Losing weight, burning fat. These are tough things to talk about. It’s the elephant inside the room at most parties. There are many ways to do it. But the success of any venture whether getting healthier or starting a business or getting your family to go on vacation, all comes down to what you believe.
A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.
Simon Sinek wrote a book a few years ago and his TED talk based on the message of the book is one of the top ten most viewed TED talks. Here it is: https://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action
The talk is really called “Start with Why…” If you figure out the why, the how is no longer a mystery. Solutions show up. In other words, motivation is really the key requirement needed to make any change, start any plan, launch a business enterprise, lose weight and fix things that are broken.
What are the two key motivators in life? Two words that begin with the letter ‘P’
Pain and Pleasure.
No use arguing with this fact. If you look honestly at all the major decisions in life, they are prompted, promoted and acted upon because of one of these two P’s.
With that said, here’s the situation I found myself in at the beginning of July. I weighed in between 183 and 188 depending on the time of day and what I had eaten for lunch. My habit, when I care about such things, is to take my morning weight and then when I go to the gym for my daily swim, I weigh in again. Sometimes it’s 5 in the evening before dinner or 8pm after dinner, so body weight can vary. If you are intent on tracking change here’s a recommendation:
Fitness Scale Amazon $18.96 with accompanying Bluetooth app. Here’s about a hundred of them to choose from: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=fitness+weight+scale&ref=nb_sb_noss_1
If you can weigh yourself at the same time each day it works best for tracking. For example in the hospital when they are tracking weight, weigh in time is upon awakening after the first pee. This is the lowest weight you will have during the day generally speaking.
My motivation and pain to make a change in my behavior started with reading the Longevity Paradox by Stephen Gundry, MD. As a health coach I agreed in theory with about 95% of what he was reporting on from his observations in running a wellness clinic for 20 years. He did quarterly blood testing on his weight loss patients to see what effect the dietary and nutritional changes he was inciting in his patients. Dr. Gundry had formerly been a cardiothoracic surgeon in Loma Linda California. To his credit, he invented certain instruments that are vital and helpful to heart transplant operations and he had done several pediatric heart transplants. With those accomplishments and credentials I tended to believe him when he move from surgery to wellness.
In the book, there was a very scary sentence that stood out, zinged me and more or less wounded my confidence in my abilities as a health coach. I was overweight. My triglycerides had climbed again and my HDL was very low. In fact, I also had a condition that was noticed on a specialized blood test called the VAP. My LDL was small and dense which means they can easily embed themselves into the lining of the arteries. This causes atherosclerosis plaque build up which then can lead to heart disease manifested by stroke or heart attack. Besides this, I had turned 65 last December, had signed up for Medicare and was beginning to feel kind of “old.”
I was sharing this with one of my accountability buddies and his response was, “Sounds like you need to eat less and exercise more.” Wow. That was the wake up call I needed and wanted. Pretty clear right?
So there was some esoteric pain for me.
I got up from that phone call and swung my 25lb kettlebell for 10 minutes without a break which I had been neglecting to do and yet it was a commitment I made to do daily.
Before I get into the philosophy and practicality of eating less, let me share some more pain.
Pain is really the greatest motivator. Pleasure we’d like to think as primary, but it’s just not as nearly as effective.
In July and August I had near back to back flare ups of gout. This is painful condition that usually is due to high uric acid levels in the blood. Now that is the pain I am really talking about. After reading literally hundreds of articles and visiting with a Naturopath and my medical doctor, the link between me and gout is still a mystery. But it was the pain my body orchestrated to seal in the desire to make the changes I needed to make.
I was offered by the Naturopath to have 4 deep dive sessions extra blood work and a plan to fix whatever was happening to me and it would only cost $3000 plus the extra blood work. More pain.
My internist offered a prescription drug that was meant to lower blood level uric acid but the one side effect I could not countenance is that it might cause more gout flareups, but never fear, we can give you a new Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory. Great, but no thanks. The pain is now coming from every direction.
