In my previous article I told you I would be writing a series of articles for you all to set you in the right mind for the coming New Year, since this is the time of year when many of you are setting or re-setting weight loss and physique transformation goals.
But marketers know this as well.
And people are already sending me over the top nonsense about magic supplements to burn fat during menopause, ‘eat this not that’ if you have arthritis, and ‘diet tips’ and ‘weight loss’ tips that run from the mundane to the insane.
I’m not going to spend much time railing against this.
In this article I am going to offer you “tips you can use” – If, you are smart enough to use them and use them regularly enough to engage the change you seek.
As I will continue to remind you – most people fail at weight loss and physique transformation goals, not because they don’t have the right diet tools or exercise protocols in place. You fail because you don’t follow them, or don’t follow them consistently.
Once again, as a preamble I state to you that in 5 decades of one on one Coaching, the reason so many people fail at weight loss goals, all boils down to mindset issues – and, “quality of mindset determines quality of behavior.”
Furthermore, these ‘tips you can use’ are atypical and unorthodox, yes. But they are only unorthodox because they are underused or ignored; and then replaced by intense media marketing for money-making gimmicks.
So these tips aren’t going to be the usual – “cut down on salt to cut down on water retention” or the thousand other tidbits and hacks and secrets that will flood your social media feed in the coming weeks.
I’m going to give you some unorthodox tips you can use, tips that will actually set you on the trajectory to permanent weight loss and physique transformation.
Let’s get into it:
(Unorthodox) Tips You Can Use:
Tip: In your mind, you must ask yourself the right questions, and drill down deeper. As the Buddha dictate tells us, right mind, right thinking, lead to right actions, and right results. So, for instance “why” are you seeking this change? You need to get to the root of the answer to this question?
When I ask clients to ask themselves this question, many come up with, “I want to lose weight.” – or “I want to be healthy.” And while these are a start, they are still surface level answers: Drill deeper. ‘I want to lose weight – WHY?’ ‘I want to be healthier – WHY?’ Keep answering these ‘why’ questions till you have a deeper clarity on your purpose for wanting to do this change!
Tip: What is one small thing you can change right now to make a constructive difference? – Because in the end, CHANGE is going to BE the difference.
So many people I’ve dealt with have a contradiction playing out in their own minds. You want your body to change, but you don’t want to make any hard alterations or choices to change it. How can anything really change, if you want everything in your life to still be the same? Actionable steps are always baby steps – so why do you continue to seek giant leaps?
Tip: Be More Pragmatic and Less Emotional. This amplifies the above tip. So many people seeking huge amounts of weight loss are not emotionally prepared for wholesale behavioral changes, and they may not even be physically capable either. If the most actionable steps are baby steps, then stop thinking that your goal is an all or nothing, all-in or not in, proposition.
We see this every New Year –people convincing themselves to dive in wholeheartedly to a complete lifestyle change. And that lasts all of a week or two. So again, stop dramatizing in your mind these giant leaps you think you can make – and drill down on some ‘doable’ non-threatening baby steps you can start right now; whatever that may be for you.
Tip: Address in earnest, what is the energy around you like, at your job, in your home. If the rest of your life can be more or less defined by the word ‘stress,’ then you are going to find this whole process stressful as well; and therefore, you are more likely to fail.
Exercise: Make a two columns list for ‘energy’ and on one side put “Positive Energy” and on the other side put ‘Negative Energy.” Think of your various surroundings in your life – everything from say ‘commuter traffic’ to your relationships, anything and anyone that pops into your head is relevant.
Fill these columns with one word about every element – see if you skew more positive or negative. Then ask yourself how you can “accentuate the positive, and eliminate the negative” (or at least deflate the negatives). Then write these solutions and ideas down, and keep them nearby.
These things matter more than you know or more than you respect.
Tip: Drill down on what part of the process is upsetting to you and why? And what are you going to do about it? If you struggle (or have struggled in the past) or you are inconsistent, then this means there is likely something about the whole process that is upsetting to you; and that is what blocks you. What is it about this current scenario that is upsetting to you? Make no mistake, it is this upset you should seek to unravel first, and not the diet formulas and training apps and all the rest. You must come to grips with what unsettles or upsets you regarding this process, or you are not likely to last long on the path to real progress.
