Why does Barak Obama, president of the United States of America, only wear blue or grey suits?
And what does such sartorial conservatism have to with weight loss?
The answer to both is fascinating and will help you lose weight better and faster than any diet or exercise programme on the market.
Forget P90 X or Insanity. Understanding this concept will have you dropping pounds faster than a wax mannequin in a pizza oven.
The funny thing is that the answer has nothing at all to do with ‘weight loss’ as you know it.
You see, when it comes to losing weight, diet and exercise aren’t the most important factors.
Surely it’s ALL about calories in vs. calories out. What else is there?
Well, my friend, there’s a missing ingredient that is the real ‘secret’ to burning fat fast, safely and keeping it off long-term.
Learn how to harness this simple principle and you’ll finally be able to take control of your health and fitness, once and for all and build the body of your dreams.
And it applies to much more than just weight loss. It’s the missing ingredient to achieving almost anything else you want in life.
It’s that powerful.
Don’t worry we’ll come back to this ‘missing ingredient’ in a minute (but for now, let me tell you it has nothing to do with crash dieting or spending hours on the treadmill, trying to chase down your dream body).
In fact, both of these are more likely to make you gain weight in the long run than lose it.
Before you discover the most important weight loss principle that will literally revolutionise your weight loss efforts, we need to take a look at why the conventional approach to weight loss doesn’t really work.
CONVENTIONAL WISDOM SUCKS
Believing the calories in vs. calories out nonsense is the first big mistake most people make when they’re trying to lose weight. What you eat is more important than how much.
The second is joining a gym and starting some grueling exercise regime (without a good personal trainer to guide you) that beats you into the ground and leaves you questioning your sanity when you’re too sore to sit on the toilet or walk up the stairs the next day.
To add insult to injury, drinking your usual, mid-morning cappuccino and reaching for the biscuit barrel, will undo all of that hard work and actually add more calories than you burnt in your entire hour’s workout.
But don’t worry it’s not YOUR fault.
The ‘weight loss’ industry has been misleading you for years and quietly raking in massive profits selling you pills, potions, gadgets and gizmos that don’t really work.
“Hey, just take this pill or use this gizmo and you’ll lose weight overnight AND you can keep eating crap and going to bed late and not exercising.”
Does this sound realistic? No. In fact it sounds ridiculous. The problem is that people are still falling for it on a daily basis and parting with their hard-earned cash for snake oil.
The reason they’ve been able to get away with this for so long is because we humans are bizarre creatures.
Most of us would rather take a magic weight loss pill, even though we know deep down it will never really work, than actually make some simple changes to what we eat and just move around more.
We’re the masters of self-delusion.
We live in hope, expecting our lives to miraculously change, without ever actually making any changes in our life. This is similar to Einstein’s definition of insanity by the way: repeatedly doing the same things but expecting different results.
This is because most of us suffer from what psychiatrist Dr Raj Persaud calls ‘False Hope Syndrome’.
We live in (false) hope that the next diet, the next exercise programme, the next gadget or supplement will solve all of our problems.
Somehow, even though everything else we’ve tried has failed, the next one will be the magic bullet that will make us thin, happy, rich and beautiful.
There’s a very BIG problem with False Hope Syndrome though and it goes something like this…
THIS MAGIC BULLET DOESN’T EXIST AND IT NEVER WILL.
Instead of understanding and accepting that the real problem is our own behaviour, and that we need to change that behaviour if we want a different result, we look for something external, a product or another person to cure or fix us. We want someone to come along and take away all of our problems.
We’re creatures of habit and we like routine. In very simple terms, routine is safe and the unknown is scary. Ultimately our reluctance to change anything is all about fear.
WE FEAR CHANGE.
For many people the prospect of making simple changes to diet and lifestyle – even if they’ve been diagnosed with a life-threatening condition – is so scary that they’d rather die than change.
