How to lose weight…
A quick internet search with those four little words and you will be in immediate information overload with “40 ways to lose weight FAST…”, “9 things you shouldn’t eat if trying to lose weight…” and “15 weight loss workouts you HAVE to do…”
All that information… And all of it useless…
IF you don’t focus on the art of weight loss first.
Weight loss is an art, more than it is a science.
The science is too easy:
- Science tells us cutting back on carbohydrates and lowering insulin will lead to restricted calorie consumption and near effortless weight loss.
- Science tells us reducing stress will reduce the production of cortisol so you will have good insulin resistance and you won’t store as much fat.
- Science tells us lifting weights will burn calories and help keep your metabolism moving quickly.
- Science tells us drinking water, especially before meals, will help you eat fewer calories and will boost your metabolism.
- Science tells us leptin resistance (hormone which tells you to stop eating) can be reversed by avoiding sugar, fructose, grains and processed foods when coupled with high intensity exercise.
The truth is, if you are looking to lose weight, you aren’t looking for the science.
If you were only looking for the science, I’d tell you…
If you want to lose weight you should reduce (or nearly eliminate) your carbohydrate consumption; primarily sugar, fructose, grains and processed foods. Cutting liquid calories will help big time. Do everything you can to reduce stress in your life, whether at work, at home or anywhere else. Be active! Try to workout 3 times a week and make it either lifting heavy weight or simple low level aerobic exercise (55-75% of your max heart rate for 3-5 hours a week). And eat healthy fats, protein and a lot of vegetables.
That’s it. That’s the science. Give it a try and tell me how it works…
But you are probably looking for the art. You are looking for the methods and skills used in weight loss. If you want to create a masterpiece, you need to be an artist, not a scientist.
I’m not talking about specific workouts either…
No, I’ll tell you right now, the art of weight loss rests in between your ears (your brain).
Let’s learn the art.
How to Lose Weight by Harnessing Willpower
You need to look at your willpower like a fuel gauge which slowly gets depleted throughout the day. Every minute of the day your willpower is slowly diminished, ever so slightly. The more decisions you make, the more tasks you work on, the more your willpower will start to vanish.
Good news is your willpower is easily regenerated. A nap, a good nights rest or even a healthy meal can bring your willpower back up. But it is a constant struggle to keep your willpower at an all-time high.
But willpower and weight loss present an interesting dilemma. The very concept of weight loss is against you from the start.
Because you will not be able to lose weight without willpower.
But what can tax your willpower?
- Implementing new behaviors…
- Resisting Temptation…
- Suppressing impulses…
- Doing something you don’t enjoy…
- Holding out for long-term, rather than short-term goals….
Do any of those activities seem necessary for losing weight??
So the very nature of what you are trying to achieve (losing weight) will dramatically tax what you need (willpower) to achieve it. So how do we combat this problem?
Stop spreading your willpower too thin: Limit Decision-Making
Did you know Mark Zuckerberg wears the same t-shirt everyday?
When asked why, he said he wanted to limit his decision making to only important decisions for his company. Likewise, Apple founder Steve Jobs and President Barack Obama, have the same theory with regards to choosing their clothing.
Now, I am not suggesting you wear the same clothes everyday. But I AM suggesting you limit as much of your decision making as you can, to preserve your willpower.
Seriously, the small stuff; what to wear, what to eat, how to get to work, how your day will go. It may seem silly, but having things as planned as possible, and only making the decisions you have to, is going to leave a lot of mental octane to burn when are hitting a workout or resisting an unhealthy meal.
Other things you can do (ahead of time):
- Decide what your workouts will be for the next week or 30 days; or stick to a program.
- Decide what your meals will be for the week.
- Plan as much of your daily routine ahead of time as you can.
Limit the small decisions by mass-planning on only one day of the week.
This will leave you with a high level of willpower ready to defeat your weight loss goal.
Also, the good news is everyday you win in willpower, you start to form habits. Once the habit is created, it is second nature and it will no longer require your mental energy.
Now, your brain is ready for the battle, but is it ready for the war?
How to Lose Weight by Fixing Motivation
Are you ready for the long haul? Are you ready to put in the work day after day, week after week, and even year after year?
Well, let’s start with a more basic question: Why do you want to lose weight?
You want to be healthier, slimmer and look better, right?
Is that a good enough reason?
Well, actually…No, it isn’t…
Studies say you can achieve a simple weight loss goal and STILL be concerned with body shape and size, and still unsatisfied…You may have some “dream body” or “dream weight” which will make you “happy”, but it may not.
Happiness is a choice, not an appearance.
BUT… the same study found if your goals are attached to something bigger than a number on the scale, something intrinsic, something long-lasting. You will be happier and more fulfilled with your progress and results, and you will have longer lasting motivation.
Motivation which won’t last: Weight loss, Physical attractiveness, Toned body, Impress others, Win awards, Satisfy competitive desires, Relieve boredom, Build muscle…
Motivation which stands the test of time: Physical fitness, Good health, Enjoyment, Social interaction, Enhance self-esteem, Reduce stress, Improve skills…
Keep in mind this is simply extrinsic motivators vs. intrinsic motivators. There are outliers who want what is considered an extrinsic motivator so badly, that it is actually an intrinsic motivator, to them. But for most everyone else. The above applies.
Furthermore, an intrinsic motivator of good health can easily lead to weight loss and a toned body. Your motive matters. Results are endless.
You now have willpower for the battles and motivation for the war; what’s left?
How to Lose Weight through Self-Efficacy
You have to know it is 100% possible to achieve your goals.
- Yes, eating right matters…
- Yes, working out matters…
But if you don’t think you can achieve it…everything else is useless. You can do this.
It doesn’t matter what you say or why you think you can’t lose weight. Say it to me, and my response will always be the same…
You can do this.
Jerred, you don’t know how many times I have tried. I’ve done diets, I’ve tried different exercises, programs…
You can do this.
Jerred, I can’t stay motivated. It works for a little while, but then everything falls apart…
You can do this.
Jerred, you don’t know my schedule, my life or what I face on a daily basis.
You can do this.
You can change your diet little by little, just one thing at a time. It will feel forced and awkward, and you may even hate it…
But it will start to work.
Exercising won’t be fun. You may not enjoy pushing yourself and trying to find the time to fit it into your schedule…
But the results will start to show.
But what you can’t do, is sit around and twiddle your thumbs.
You have do something!
Don’t feel sorry for yourself or think about how you will never achieve your goals.
You have to do something!
Believe in yourself and your ability to achieve your goal. It’s that simple.
Weight loss is more challenging for some, than others. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pursue your goals.
Good luck with your weight loss goals!
Here’s to becoming a better human!
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