Tip: It’s about teaching you how to decide for yourself, and make decisions for yourself (whether right or wrong, or for better or worse). There are no food police to answer to. So many people get the wrong idea of what role a Coach is supposed to serve. The Coach is not your parent and not your judge and jury. New clients will often write and ask ‘Am I allowed to have this?’ “Am I allowed to have that? ‘What should I do about the upcoming holidays, tell me what to do?’
A Coach who revels in playing that role of food police and lifestyle judge and jury over you, is not a worthy Coach.
Adapting a new lifestyle is about learning how to make choices for yourself and it’s about learning how to eventually navigate through obstacles that occur in your own life, by making choices YOU can live with. It should never be simply about “Do this, or else.”
Tip: What a good Coach can do is guide you until you can ‘personalize your process.’ If you don’t learn how to ‘personalize your process’ you will always be a slave to someone else’s way of doing it.
And that is like sitting in a row boat in the middle of a lake with no land in site and thinking you will just end up where you need to be and want to be. You need oars, you need directional currents and you need to row that boat in a desired and decided upon direction. In other words YOU take the actions and make the decisions.
It’s been amazing to me how many people will come to me and learn one way, only to abandon it for the next way, according to someone else they now choose to listen to. And/or they continue to make wild swings over and over again in an attempt to lose weight. They’ll contact me after being ‘keto’ till that blows up on them.
Now I have them on a carbs-based diet.
But they never ever truly ‘personalize their process’ so they end up years and years going back and forth with the next ‘expert’s way’ of doing diet and exercise. There is no autonomy and eventual self-rule in that.
That is not a solution to a sustainable lifestyle change.
The thing is if you don’t trust your decisions then you are less likely to learn worthwhile principles and methods from them. This is true even when you make bad decisions.
Lifestyle changes boil down to choices. ‘Choose the behavior, choose the consequences.’ This is something you must learn to do for yourself, and not cop out and forever choose to leave such decisions to an outside third party. You don’t learn much of anything valuable that way.
Side Note: For a Coach, this always boils down to the ‘teach a man to fish’ parable. For those who don’t know it, the parable is, “Give a man a fish, he eats for a meal – teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime.”
Unfortunately most coaches practice the ‘give a man a fish’ in actuality, they just don’t realize they are doing it. Just giving clients meal plans and telling them to follow them no matter what is not teaching them very much. It’s a starting point to be sure – but at some point, people need to ‘personalize their process’ and be given the tools to do do.
Tip: Attitude adjustment. If you emotionally make this process to be like taking bad medicine, then no way you are going to last at it. Yet that is what so many people who attempt physique transformation do, and it’s why you fail. As I said, you can’t just want the results; you HAVE TO WANT TO wholeheartedly adapt the process that delivers you to the results!
Tip: When possible, which is almost all the time – enact and rely on the KISS principle to guide your decisions. (Keep It Simple, Stupid) The answer to some obstacle or dilemma you will face as you climb this mountain is almost always going to be SIMPLE, not complicated. You tend to make obstacles more complicated than they are or need to be because 1) You inject way too much emotion into it, and 2) You factor in what you want to do into the decision, rather than keeping the decision to what you need to do. So, KEEP IT SIMPLE!
Tip: Here is an obvious but forgotten ingredient to implement to help you reach your goal: Tap into your competency in other areas of your life. Assess, and investigate and then generalize what makes you competent in these areas and then apply them to your process and your motivations for this goal. But remember; apply these skills to your process, not to your desired outcome. For instance maybe you are great at your job, or at keeping a clean house, or at being a mother or father or caretaker. Examine what it is that makes you good and exceptional at these things, and then apply these skills, attitudes and mindsets to the process at hand.
Final Tip: Be kind to yourself throughout this process. If you are not kind to yourself throughout this process, you will likely fail. This doesn’t mean a free ticket to avoid responsibility for what must be done as it needs to be done, but it does mean self-encouragement and self-support. Focusing on chastising yourself for every mistake or slip up or bad decision does not move you forward!
And there you have it:
Yes these tips may seem unorthodox to you. But they are only unorthodox because they go against generations-long traditional industry trends of ‘do this, not that’ behavior modification advice for weight loss and physique transformation that has failed more people than it has helped.
As a Coach who has been helping people achieve weight loss and physique transformation for 5 decades now, I can tell you EMPHATICALLY, that it is these kinds of instructions you see above in the form of tips – that make all the difference between reaching your goal vs. failing to reach your goal.
I hope these tips help you gather some clarity regarding where you may improve to help yourself all along the way to accomplish your goal!
Some of you will get it
Some of you will not