Your routines and habits are so personal and engrained that making huge changes in multiple areas is almost impossible, or certainly unsustainable. And nothing is more personal than your relationship with food and your own body!
The good (and bad for some) news is that no one else can fix you. If you want to change something in your life (like losing weight and getting fit) you have to do it yourself.
YOU and only YOU are in charge of your health, body, fitness and pretty much everything else in your life.
If you want a different result, you’re going to have to make some simple changes in certain key areas.
For some of us this will sound depressing and scary (or it may even make you feel angry). That’s just fear of failure and temporary discomfort rearing its ugly head.
The prospect of making short-term changes to your safe routines is just too painful. Even though there’s a long-term payoff that will far outweigh this temporary pain, it’s not enough to persuade you to crawl out from under your rock.
For most of us it will be liberating. It’s liberating because it means that you are in control of your own body, health and life. YOU can create your own reality (good or bad). Once you understand the power and importance of this concept, things start to get exciting. If you can just get enough leverage on yourself to crawl out from under your rock, then the world is your oyster.
You’re steering the ship, so which way do you want to go?
BACK TO CONVENTIONAL WISDOM…
For years you’ve been fooled into thinking that losing weight is all about willpower, restrictive, rabbit-food-style diets that leave you hungry and irritable and hours of grueling exercise.
The Conventional Wisdom approach goes something like this:
1. Eat less
2. Exercise more
3. Develop the iron willpower of a Shaolin Monk
This approach is boring, outdated and totally unsustainable.
It may work for a little while, for absolute beginners, but what happens when you stop getting results?
In true, Westernised, “bigger is better” style, the answer is that you do more of it of course. You eat less, you move more and you punish yourself for being so weak-willed. Naughty you! Do an extra 90 minutes on the treadmill.
Taken to it’s extreme, this approach will have you eating next to nothing, exercising all of the time and becoming a depressed recluse.
Even worse, it’s also likely to make you ill and FAT, if you keep it up for too long. Clearly this is the opposite of what you’re actually trying to achieve!
You beat yourself up and wonder why you don’t have as much willpower as other people, why you can’t seem to find enough hours in the day to exercise, why you can’t seem to make healthy food choices because your body is craving sugar, caffeine and ‘carbs’ because you’re exhausted and starving yourself (not a good combination).
What’s wrong with you?
The answer is nothing. You are not the problem. The Conventional Wisdom approach to weight loss is because it doesn’t really work. You’ve been misled. So let’s forget about it, right now. Do yourself a favour and erase it from your memory. Free your mind from the chains of the status quo.
Instead, let’s take a look at what does work. At what will get you rapid results but, more importantly, lasting, sustainable results that will also improve your health not damage it.
We need a system that works but also allows you to eat well, to not spend your life in the gym (or ever set foot in the gym again if you don’t want to) and to have a little fun from time to time.
Something that will help you burn fat, flatten your stomach, increase your energy levels, boost your metabolism and build a leaner more toned body, all without the need for crash dieting or hours and hours of boring exercise (although you’re going to have to do some – just the right sort – and chances are that you’ve been doing the wrong sort).
After all, life is for living and enjoying not long-term dieting. You’re here to have an experience, not spend your time worrying about every little thing you eat or missing a workout here and there. Life’s too short.
More than anything, we want a system that allows you to live a little, not spend your time eating egg white omelettes and doing hill sprints, neither of which are much fun!
BEHAVIOURAL CHANGE NOT WILLPOWER
It’s become increasingly clear that willpower alone is not enough to successfully lose weight.
So you can stop beating yourself up because you “don’t have much willpower.”
That’s total crap.
Now don’t get me wrong. In short bursts, willpower is incredibly powerful. But when it comes to achieving something longer-term, it just isn’t enough to get the job done.
You have to find something stronger than willpower, a bigger reason to make the changes that you have to make in order to stick to the plan and achieve your goals.
You have to find a REASON TO CHANGE, something raw and emotional that is much more powerful and primal than your limited supply of willpower.
