The Real Weight Loss Game You Don’t Realise You’re Playing
There is an amusing expression that goes ‘if information was the answer we’d all be millionaires walking around with 6-packs’.
However, I just got back from Cronulla and didn’t see too many Lamborghini driving fitness magazine cover models go by.
I’m sure a few of those do exist, and props to them for that level of hustle, but with more resources out there than ever the results to information ratio is not getting any better.
I think about this concept a lot, and at least when it comes to the fitness side here’s why…
When most people start thinking about losing weight their mind goes to diets. Which most of will tell you what to eat, what not to eat, how much to eat, when to eat, or often unfortunately, what useless supplements to take.
Now, all of these are important (minus the supplements). All of these are the actual building blocks of what gets people results with losing weight, toning up and changing their body. But almost every adult has enough knowledge of them.
I have yet to blow anyones mind when they come into the gym by telling them chicken and broccoli is better than pizza for losing weight.
Armed with more than enough knowledge, why do so many people still fail time after time to lose weight? It’s because the game we are playing is not ‘what should I eat?’ But rather ‘how do I change my habits and routine long-term’.
The unfortunate truth is this is a harder game to win than just ‘cut out some sugar’ like most try to play.
The chains of habit are often too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken. Chains is the perfect word in that expression, these habits keep you locked to your current situation.
Habit formation is a process all of us as humans do extremely well because it helps us survive. If our brain can make the behaviours that keep us safe habitual, they will be easy.
They then require less energy to do, so that when you are tired, stressed, struggling to think straight, you still do them.
They become default settings that without conscious effort to change will be executed without thought. If these habits don’t serve you, such as the habit of mindless weekend eating, they will stop you achieving the change you actually want. Kiss that new years weight loss goal goodbye.
What I’ve found from half a decade of coaching clients is that when life is going smoothly they can stick to almost any diet and training regime. But when the kids get sick, work gets busy, a few too many birthday weekends line up, the Sunday food prep doesn’t quite fit the schedule, everyone returns to what they were doing before that.
With this awareness that until you build better habits it won’t matter what diet you try, what do you do? Set your mind on slowly building a new routine around the habits you need.
There are only a few key habits that really push the needle forward for your body and health, and none of these are ground breaking:
- Regular exercise
- Enough quality sleep
- Eating mainly whole foods, cooked at home.
- Eating enough veggies and fruits
- Drinking enough water
At first, don’t waste limited energy on details. It doesn’t matter that much what exercise routine you follow, do whatever you like.
It doesn’t matter if the veggies you eat are fresh, frozen, green or red, just eat them.
Make your focus each day or just hitting the actions you have set out. Because everyday you do them moves the needle forward even if it’s so slightly you can’t notice.
Remember, the chains are too weak to be felt at first.
Research varies from 28 days, to 60+ days to build a habit. But honestly, it’s all a continuum anyway. You don’t wake up one day and a bell rings going ‘exercise is now a habit! Congrats self!’
It creeps up on you until you get to the point where your shoes are on and you’re in the gym before you even know it. Then, funny enough, when your life gets busy and you miss the gym, you feel strange. You get restless to get back in there. You find a way to make it happen and get straight back to that routine.
Remember, the chains eventually get too strong to be broken.
When you get your lifestyle to that point, those chains are what will keep you fit.
Those who understand this game are the ones that win. The reality is though, you have to go out and build those habits; unfortunately, you can’t buy them for $97 off some fitness influencers blog.