Weight loss industry experts are experts in the wrong field.
I’m not even talking about the scam artists who sell diet pills and the like. I’m talking about the people who genuinely want to help people lose weight.
These people know the physical mechanisms by which weight loss works, but they tell you to follow an impossible plan to get there.
Most experts essentially advise you to annihilate your willpower, burn out, and fail.
How many people try the exercise and diet plan all at once? I’d guess 96% of people. And this is recommended by the experts, telling you that diet and exercise are vital and you won’t succeed without doing both. That may be true, but it does NOT mean that you have to pursue them both at the same time. This is the perfect example of understanding weight loss and completely ignoring how change works.
People who have inactive lifestyles (bad habit), also tend to eat poorly (bad habit). According to what I’m saying, you should only get serious about one of these at a time, and it’s obvious as to why…
Fitness And Diet Are Absolute Monsters From A Willpower Perspective
Controlling your food intake quality and quantity is a big willpower challenge. Forcing yourself to exercise is another huge willpower challenge. To try to change both at once greatly reduces your chances of success at either one.
To get the results you want, you have to be able to maintain whatever changes you’re making forever. Not 30 days. Not 90 days. Forever.
In personal growth, we hear so much about how we need to do this and stop doing that. Put it all together and it’s too much. If you can’t choose your battles selectively, you’ll be trounced by all of your bad habits at once. You might fend them off for a day or even a week, but nobody is strong enough to live a perfect life all the time.
Imagine you’re in a boxing ring. Seven strong guys surround you. Do you fight them all at once?
Fool of a took! No! They’ll destroy you.
Very few people would pick a fight with all of those guys at the same time. It’s simply not smart. But because the subconscious brain is underneath our awareness, we often do this with our bad habits. We try to change several things at the same time. Exercise and diet are an extremely common pairing. The synergies of pursuing them both will not make up for the willpower cost.
Back to the problem, have you noticed how many diets there are?
Weight Loss Experts Focus On How The Body Changes, Not On How YOU Can Change
We don’t need another diet.
How about the “healthy food diet,” where you eat as many fruits and vegetables as you can? I know that diets are more complex than this for some good reasons (gluten, meat, etc.), but the base of all worthwhile diets is “eat more vegetables and less processed food.”
People hop from diet to diet as if “finding the right diet” is their solution. That’s rarely true.
If you weigh more than you want to, your problem is that you struggle to change your behavior, not that you haven’t found the right diet or exercise program. These diets and programs can only work if you stick with them.
What This Means For Daily Living
We have to learn to give in to temptation.
If you’re going to tackle your bad habits in an orderly manner, it means you need to be a little bit hands off on the other guys. Let them be.
All of the people who object to this are those with short-term perspectives. It’s the same reason why they try to do it all at once. If you have a short-term mindset, you’ll get short-term results. But if you think long-term, you can change yourself in ways that will last from now until death. Most people would rather have the latter, but do the former with their decisions.
What I don’t mean by this is indulging recklessly in these other behaviors. What I do mean is not feeling guilty about them. If you’re changing your sedentary ways, you had better not start feeling guilty about your ice cream intake. I’m serious. You simply can NOT afford it because it puts your exercise progress at risk.
Your subconscious brain has the keys to the car, and it’ll let you drive it sometimes, but if you start trying to drive it all day long, you’re going to be grounded, young man.
If you’ve read Mini Habits and my other writings here, you can see that I’ve been painting a picture of how important this conscious and subconscious brain relationship is. If you want to succeed, you’ll need to keep both parts happy. That’s hard to do, because the subconscious is responsible for a lot of the feel-good, but not-always-healthy behaviors and the conscious brain is responsible, period; it’s the responsible one.
- It’s easy to hate your subconscious because it makes you do these temporary feel-good activities with negative consequences.
- It’s easy to hate your conscious brain because it’s no fun! It makes you work on projects and eat broccoli (I like broccoli). Booo!
A lot of people create a routine that alternates between pleasing one half and enraging the other half. They’ll have a week or two of dieting and exercise, burn out, and then have a week of binging on Big Macs and TV. A smarter way to live is to find a happy medium where both parts are happy and you can make consistent progress toward a better you. Here’s how you do that:
Enjoy Breaks. Enjoy Pleasures. Enjoy The Bad Stuff (A Little Bit).
I want to be careful here. I’m not telling everyone to go eat too much cake. But I’m not telling you to not do that either. That’s an isolated behavior. What if you’re also exercising 6 times a week in that time? What if you’re doing something else amazing?
Why berate yourself for everything you’re doing wrong while making huge progress in other areas of your life?
While you’re focusing on one area, really focus on it. Be VERY specific about which one (singular) it is that you’re addressing; don’t get too involved with your other bad habits. You can get to them later. Again, it’s not a license to go crazy with them, but it’s permission to not monitor them 24/7 and not freak out if you slip up.
In conclusion, the big mistake people make losing weight is trying to do too much. The common way to do this is to try to change your diet and exercise habits at once. These are two of the biggest areas of a person’s life, and it’s tough to change just one of them. So focus on one, and like me, you might be surprised at what that does for the other one!
Subscribe to read more about how I started eating these mega salads below by focusing only on exercise. I wasn’t even intending to eat healthier, and look at what happened…
This is the result of going about change the right way, which means only taking on changes you’re nearly guaranteed to maintain for the rest of your life (Mini Habits). Then you have something to build from.
The subscriber-only message on 4/22/14 expands upon this post! Join Deep Existence to read the rest.