There is way too much information available these days. Back in my day, we had to walk 20 miles in the snow – uphill both ways – and slay the Rancor just to get a single ounce of information. Nowadays, you hop on the interwebs, type in “weight loss” and are instantaneously bombarded with an avalanche of different, often contradictory, information. High carb, low carb, gluten free, bulletproof coffee, miracle supplements, intermittent fasting, vegetarian, paleo, AAAAAAAAAAAAH! If you cut out everything that was deemed unhealthy by some corner of the internet, you’d be left eating nothing except air. But wait! Air has chemicals in it. Best give that up too.
It’s no wonder nobody knows how to lose weight! A fairly recent poll concluded that most people don’t believe diet and exercise cause weight loss. In related news, the sun rotates around the earth.
So what does one do? How do we know who to believe in this mess?
Putting the Common back in Common Sense
Common sense goes a long way – use it.
I firmly believe that 99% of people know what food choices to make for weight loss. If I placed 3 plates of food in front of a random individual and said, “Pick the best option for weight loss”, they would choose correctly. Everyone knows salads are healthy than pizzas. Most of the time it’s unnecessary and counterproductive to make it more complicated than that.
Navigating the Torrential Sea of Information
It can be tough to keep nutrition simple with so many conflicting opinions out there. Obviously, no one wants to put effort into something that doesn’t work, but the fact that “true information” doesn’t necessarily equal “useful information” is often overlooked. If we are looking at the entirety of available information, inherently some of it is going to be scientifically supported. But so what? Even if something is true, that doesn’t mean it is worth the time and energy it takes to implement it.
Not every piece of fitness information, no matter how well it is supported, is going to be of equal value to you. For example, green tea may boost metabolism, but by how much? Is it really such a boost that you should to make it priority number 1 to have a green tea IV in your arm at all times? Probably not. This sort of thing is called minutiae. Some other examples of minutiae in regards to weight loss include: sodium, organic, meal/nutrient timing, all natural, “superfoods”, and any attempt at getting your diet “perfect”. Sure, pesticides probably aren’t great for you, but Americans are not fat because they eat too much inorganic produce.
We all have a limited mental and emotional capacity. We must efficiently prioritize where we allocate that energy.
Wasting brainspace worrying about green tea, or other minutiae, is going to make your weight loss efforts more complicated and ultimately more difficult. Ignoring minutiae will make your nutrition simple and low stress. Not only will this filter out the straight-up counterproductive fads (butter coffee? Uhhhhhh), it will also make life easier. Eating healthily is much more enjoyable when you aren’t perpetually wondering if your diet is “ruined” because your salad tastes like it has more sodium than your diet permits.
Don’t sweat the small stuff and prioritize the big rocks of nutrition. Eat lots of plants and lean meats and indulge occasionally. Perfect doesn’t exist, but good enough is realistic if you choose your battles wisely.