Change, In a Nutshell

Weight loss is really a process of change.

Changing the way you currently eat to a way that suits your lifestyle and your desired appearance.

Changing the way you currently exercise to a way that suits your schedule and your optimal aesthetic.

Changing your lifestyle itself so as to suit the optimal occupation, the right social groups, a positive mindset and ideal behaviors.

Behaviors like cooking your own food, walking or riding to work, eating more veggies, or taking up a physical activity or a sport for fun. It could be learning new things like how to cook or how to ski, snowboard, skate or cycle.

The combinations are endless and unique to the individual, there could be 10 really big things worth changing, or 100 little things worth changing that would yield be results for the average weight loss client. [toc]

The problem?

Change can be freakin’ hard!

So, how can we make this easier on ourselves?

In my work I’ve discovered that helping others get in the right mindset about the process of change is the most ideal way to set yourself up for incredible results, so it’s important to know where people are in their quest of weight loss or weight maintenance for the lucky few.

When I work with people I can’t emphasize this enough, focus on changing one thing at a time.

If you need to learn a new skill, like a squat or deadlift or another foundational movement pattern, then focus on learning those foundational movement patterns, don’t try to learn how to olympic lift, if you’re not comfortable dead-lifting, front squatting, and overhead squatting, it just makes no sense.

I see though at the gym every day people interupting their process of change by trying to do too much at once, whether it’s a complete overhaul of their diet

If you need to adopt a habit of sleeping 8 hours a night, then focus on strategies that will aid you in getting the necessary amount of sleep.

The Conscious and Sub-Conscious Mind

Remember my article on the Elephant and Weight Loss, from last week?

The conscious mind can only concentrate on things, one at a time.

That’s right, if you’re multi-tasking, you are actually shifting your conscious focus from one thing to the next, splitting your time simultaneously between conscious tasks — kind of like how the first iPad multi-tasked, anybody remember that?  — which is why focusing on a singular task is actually more effective, no matter how good at multi-tasking you think you may be.

The only other thing you could be doing, when you multi-task, is put other tasks on auto-pilot, through your sub-conscious.

The sub-conscious mind is capable of handling a lot more data and can actually multi-task, in fact, it’s multi-tasking right now as it looks after your heart rate, breathing rate, digestive system, hormonal system and so on.

Ever wonder how athletes get so good at shooting a basketball or hitting a golf ball? They ingrain a motor pattern — through a lot of deliberate practice — to the point of sub-conscious control, then that movement becomes reactive in nature and they no-longer have to think about ‘how‘ to shoot, or ‘how to hit this golf ball, given this terrain.’

It’s like flexing a muscle to make it stronger.

Under this circumstance, you’re focusing on one thing that you need to consciously think about, while your subconscious mind handles the other things going on.

The sub-conscious can then drive automatic habits and behaviors, and in the case of weight loss the process that needs to happen goes follows the stages listed below.

So if you wanted to say adopt the good habit of eating lean protein with every meal, or eating veggies with every meal, or eating healthy fats daily, or exercising daily, then the objective is to make it an ingrained habit, something that you can simply act on without conscious, deliberate thought.

In the examples below, the unconscious, pretty much represents your sub-conscious mind.

The Change Process


As you go through the process of change, these are more or less the four stages of that change.

1) Unconscious Incompetence

This is the stage you won’t even be aware of yet. If you’re reading this, you are probably already past this stage, or you wouldn’t be here. People in this stage are completely oblivious to the fact that there is anything to change, let alone know how to change it.

This might be a love one you’ve been urging to lose a few pounds for the last 10 years but refuses to believe they have a problem, or is in a state of denial.

2) Conscious Incompetence

This is the stage that we see the most often. This is the ideal stage to work with a coach actually.

You may realize or know someone who realizes that they have a problem with their weight but they just don’t have the skills, habits, knowledge, attitude or behaviors needed in order to do something about it.

This stage requires an in depth experiential education into the unique aspects of your physical existence — hey we work mostly on physical change here but it’s inter-related to the other dimensions of well-being too — and what is needed from you in a sequential fashion to create lasting change.

3) Conscious Competence

This is the stage where we really start making some progress!

At this point, you are probably well on your way to acquiring great skills, changing bad habits and creating positive, new behaviors. Congrats!

You’re probably feeling a sense of accomplishment at this point, on a roll, you’ve found your zone or your flow, all good things.

The only thing you’ve yet to accomplish at this point is instilling the pattern into the sub-conscious so you no longer have to consciously think about it’s execution, you can just do it.

4) Unconscious Competence

The last stage of change and pretty much where everybody should aim for.

At this point, the habit, skill, pattern, or behavior is so ingrained you don’t even have to think about it, you just act on it, it’s completely controlled by your sub-conscious.

Funny enough, you may even find yourself struggling to understand why other people don’t exercise more or eat better, it’s just ingrained in your natural behaviors.

At least though, the hardest part is over, now you can find something new to change.


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