In this post I want to challenge you.
If you struggle with weight or food, then chances are you've followed many diets and you have done a lot of reading about “solutions.”
Most of these solutions center around answers that focus on “eat this, not that” and counting and measuring everything in order to “take control.”
However, in my experience this idea of “taking control” can easily become an unhealthy obsession that creates fear and paranoia around something as simple as what to eat and how to feed yourself.
But here I want to ask you what you “think” you know are the “solutions” to your struggles.
Answer these questions below.
Your answers will tell you something about what you think you know about how to lose weight and keep it off.
First: how many times have you dieted or tried to lose weight, even if just for a little while?
- 0-5 times
- 5-10 times
- 10-20 times
- Too many to count
Now, how many times have you gained most of the weight back?
- 0-5 times
- 5-10 times
- 10-20 times
- Every single time
- Too many to count
Does the number of times you've attempted to lose weight almost exactly correspond to the number of times you've gained it back?
(And does that… tell you something?)
Now write down what the commonalities are between the “solutions” that all these different diet agendas had for you.
What stands out with each of them?
What Most Diet “Solutions” Have In Common
They probably had things in common like: count your calories, measure your grams, weigh yourself to be accountable, eat less food, keep tempting foods out of the house, exercise more, and be part of a support group.
These are the most common elements of most diets and most weight-loss clinics. They all claim to be “different,” but has the long-term result for you been any different? Did you achieve sustainable weight loss and freedom from obsession with food and eating and weight-control?
You've been sold a “solution” that is actually part of the problem.
In fact, previous dieting may have led you to being heavier now than you otherwise would have been.
The diet-industry, the fitness-industry, the weight-loss clinic industry, and even the media: they all tell you to focus your life more and more narrowly and intensely on your goal of losing weight.
These diets tell you to commit, to sacrifice, and to stay on track and don't give up. And when it (inevitably) doesn't work out, it's hinted that you have just “given up.” You just didn't focus hard enough.
But how does that make you feel? And where does that leave you mentally and emotionally? Overall, are things getting better… or worse?
Perhaps you need to start considering that this whole mindset of obsession-like focus is just wrong, and that it has always been wrong.
Maybe these tight rules and rigid restrictions seem fine during the early “honeymoon” period when you start a new diet, but maybe they're just not realistic long-term.
The fact of the matter is this:
People who successfully lose weight (and keep it off) are people who think LESS about food and diet, not MORE about it.
(Remember Trevor from last week. Dedication and commitment does not mean obsession. Trevor is too damn busy to “think about food” all day.)
The Importance of Less Tension and Letting Go
Any system of thinking that produces overwhelming mental tension has failure built right into it. By contrast, a healthy and fit mindset is one where your intention and attention results in less overall tension. If you intention and attention lead to more tension, then, put simply, you will fail, as your body and your mind will seek release.
- A healthy, successful mindset: Intention plus Attention leads to… less Tension.
- An unhealthy, doomed-to-fail mindset: Intention plus Attention leading to… more Tension.
Please just forget for one minute what you've been told to believe about what it “takes” to lose weight.
If you still struggle, isn't it true that these so-called “solutions” have never led to the results you want? Maybe you need to set aside what you've been led to believe about “how” to lose weight.
Maybe your mind needs a rest. (Remember, we want less tension.)
Maybe you are ready to finally believe in a different approach – an approach that doesn't imprison you in bodyfat percentages, weight scales, food scales, and complicated formulas.
The Real “Goal” of Weight Loss
If you think about it, when you try to lose weight, what you really want is for your weight to be less of an issue in your life, not more of one.
You want to not have to think about it. You want to be happy about your weight.
So then: how is focusing more on rules, regulations and formulas for weight loss ever going to free you from this trap? Aren't these things creating more tension? If focusing more on your weight makes you feel bad about yourself, then how is this the answer to your weight-loss? It's not. Deep down, you know that.
Does it make any sense to devote your whole life to something precisely in order to make it a “less” important part of your life?
This is a mindset that is just obviously doomed to fail.
And please, before I am misunderstood: don't fight this mindset.
No! Instead, just let it go.
Remember what true mental fitness is: your intention and attention leading to less tension.
Losing weight through sacrifice, self-denial, self-deprivation and will is not only unsustainable, it also leads to tremendous physical, metabolic, and psychological issues down the road.
It's time to wake up to a new idea.
In order to lose weight successfully, it cannot be opposed to being mentally, emotionally, and physically healthy. And yet when you deprive and starve yourself, that's exactly what happens.
Only when weight loss becomes part of your total mental, emotional, and physical well being does the equation regarding a healthy mindset of focus (intention and attention leading to less tension) actually work out.
And it's at this point, when your intention and attention both lead to less tension, that weight loss just… takes care of itself.
So: are you ready for a radical change of mindset?
Because that is exactly what it will take.
Okay, that's enough for now.
In my next post I want to push you even further.
I'm a physique transformation specialist. That means my job is to help people lose weight (or gain muscle, or whatever). I help people “get ripped” for shows, for photoshoots, and for physique competitions. I'm good at it. I help people get awesome results.
And yes, don't worry: over the next few weeks I will be talking about physique transformation, nutrition, that art of designing workout programs, and more.
But this week I want to talk about something else.
I want to talk about the importance of body image and eating issues.
It's a problem you might suffer from. It is a problem that many, many of my clients suffer from. If you are a trainer, then many of your clients suffer from it as well. If you've spent any time in the fitness game, then you've got friends who suffer from it (they may or may not suffer in silence).
Later this week, that's what I want to talk about. Make no mistake – it is one of the most important aspects of fitness today.