Hi Team. I know I’ve written a few articles lately about the physical stuff but the five to ten emails I receive most days asking me similar questions about the same issues indicate to me that some of you are still barking up the wrong weight-loss tree. At the very least, you’re a little confused. This will be my last body-related article for a little while (phew), so those of you who have this part of your life sorted can breathe a sigh of relief, save yourselves four minutes (of reading time) and come back tomorrow.
The Easy Part
Losing weight is easy. Well, kind of. We’ve all done it. Most of us, anyway.
What’s not easy, is keeping that weight off.
Can I get an ‘amen’ on that?
I’m sure this insight is no major revelation for most of you. On the difficulty scale (you know the one), losing weight is a 5 out of 10. Give or take. It’s hard-ish but kinda do-able. On the other hand, losing weight and never regaining it is a 9.9 out of 10. Physiologically, we’re more than capable of permanent change but out here in the messy-ness of the real world, it’s the psychological, emotional and sociological challenges that tend to kill us.
As I’ve said many times here at me-dot-com, my body is not the problem; it’s the consequence. The problem is my choices, thinking, reactions and behaviours. I don’t accidentally eat things; I choose them. Which means my problem is an internal one and the consequence, external.
My body is fine; it’s the operator that’s an idiot.
If you’re like me, you’ve been watching people lose and regain the same weight for years. Maybe decades. And, if you’re like me, you’ve been those people. Er, that person. Fortunately, I seem to have it sorted these days but it certainly took a while. Clearly, knowing isn’t doing and let’s say it took me a while to do.
I’m of the opinion that many (not all) weight-loss programs, systems and philosophies are flawed in that they have a mostly one-dimensional approach to what is, a multi-dimensional issue. If they weren’t flawed, our population would be trending towards leaner and lighter and obviously, we’re not. In fact, the opposite is true. Yes, a lot of people are losing weight via a myriad of approaches (many of them at great financial cost) but wait a while and invariably, those kilos will re-appear.
Have you noticed how many programs sell themselves on the promise of ‘rapid’ weight-loss? Or how many programs are marketed towards ‘the Eight-Week Body Transformation’ type of consumer? If only life was rapid. If only life was an 8-week program. If only life was a reality TV show. And how ironic that most reality TV is totally unrealistic. We don’t need rapid weight-loss programs; we already have too many of them. For the most part, they are misleading, unhealthy and largely, ineffective. If you don’t believe me, look at the typical results produced over the long (not short) term.
It took (some of) us decades to get where we are now (physically), so why should we expect or demand almost-instant results? We are impatient. And unrealistic. To our own detriment. Permanent weight-loss is not magic. It’s not a trick. A gimmick. Or a never-seen-before product. It’s science. It’s total commitment, not momentary motivation. It’s logical. Practical. And it’s work, effort and sacrifice; three things that are very hard to sell in our quick-fix, instant-gratification culture.
If you and I are serious about producing forever results with our bodies then it should be our mission to create total and irreversible inside-out transformation; starting with our thinking, choices, behaviours and habits over the next four decades – not the next four weeks. Get the head stuff right and everything else becomes a natural byproduct.
Ironically, the major flaw in most popular weight-loss approaches lies in the emphasis on all things physical (body-weight, fat percentage, calorie intake, exercise habits). And yes, this is coming from a gym owner, exercise scientist and ex-fattie. If I lose weight over the short term but fail to change my internal default settings (thinking, beliefs, expectations, standards), then it’s only a matter of time until I return to my version of ‘normal’.
When we’re ‘on a program’, we find ourselves consciously and intentionally changing our choices and behaviours which, in some ways, is not natural or normal (to us – at that point in time). Programs finish but life goes on. It’s not until those new healthy choices and behaviours become automatic, unconscious and ‘normal’ (part of life versus part of a program) that we begin the process of genuine and lasting transformation – as opposed to some kind of temporary behavioural and physical change.
Losing weight? Not so hard. Keeping it off? Very possible when we’re prepared to do what’s required.
Whenever ‘when’ is.