Three Ways to Lose Weight and Still Have a Life

You are not supposed to lose weight

You want to be healthy. God knows you do.

You tried every single diet, counted every gram, point and calorie

Tested every fruit cleanse.

And yet here you are. Still in the same rut.

It’s not like your diet is horrible. .

You just like the occasional takeaway.

Or like having a drink after a long days work.
As the years go by though, every blip in the diet seems to show up on the scales.

You get to the point where it would be better to just stop caring.

But It is not all your fault.

It’s easy to blame a lack of willpower or determination for your diet shortcomings.

If you just weren’t so lazy or had the time, then you could get fit.

In actuality you are not supposed to lose weight. The system is rigged from the start. Here’s why

Reason 1 - Delicious Food

In the past our hunter gatherer brains had two objectives. Get food and procreate.

Your brain literally rewards you every time you give it something it desires.

Businesses know this. Foods are being engineered with ingredients brains can’t resist.

So you have a brain hardwired to seek out ingredients like salt and sugar given an endless supply.

It’s a bit like an alcoholic trying to give up alcohol by going into a pub everyday.

Reason 2 - Convenience

Not only have companies made high calorie foods. But they’ve also made these available at the touch of a button.

You can have 2000 calories of fast food within 30 seconds at a drive thru.

You can even pay by your phone to avoid interaction with the delivery services.

This is like the alcoholic just clicking their fingers and having a drink arrive for them.

Reason 3 - Modern Life.

That’s just the actual food.

People are stretched further than ever before for their time and energy.

Ask anyone how they are and they will say “busy”.

Longer hours, dual working families. Any free time filled with the children’s activities.

You’re left stressed and exhausted at the end of a day.

On top of managing all of this, you are expected to just say no to all the food surrounding you.

Reason 4 - Social Pressure

Every body is on the same boat. And with everybody, stretched, stressed and exhausted.

What is it they turn towards?

All of the vices of course.

But if everybody is stressed and wants to unwind after work with a few drinks.

Or if everybody over eats when out at restaurants.

Or if everybody is too busy to track how many calories they eat.

Well then you end up with a current situation.

40% of the population overweight.

Being Overweight is Normal But not Okay

It’s perfectly normal to not be healthy. Acceptable to let your health slide.

But life isn’t going to get any easier anytime soon.

Food is only going  to become even more convenient.

People are still going to drink and eat too much.

Work and stress are only going to get worse.

So when you think it is too hard to get fit. You must think to yourself.
“What’s the alternative to this hard life?.”

The alternative to the hard life is a future life of poor health. All of those diseases. The heart disease, the cancers.

Three Ways to Lose weight and Still have a life

Does that mean unless you eat kale salads for the rest of your life, you are doomed in your weight loss?

Absolutely NOT!

You can come out the other side.

Here’s three ways you can lose weight, be fit, healthy and still have a life.

1) Know what is most Important to you

Have you ever sat down to ask yourself the things that you find most important?

Life gets so busy you never get a chance to even contemplate this question.

Usually the instant reaction to a question like this is the obvious answers.

You might say the children or supporting your family.

Or you might even say your health if you are reading an article like this.

Once you ask yourself what is most important, the next thing you should ask is whether your behaviour supports your original answer.

When you say that being there for the children is most important.

Yet you drink most nights and eat garbage on the weekends.

Does that really fit the narrative of you supporting the values most precious to you?

Your kids and your health might be important.

But the feeling of relaxation after work. Drinking the bottle of wine and having the take away. That becomes the most important thing at that time.

You need to be aware of the most important things in your life and use those as a gauge when making food decisions.

2) Build Your New Environment.

Changing yourself is incredibly hard. You have a long history with food and exercise that makes developing the willpower and fortitude very difficult

But changing the environment around you can have a profound effect on your behaviour.

The greatest thing you can do is make the healthy things as easy as possible to achieve and make the less than ideal things as hard as possible.

The idea is to build your environment as an alcoholic would avoid the pub.

Instead of buying all of the treats in the house, remove them and avoid buying them.

Park the car away from the office to force you to walk.

3) Get Support

No matter how many blogs, how many diet books you read or diet clubs you join.

Without support you will not last.

That support can come in the paid form, hiring a nutrition coach or doing some online coaching.

Or it can also come from the people you spend the most time with.

Your spouse or your closest friends.

With all the temptation to go off the healthy food path, the more support you can gather the better.

