between more setbacks or future success.

When you get hit, too often we treat these shots like a sucker punch; something we didn’t see coming that throws us off our path for much longer than we want. We’re not only on the canvas, but as we look up wondering what happened, it begins a vicious cycle of guilt, frustration, and a loss of confidence.

A simple change of perspective can give you a competitive advantage during your most challenging times.

Much like a fight, when you get hit, it’s important to counterpunch and hit back. A counterpunch can be positive self talk, a return to your healthier routine, or even doing something small like going for a 10-minute walk or adding a serving of vegetables to your plate.

In life, evidence results in confidence. So your job is to give as much evidence to believe you can be the person you want to be, even when everything isn’t going your way. When you learn how to counterpunch, you start to realize that the hits you take won’t sting as much as you once thought.

Too often with diet and exercise, we treat imperfections and slip-ups like a knockout blow. That’s like going into a fight and expecting the other fighter to never throw a punch. Knockouts happen to your health plans because you perceive that each setback throws you far off your plan, instead of it being part of the process.

Good health isn’t about perfect execution. It’s about knowing you can’t screw up if you take a difference approach. It’s about having a flexible game plan you can follow and stick with, even when the game isn’t going the way you thought.

We tend to live in 24-hour cycles. We overemphasize the impact of each day and underemphasize the impact of consistent behaviors repeated over weeks and months, even in small doses.

Your body is incredible at adapting and adjusting. But, if you let small setbacks feel like a knockout, then you're adding more complexity on the road to success.

Because unlike boxing, when you go the distance with your healthy habits, you always win. If you refuse to throw in the towel and stay consistent with your plan, then you’ll end up being the champion of your health.

The Crank Diet

Lots of journalists talk about diets. Few of them do it better than Tamar Haspel. In this column, she highlights why trying to pick the “perfect diet” fails for so many people. Instead, it’s helpful to look at the overall strategy of different plans, and steal that parts that might work for you. Here’s a part we found helpful:

So how about this: Ignore the sciency and cut right to the strategies. Sure, intermittent fasting doesn’t outperform other diets, but that doesn’t mean closing the kitchen after dinner is a bad idea. In fact, it’s a damn good idea.

Then look at low-carb. No, insulin doesn’t correlate cleanly with subsequent eating and weight gain, but that doesn’t mean cutting out sugar and refined grains is a bad idea. In fact, it’s a damn good idea.

To lose weight, you don’t have to understand the nitty-gritty of human metabolism; diet isn’t a knowing problem. You just have to figure out workable strategies to eat less; diet is a doing problem. So think of the onslaught of crank diets as a smorgasbord of strategies, and pick and choose the ones that can fit your lifestyle.

Our takeaway: focus on sustainable components rather than mechanisms or hype or obsessing about following that one “perfect” diet. Pick what is sustainable for YOU. Because consistent behaviors depend on individual habits, lifestyle, and preferences.

Challenge: The First Hour

We don’t think all social media is bad, but we do worry about how it’s taking you away from living your life. Tech companies have invested billions and billions of dollars to make these apps as addictive as possible.

But all hope is not lost. We’ll keep saying it until you believe it: changing behaviors start with small wins that become routine, and then you build momentum for more positive change.

Next week, we are going to talk about a book — Stolen Focus — that blew our minds. It’s about how our phones, email, and interconnectedness have taken our attention away. This weekend, we want you to try a little challenge to take your attention back.

Avoiding social media for the first hour and last hour of your day is a small win with big returns. For so many people, the early and late hours are spent scrolling and being sucked into the social media trap.

This weekend, try to start and end your day without social media. We’re not saying you need to avoid it completely, but starting the day without it can help you be more productive and mindful. And ending the day can help you sleep better. Both are big wins!

Let Arnold know how it goes on Twitter or Instagram, or — because you’re trying to limit your social media use — reply back to this email. We’re excited to see how it goes.

We hope you all have a fantastic weekend!

-Arnold, Adam, and Daniel

The health knockout

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