I decided to return to the School of Applied Functional Medicine to learn more about the interconnectedness of things and to get to the bottom of this mystery. For a semester of courses and studying 10 hours a week for 7 months, the tuition was just a little cheaper than paying the Naturopath. That seems a little less painful.
In the meantime, here’s what happened: I had a deep heart to heart talk with my subconscious and I decided to put my very powerful subconscious mind to work on this problem. I am not bragging because you too have a very powerful subconscious mind that is right now making a million decisions per second handling multiple data streams that emanate from the body. Trillions of cells working in close proximity and harmony (most of the time.) That is the power that we all have if we are willing to accept it. We are capable. I am capable of change. You are capable.
It’s a very simple process: Before falling asleep I fed my mind a number. The number of pounds that I wanted to weigh. When I was in my 180s, the number was 179. I realized that I don’t have to consciously figure out how to diet or what kind of lifestyle changes I needed to make. I just put the subconscious mind in charge. Here’s what happened.
It took a week to get to 179. Following the basic premise of “eating less” (don’t worry know ever starves on this advice.) Once achieving this goal, I lowered the number to 174. Those last five minutes before falling asleep and the first few minutes upon awakening, I repeat the number over and over again with the intention of that is my weight goal.
What manifested was amazing. Remember my buddy said “Eat less, exercise more.” Well, it was another mantra. I had read a lot about autophagy and had tried intermittent fasting. It hadn’t worked for me. I think it was because I was still eating too much after fasting. Anyway, the key is to eat less because it’s a lot easier to not consume extra calories than it is to burn extra calories through extra hours at the gym. Believe me it’s true. Upon reflection, while eating less, I upgraded what I was eating. High quality ingredients.
Psychologically, there is a cool little hack that costs nothing. You have the supreme power within you to assign meaning to things. When I start to feel hungry, what do I normally do, “oh, let’s go get a snack.” But what if I changed the meaning of what it means to be hungry?
What if instead it means, I am disciplined? I am powerful? I am a lean and mean powerful machine? Could I extend my “fast” a little longer and wait until 12.30 to break my fast?
That’s what happened. Instead of running for a snack I went for goose wine, yes, water with vitamin C or lime juice. Powerful.
Here’s another hack that I noticed: Always have something pleasant to look forward to. Like breaking my fast with a lunch of Lamb Vindaloo from Trader Joe’s. Or a very healthy almond milk with Keto Protein Smoothie with cherries or mixed berries blended with some ice cubes for a spectacular filling meal. By finding out what your basal metabolic rate you can work with highly tasty delicious low calorie meals. Intersperse the meals with snacks of raw nuts or a piece of fruit. I personally used to enjoy a small bowl or actually a tiny cup of Talenti ice cream (coffee with chocolate chip) as an after-dinner snack but have since switched to a Gala apple. Having committed to NO ice cream, it’s amazing how sweet a Gala apple really is!
Here’s how to eat an apple and make it seem as sweet as ice cream. I slice the apple into quarters and eat it very slowly, savoring every delicious bite. By eating slow and mindfully, the pleasure factor is increased tenfold. It’s easy to realize there are many types of sweetness that we become unaware of due to over consumption of highly processed super-sugary sweets.
Lastly, gamify. Make a game out of the weight loss. This is where the Fitness scale comes into play. You get to see your numbers ever day or however often you decide to weigh yourself. Some like to weigh in once a week. Personally, I enjoy the game daily. The app will chart the trends. Yes, some days, I’ll be up a pound here in there but the awesome thing is, I don’t care any more. Once you’ve proven that it can be done, then you know it can be done.
Today, I am 166.4 lbs. The number I am programming in is 164. On my way.
How you decide to lose weight will come to you. There are as many different diets as there are books on Amazon. So don’t worry about the how. Soon I will have a 10 class series that can take you through the methods of weight / fat loss. There are certain keys that unlock body chemistry, which we will get into at a later date. I hope this helps.