2012 – The Art of Weight Loss

MayansWereWrong

The Mayans were wrong, not that I ever expected them to be right.

Honestly, I’m a bit of a realist.

An overly optimistic realist, perhaps, but a realist.

I respect anybody who can tell me why they believe something, or why they are doing something, even if I disagree.

It’s the people who can’t form logical explanations that worry me…

So when somebody tells me the world is going to end, because that’s when the Mayan calendar stops, my realistic nature tends to set off internal alarms.

LeapYearMayans

If you’ve got canned food for 20 years, lining a bunker, somewhere you figure the apocalypse will never reach you and practice evacuation drills with your family weekly, you may get the last laugh.

Or you may have spent your remaining days worrying about something that never happens and like I said I’m optimistic.

Personally I think, what the heck, I’ve lived a pretty awesome life, if I died today, I’d be O.K. with that, I’ve tried to squeeze as much as I can out of every day.

There isn’t much I regret, but I still reflect regularly, and the week around Christmas or the first part of the new year is a perfect time for annual reflection.

You may have noticed that I haven’t really blogged much in the last few weeks, so I’m planning on coming back in 2013 in a bigger way, both here and on Koachable’s new blog, Koaches Korner.

Here are some of the things I reflected upon over the last few weeks, some are predictions, some are deeper understandings I’ve developed.

1) Perfectionism Kills

Something happened to me later in the year, my first experience with so-called ‘Writer’s Block.’

In reality, I don’t think there is such a thing as writer’s block, and that’s just a ‘excuse-term’ for what really happened to me late last year:

I got really anal about writing perfect top-notch content.

So I would write something and be unhappy with it, write something new and be unhappy with it, feel like my writing or grammer wasn’t quite great, kill an article, or feel like I was merely repeating myself on something else I’ve already written about.

Yes even I’m guilty of resorting into old patterns of behavior and I’m happy to say that I’ve now settled back into the simple routine of just writing a little each day, and although I may write some ‘less-than-stellar’ posts in 2013, I’m O.K. with that.

You can do the same with exercise and nutrition, and sometimes you have to lean back on the basic foundations.

For writing, it’s write every day.

For nutrition it’s eat whole foods, not too much, mostly plants with some lean proteins and healthy fats.

2) Simplicity Trumps Complexity Every Time

I’ve never worded this belief quite like this before, but for the last couple of years I’ve been helping my clients make small incremental changes and the results have been more profound than ever in the previous five or six years.

It sort of comes back to the Pareto, 80/20 principle.

When I started training my programs got more and more complex, with more and more ‘cool’ exercises, using more and more ‘cool’ techniques and I’d push clients to adhere to 5-day a week programs, regardless of their needs.

I used to think I was this cool awesome trainer who knew more than the majority of other trainers, now I believe I got worse and worse as a trainer over my first few years and am only now coming into my own, with lots of room for continued improvement.

Of course, it’s human nature to assume that if something is more complex, uses all these cool techniques or taps all these latest scientific discoveries than it must be better.

It’s not.

What seems easier?

Cleaning the whole house this weekend or taking 5 minutes to clean your desk today?

Incremental small changes over time matter more than overhauls done all at once.

For 2013, see how much you can dumb down your resolutions.

What can you do daily that adds up over time?

What can you add to you’re already good habits?

3) Meal Plans and Exercise Programs ≠ Success

And you’re going to start to seeing them morph in 2013, more people trying to explain HOW and less people just telling you WHAT to do.

If you are an intermediate exerciser, or already at a healthy weight and just looking to maintain, the trying new engaging programs may work for you, but if you’re doing P90x for the eighth time, it’s probably time to move on.

Unfortunately the tiniest percentage of the population is at that point right now (I believe less than 10%), so if you really want to find success with your exercise or nutrition program start learning the basic skills you need and adopting the ideal habits or behaviors you need today.

Build a foundation and you’ll be able to attack any awesome fitness program you want.

It’s like the old adage:

“Catch a fish for a man, he can eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, he can eat for a lifetime.”

I look back on all the programs I’ve designed over the previous eight years and think one of two things now:

  • These programs would never have amounted to anything without constant coaching and tweaking
  • I wasted a lot of time and effort trying to create ‘the perfect’ program for everybody I worked with rather than optimizing it

I gave up on the perfect program notion and instead focused on building in some flexibility so that programs could be adjusted on a daily basis, rather than every 3-6 weeks.

I’m planning to release what I believe to be a better model for exercise programming for beginners this year, it may be hard for most to wrap their head around, but trust me, it works better than most rigid programs ever will.

4) Coaching yields better results than anything else I know of

Honestly I’m not just saying that because I earn a living coaching, I’m a living breathing testament to the power of coaching — or teaching, mentorship, whatever you want to call it.

In 2013, I paid for or received (from friends, mentors) coaching assistance in the following areas:

  • Start-Ups and Online Business
  • Blogging & Writing
  • SEO and Marketing
  • Video Making
  • User Experience (Usability)
  • Speed Reading
  • Name Recollection (I have a fantastic memory, unfortunately names never seemed to stick)

You don’t have to pay for it, you just have to seek out the help of people who have more experience than you and can explain it well enough for you to get a little bit better each time.

Sometimes you outgrow a friends mentorship, and you move up a little bit further the chain, sometimes it’s worth paying for, other times it’s only a mild interest.

Having a coach, mentor, or teacher amplifies your learning exponentially and shortens the timeframe it takes to achieve certain levels of mastery.

Bottom line is, to get to the next level you need some feedback from somebody who knows more than you do.

5) ‘Reading’ and ‘Understanding’ are very different

What do you do when you want to lose weight?

Hop online, and read everything you can find?

Buy a book, or read several all on weight loss?

Post questions to Quora, or another online forum, asking an ‘expert‘ for help?

This is not a sarcastic criticism, just a human tendency. I need to change something or do something, therefore I need to acquire as much knowledge about that as possible.

Here’s the problem:

90% of your success will be governed by behaviors and execution.

Behaviors get controlled in the unconscious, limbic part of the brain. You require a fair amount of deliberate practice to concrete behaviors to this part of the brain.

Reading acquires knowledge that exists in the prefrontal cortex (the conscious part of your brain).

See the disconnect?

That’s why I write about taking action, getting started with tiny things that fall in line with how your brain actually functions for change, and then utilize continuous improvement techniques (Kaizen) to finely tune your skills.

Got anything you’d like to add to this list? Leave a comment…

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