There’s so much damn garbage health and weight loss advice on the internet that it makes me slightly nauseous.
And unfortunately, most of the advice is the same. damn. old. boring. advice.
Eat less than you burn off.
Don’t eat carbs after six.
Make sure to start exercising 30 minutes a day.
Blah blah blah.
Same old crap that hasn’t helped any of us get to where we want to be.
But I know you want 2016 to be different – really different, not just a little different. So here are seven unconventional ways smart people will approach weight loss in 2016.
1. They Won’t Think That The Next Book, Guru or Cleanse Will Freaking Solve Everything
I really regret making this mistake.
During my own fitness research and the painful process of fixing my own digestive problems, I did this to myself over and over: I assumed that “this plan” would finally be “THE Plan” and I would never need “another plan” to help me get the results I wanted.
When I was experimenting with digestive recovery diets, for example, at first I thought it would be supplements: Fish oil, L-glutamine, vitamin c, vitamin d, and more. I saw a very minimal improvement. And then I tried probiotics – everyone said, “Alex, you need to try probiotics.”
So I tried them. Virtually no results. And then finally, it was diet after diet – paleo, SCD, gluten-free, and so on.
Every single one I was hoping would be my silver bullet to freedom, but as it turned out, none of them were – they all were.
In other words, I assumed that ONE piece would give me 99% of the relief and the results I was looking for. I was falling prey to silver bullet syndrome, like I talked about in my book Master The Day.
I thought it would look like this:
I thought that there would be the right thing, and once I found “the right thing” it would fill 99% of the puzzle, answer all my questions, and get me most of my results.
But in reality, it looked like this:
In reality, the 99% was actually made up of about nine different pieces, all the different plans, pills, diets I tried and books I had read.
It wasn’t made up of just one thing, but each piece gave me one important piece to the puzzle – and when I gradually got one piece from each source, I put them together for that 99% which made up my solution.
2. They won’t obsess over which diet they’re on.
We’ve gone through this diet treadmill a hundred times – decades go by, where fat is demonized, then it’s good again, then carbs are bad, and then they’re good, and finally protein is good – what will it be next?
Supplements are good, and then they’re bad.
Gurus come and go, as do their weight loss strategies, tips and tactics.
Who do we believe?
A year or two ago, I talked about the simple nutritional principles behind all successful weight loss “diets” – principles that involved read food, and yes, still eating protein, fats and carbs, without avoiding any of them.
A Yale-commissioned researcher was set to the task of analyzing a few of the major diets, and then seeing if there were any trends or correlations about which ones worked best.
Guess what he found?
The most successful diets weren’t low fat or low carb – but they were fat and carb selective – so rather than eating low or no fat, they ate the right fats.
And rather than eating low or no carb, they just ate the right carbs (whole vs refined).
3. They’ll Focus On Habits – Tiny Ones
How do you stay motivated?
How can I have more discipline and self control?
How do I stay consistent?
How do I get started or get back on track?
These are some of the most common questions I get asked… and yet none of them really matter if you focus on just cultivating tiny habits.
For example, if you find yourself having a hard time actually going to the gym, because you promised yourself you’d run 4x a week or lift weights 3x a week, stop doing it.
What’s funny about human nature is that most of us would rather think about being perfect 10/10 in how often we go to the gym or workout, rather than actually being imperfect and just freaking doing it.
Naturally, it’s easy to see myself mentally working out now, and feel good about it, rather than lacing up the shoes and going for that walk.
But what would happen if instead, your tiny habit was just to check a box for the day: walk.
Doesn’t matter if it’s a minute.
Doesn’t matter if it’s five minutes.
Doesn’t matter if it’s an hour.
And if you did any amount of walking, that would count. How do you think your chances of succeeding would change?
Here are some tiny habits to get you started:
- The Tiny Habit of Drinking More Water
- The World’s Easiest Guide to Developing The Habit of Stretching Every Day
- How to Psychologically Trick Yourself Into Meditating by Using The Linking Method
- The Hand Shake Technique: The 60 Second Habit to Turn Yourself Into an Exerciser for life
- The Bag Drop Method: How to Get Yourself to Walk 10 Minutes A Day
4. They’ll Figure Out Their Likes and Dislikes – And Base Their Habits On Them
I still don’t get why exercise and health gurus prescribe exercises that people hate, foods they want to spit out, and routines that make them want to die and never come back to the gym again. Let’s think for a moment here.
