Here is a listing of things that (in my experience) most commonly do, and do not, work for most people when it comes to long-term wellness:
DOESN'T WORK: Counting calories.
WORKS: Selecting foods that are calorie dense.
DOESN'T WORK: 'Going to the gym.'
WORKS: Having a clearly defined fitness goal.
DOESN'T WORK: Being 'on a diet'.
WORKS: Eating correctly for your body.
DOESN'T WORK: Obsessing over your numerical weight.
WORKS: Changing the shape of your body.
DOESN'T WORK: Searching for any kind of 'magic bullet'.
WORKS: Always being open to wherever your path may lead.
The tricky part is that the things which do not work in the long-term can be effective in the short-term.
This leads to a ‘false-positive’ effect, where after trying something new and initially effective, you are later wondering why you’re back where you started (or worse).
This is not to say that any of the above never work or don’t have any merit. Let’s take ‘being on a diet’ for example:
Being on the ‘strict’ Paleo diet in 2010 for me worked in the short-term, which was approximately four months.
I flushed my system out of a lot of junk, never went back to eating gluten, got nice and lean, and learned a lot about food and cooking.
But then I let it go. Being on that diet at that time had served its purpose for me.
I kept what worked best for me: removal of gluten, most dairy, and processed foods. I got rid of what did not work best for me: I do better with far more carbs & starches than Paleo ‘allows’.
In doing so, I also let go of the pressure to be on a diet. This is a very real thing, a kind of ‘meta-pressure’ that starts to outweigh the benefits of actually being on the diet itself.
If you find something that works well for you then that’s a signal worth paying attention to. Just keep in mind that it is only one small step on a long journey that you are on.
The key is not finding the thing that works for you today and sticking with that thing forever.
They key is learning how to correctly listen to what works for you today, regardless of what worked yesterday.