Too often we fight our human nature, and fail.
The latest program...lose weight...eat healthier...drink this...take that...do this!
My health and fitness goals? I'm in it for the long haul.
Some programs can be motivation and inspiration for a lasting routine to health; others I can see fading out by the moment.
Human psychology says we like novel things. They're interesting. They catch our attention...for a moment. The thing about novel, our brain doesn't trust it, we have less faith in it. The brand Tide (everybody recognizes Tide) has been a marker of studies on familiarity.
We like familiar.
How many times will Lay's potato chips introduce new flavors before we just don't care anymore?
How often do you change your coffee drink order?
Businesses and organizational psychology studies new & novel versus old & familiar mentality in detail. When deciding what people will buy, corporations have found out the hard way that familiar wins out.
They get desperate though- just for a moment of your attention- and spend billions of dollars creating new products and advertising them.
All for nothing.
People go back to familiar.
Businesses even spend big money rolling out employee programs that eventually die out. People lose interest. The diet and exercise industry is similar- new programs die out.
In addition, the field of positive psychology discovered that people who won the lottery (Woohoo! Oh happy days!) went right back to their baseline level of happiness before winning all that money. It only took about three months for the thrill to wear off.
It turns out we humans are wired this way. Novel temporarily attracts us, but we quickly and naturally revert back to what is familiar. As I've gotten older, I am more likely to take myself out for a walk than try the latest and greatest program.
The psychological explanation for this is mere-exposure effect or "the warm glow of familiarity". It influences us from the music we enjoy, decisions we make, and relationships we establish.
I started tying this notion into diet and exercise about 20 years ago.
While in college, I pursued a health certification in addition to my Psychology degree. As a health and fitness enthusiast, I began asking people what they did to stay trim or what they struggled with to stay trim.
It wasn't surprising to find out naturally slim people were less likely to be on a diet or having ever dieted. They practiced moderation, healthy eating, and prioritized activity.
It's easier for younger people to stay trim so I knew it would be important to learn about the health habits of people 40+ (ahem, yes I know about that firsthand). Metabolism changes, hormones change, your body changes.
This is the test of time.
Many of the fit and 40+ crowd didn't take novelty too seriously- new diet or exercise programs weren't as thrilling as they might be for younger people. If they found themselves on a diet program that worked, it was one geared toward general lifestyle changes.
Stay active. Eat right.
Sounds horribly boring...but long-lasting. While you may be attracted to the shiny new diet or exercise program, you will naturally choose and stick with something more familiar.
This isn't to say never try anything new. New can become your new norm. Pilates was that new norm for me about 10 year ago. Bottom line is when you try out a new program, ask yourself if this is something you see yourself enjoying in the long-run
Envision the long-term benefits. After all, we want life-long results.
The best "program" is lifestyle change. Skip the bells and whistles.
Get your mind right & get your body right!
It is impossible to avoid the fact that the mind and body are deeply intertwined. This section is for YOUR body- lifestyle inspiration. With certification in Exercise science, I provide realistic health tips with everyone in mind!