Chances of success if I do an exercise I hate the crap out of (like running)? Hopefully as close to 0% as possible.
Think about it, there’s the end goal (looking fit, feeling good about ourselves), and then there are the days we have to repeat over and over to get there.
So it looks like this:
Wednesday: hump day, still hate
… Repeat for 6 months. Am I there yet? Is this torture done with?
Now compare that to doing an exercise you actually like, or eating more of the food you already like, without having to try something different.
Monday – Friday: Okay, that was tolerable. I can do this.
Chances of success? You be the judge.
5. They’ll Take An Integrative Approach To Their Health
I’ve been saying it for years and will continue saying it for years – if you think losing weight and feeling awesome is as simple as eating less and moving more, you’re in for a rude awakening.
If you think that working a job you hate, being unhappy with your life, or not really enjoying things has no effect – good luck.
The reality is much different.
How happy you are affects your health and weight (and yes, your diet can help fight off depression and make you happier).
Pesticide and chemical consumption can affect hormone levels and affect your thyroid.
How stressed you are can decrease the functioning of your thyroid and affect metabolism and belly fat gain.
And this is just the beginning of the picture.
When you start introducing hating your job, being in a miserable marriage, having a crazy mind that’s talking to you, you really start to realize that quality of life (and health) is only loosely correlated to eating right and exercise.
Smart people in 2016 will realize that you can eat right and exercise and still feel like garbage on a daily basis.
6. They’ll Avoid Wedding Day Syndrome
Wedding Day Syndrome, as I call it, is this:
We assume weight loss is an event, rather than a process.
All over the world, people spend YEARS or DECADES preparing for the wedding day itself, which is overly romanticized in movies and in books – and not the marriage which lasts (ideally) decades. In other words, all the hard work is the marriage – not the wedding.
But we emphasize the wedding.
The same is true of weight loss – many of us have event-based thinking. We think about ‘that day’ where we look great in the mirror, we go to the beach and people admire us, or the week where we finally lose those 30 pounds for good.
… But nothing ever sticks around forever without work.
What happens once you reach that 30 pound goal? If you stop, it all comes back. And that’s because health and weight loss never end – they’re processes that are forever ongoing.
Once you fully understand that health is a process – not a one-time event – you are already ahead of 99% of people.
If we get too focused on the outcome, we do unsustainable things to get there – neglecting the process.
But if we focus on the process – the marriage process – we’re more likely to focus on making the process as enjoyable as possible, and using strategies to lose weight (or stay married) that we can do in the long run.
7. They’ll Treat it as a Never Ending Process of Fine Tuning
We talked about getting over “silver bullet” syndrome and thinking that “this next plan” is going to give us 99% of the puzzle.
Unfortunately, there’s another mindset that goes hand-in-hand: thinking that “once we get it taken care of,” that’ll be it, and it’ll be smooth sailing from then on.
In reality, weight loss never ends – there’s never a day when we can just go back to eating junk food and sitting on a couch for five hours and expect to stay fit and look good. It doesn’t happen.
In life, there are natural fluctuations and variations – we get fit after the holidays because we have a bit more time and we’ve gained some weight, and then in winter we sometimes gain weight, because it’s hard to stay motivated on the cold and dreary days.
And then in spring, we want to be outside in the beautiful sunshine playing outside, listening to the birds sing, hiking, and so on.
Variations and fluctuations are a natural part of the process, and keeping up with our progress is a never ending fine tuning process. If we think we just “get there” and we’re good, we’re going to be sorely disappointed.
In reality, it’s an up, down, up, down process – and our job is to make sure those lows and highs don’t become too extreme.
What Else Would You Add? Share Below
Any other things you’d add here?
Have you read my book yet?
Read more about this in my book Master The Day. You’ll learn the nine daily success habits I learned interviewing people that lost 100+ pounds and kept it off in a healthy way – by changing their habits. Plus, you’ll get a free $100 video course if you show me your receipt.
Images: Some images used with permission freedigitalphotos.net