Posted by Dayne Hudson in Motivation
Estimated reading time: 7mins
I have a dear friend that for years has told me about his desire to lose weight.
Since around 2018 I've written him diet plans, written training plans, and spent hours on the phone with him detailing the science of nutrition that I share with you here on this blog.
And year after year, the excuse is different, but the result is the same: he hasn't taken the plunge.
On one comical occasion, less than 24 hours after crafting him the diet plan that would surely end all excess fat tissue, he (and his entire family tree!) had gathered, I spotted him diving into one of the biggest calorie dense meals in town at a Belgian beer hall.
"I'm having my cheat meal now because it's "x"'s birthday," he declared, wiping his face.
Now there's nothing wrong with the "cheat" meal; we've detailed that science together here many times. And there is nothing wrong with any food in the right context and dosage.
But what is wrong (and WAS wrong) was his mindset.
And like any self-respecting professional, I took the blame.
"What did I do wrong? Is everyone making these mistakes? He knows the amount of macronutrients he needs to eat daily, he knows how to achieve that, what's happening?"
Year after year, I sent him a new plan, and nothing changed.
Until it finally did.
And it's how it did that's the most important thing, and something we all need to consider.
I've been training in gyms for years, and tend to see only these sorts of members:
- The "new year, new me" members (they drop off after February or March because life just gets "too busy").
- The "going through the motions members" (there's no real commitment to their training, they just do it because they feel they have to, or it's a social thing with a group of friends in the middle of the weights room).
- The "my partner bought me PT sessions for Christmas" (as soon as their session pack is over, you won't see them back again).
- The "ol timers" (they turn up week in week out no matter what. Train hard, look great. Aged anywhere from 18-75).
And it's these "ol timers" that we admire the most. They're the ones most of us strive to be.
They don't make excuses.
Covid hits? They're doing chin ups in the trees. Death in the family? There's still time to train. Major life event? We'll get to it after the gym.
They know that weight loss, muscle growth, and all-round gym success takes dedication. And your body doesn't care what happens around it. It just cares about consistency.
There was once a young man that was pretty serious about his weight lifting in the USA. People would look at his physique and say: "we never want to look like you," to which he would reply: "Don't worry, you never will."
That man's name was Arnold Schwarzenegger, who you know, went on to become one of the best bodybuilders of all time.
Arnold knew what was required to achieve the physique he had: the hours of training, and the meticulous consistency that most people don't have.
The point is that most people aren't prepared to turn up day in and day out, even though they know they have to.
And it's why they don't that ultimately gets in the way of their fat loss goals.
So back to my friend: it turns out that the reason he couldn't go to the gym and couldn't stick to a diet, was because he needed to go and drink alcohol and enjoy high-calorie foods as a way to escape the life he had.
Engineering a life where fat loss can occur comes down to asking yourself bigger questions about your life, and why you're doing what you're doing, that's standing in the way of your goal.
My friend hated his job in the corporate world and felt he was selling himself short, despite the large paycheck he received doing the job.
And he dealt with that by eating and drinking excessively, which doesn't help with fat loss. He liked the idea of what he'd look like having lost weight but wasn't prepared to give up his crutches.
That's why it's no surprise that research finds binge eating is often accompanied by feelings of loss of control and psychological distress, and alcohol consumption is often practiced to "escape problems."
So that's where the problem was. It meant that following a diet plan was impossible until he'd dealt with the true underlying issue.
Of course, there are many issues people face with not going to the gym: a perceived lack of knowledge, a feeling of imposter syndrome, or a deep fear they'll be laughed at. I've heard all of them, and they're very real.
But if we deal with these issues head-on, we end up getting on track towards the physique we want.
When my friend quit his job and pursued something he felt was more in line with his calling and not what was expected of him, his whole life took a turn.
He lost 15 kilos and took to powerlifting to stay active (which he'd dabbled in the past).
And how he looked blew me away. No matter how many times I see transformations, it's always like magic.
By asking himself the bigger question surrounding what was standing in his way, and doing something about it, he was able to make a life change.
It's the perfect example of how honest internal reflections done without judgement or fear can dramatically improve the quality of our lives.
And that's why we gently pose the question to you here: what honest questions (if any) do you need to ask yourself?
This story is to illustrate one thing: what's standing in the way of our weight loss goals might not be simply "no time" or "motivation." It's the ability to ask ourselves the deeper questions about our lives that mean we might need to make some serious and drastic changes: what is really stopping me from losing weight? Am I really living the life I wanted to, and pursuing the goals, career and interests I had in mind? Only when we do this and face ourselves honestly, can we get to the crux of the issue to achieve our health and fitness goals.