You need something BIG that will carry you safely through the dark times when the cravings for sugar and junk food run rampant and you don’t want to get out of bed to exercise.
Willpower might be enough to drag you to the local gym on the 3rd of January but it will have you running for the door by week 3, telling yourself “you’re just not meant to be slim”. (But you won’t cancel your direct-debit for at least 6 months because still being a member is at least something…)
Do yourself a favour and don’t rely on willpower anymore.
Don’t sign up for a spin class or start a diet.
Instead, spend your time and energy finding a big enough reason to change before you even think of doing anything else.
Finding that reason is the hardest part of the process. Once you’ve found it, the rest is relatively easy. All you need is a system that doesn’t rely on willpower but focuses on taking small, simple, achievable steps and changing your self-destructive behaviours.
It’s time to start wearing only blue or grey suits.
DECISION PARALYSIS AND MINIMISING CHOICE
Back to the beginning: Barak Obama only wears blue or grey suits because he doesn’t want to have to waste his limited supply of decision-making power choosing what to wear in the morning.
He’s cleverly automated his wardrobe choices so he can save his decision-making energy for the decisions that really matter.
By limiting his choices, he’s built a system that leaves his brain fresh and ready to tackle the important stuff. Anymore than two choices on the suit front and he risks sapping his energy for running the USA.
If you’re struggling to lose weight, you can learn a lot from this from this approach.
You see willpower and decisions are controlled by your conscious mind and there’s only so much it can handle before it runs out of energy. Ask too much of it and it will start making unwise decisions based on past experience and conditioned behaviour (the last thing you want if you’re trying to lose weight).
When tired or overloaded, your brain says…
“How do we usually respond to this situation? We eat ice cream on the sofa. Okay, that’s what we’ll do this time then!”
This is why willpower will only get you so far. It’ll help you make good decisions for most of the day but bombard it with too much and it’ll go A.W.O.L.
The problem is that life is hectic and we’re all bombarded with endless choices and information all day long, day in and day out. It’s unavoidable in this day and age.
By the time you get home from a hard day at the office or looking after the kids and household, making endless decisions about all sorts of minutiae, your capacity to make “good” decisions it pretty much non-existent.
The chances of you having enough willpower left to hit the gym or eat a ‘healthy’ meal are very, very slim (pun intended), especially if you haven’t planned ahead.
Be honest. When you’re exhausted and stressed, are you more likely to look in the fridge for healthy ingredients, surf the internet for inspiration and then spend the time cooking a fresh, healthy meal, or reach for something quick and comforting, washed down with a couple of glasses of wine and some chocolate?
If you want to successfully lose weight, you’ve got to take willpower out of the equation and have simple, automated systems in place so you don’t fall off the wagon. Just like Barak and his suits but with food and exercise.
You MUST limit your choices.
HOW TO CHANGE YOUR BEHAVIOUR
In the next part of this 4 part series, you’ll learn exactly how to take the first step and change your behaviour when it comes to food and exercise. You’ll learn how to create what I call a Weight Loss Mindset.
You’ll find out how to get ‘Emotional Ammunition’ on yourself and how to ‘engage your elephant’. Getting this guy on your side is the absolute key to achieving nearly any goal, without having to rely on willpower. If you can get him onboard, the elephant will trample any obstacles in his way to get you to your goals.
Then in parts 3 and 4 you’ll discover two very simple, ‘plug and play’ systems you can start using straight away to automate your decision-making, minimise choice, rev up your metabolism and become a fat burning machine.
Make sure you check your inbox for part 2 in the next 5 days to find out how to get your elephant moving…
“Luck is not a factor. Hope is not a strategy. Fear is not an option.”
– James Cameron
P.S. Click here to book your FREE, 45-minute weight loss consultation and movement screen with Chichester’s leading personal trainer. At Physicul®, we specialise in weight loss, personal training and strength and conditioning.