Ever notice how much more effective your diet is when your spouse is on board

Or how much motivation a personal trainer can provide.

The support around you can give you more drive you could ever have for yourself.

It won’t be easy but you can do it

It’s hard. Probably the most difficult thing you can ever do.

Changing the natural tendency of humans to be lazy and eat as much as possible.

It can feel like you are swimming against the tide when it comes to weight loss.

But you stand a chance at losing weight and having a life if you

  1. Change the environment around you

  2. Know what is most important to you

  3. Get the support around you.

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Is Bread Making You Fat?

Diet Beliefs

You have beliefs around losing weight

The more you see some success in this method, the more you trust your initial belief.

If you see on your phone that the secret to the person's weight loss has been cutting out bread.

and then you try cut out bread for a couple of weeks and lost some weight.

This will become your guiding belief about weight loss.

I’ll hear clients tell me that carbs are the reason that they can’t lose weight.

Eat slabs of butter and oils in their coffee and they’ll lose weight but God forbid you give them a slice of bread.‘

Once you chose that bread and carbs are the reason for weight gain and weight loss, your brain will search out the best ways to cut out carbs.

How to know if bread is making you fat

But before you go blaming the slice of bread you had with your breakfast for all your ill health.

Look at what actually goes into your body.

Here’s an exercise. Take out a pen and paper.

Now go through your day and tell me.

How big is your bowl of cereal in the morning?

How big are your portion sizes. Do you even know what correct portion sizes are?

How many lattes are you having in the morning?

How much oil are you putting into your meals?

What about butter on your bread, or in your healthy scrambled eggs?

Are you eating the entire bag of those healthy nuts?

And what about those couple of glasses of wine each night?

Or the chocolate bars you eat?

Or the biscuits and treats brought into the office every day?

Or the sugar you have in your tea?

Or what about all the packet of crisps you eat with the cheese and wine?

Or those packets of crisps you eat watching the football?

You can think all you like that bread and carbs are making you fat but when your food is out on paper, the facts will present themselves.

You Don’ know what you Don’t know

Simply writing down what you eat is one of the most powerful ways to gain insight to your behaviour.

The diary shines a light on our dark diets.

Tracking uncovers whether it truly is the bread that is making you fat.

The most likely culprit is your lack of knowledge to how many calories you report vs how many you actually eat.

You might have roast potatoes and chicken for dinner.

This is fine but means nothing.

Were the potatoes slathered in butter?

What oil did you use?

How big were the potatoes?

How much meat did you have in the meal.

What about the gravy?

These details can take the meal from 500 calories to 1500 calories.

So the details matter.

If you have a sandwich, is it really the bread?

Or is it the fact you slathered it with mayonnaise?

The slices of bread amount to 160 calories whereas the mayo can give you over 300 calories alone.

So is it Bread?

It might well be that the carbs you eat are the reason for all of your weight.

But you need to question that belief.

Your food beliefs don’t need to be like your religion. You can change them at any moment.

So look at what you are actually eating.

Is it really the bread.

Or is it all the other garbage that goes along with the rest of your day when you aren’t on your diet.

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How One Decision Can Fix Your Diet

The Weekend Warrior

My client Jack had been around the block before.

Atkins diet? Still constipated from it.

Weight watchers? Still watching his weight go up.

Slimming world? He’s the only one in the world not slimming down.

Jack knew the issue. After a long week the weekend turned into a free for all.

Alcohol, Takeaways, the weekend fry.

He knew in his heart this was the reason for not dropping weight.

Yet every Monday Jack would come into our sessions confessing his sins.

Hoping I would give him some prayers as a punishment.

We had to get to the bottom of this.

The Movie of Your Life

Imagine for a moment your life as a movie.

In this movie, you are the main character.

The environment and the world you inhabit is your stage.
In the movie of our lives we presume we are also the director.

Like Steven Spielberg. The person who calls the shots.

Yet if we were really the director, why does someone like Jack still struggle so much with weight loss.

If we really had such control would there be any need for personal trainers?

The reality, control of our behaviour can seem fleeting. Sometimes we can show iron will, not bending to any impulse thrown at us.

At other times, somebody only needs to mention a vice for us to cave in to cravings.

For most people it can feel less like Steven Spielberg and more like a spectator, observing without any power.

Your Weekly Movie

Let’s take a look at Jack’s weekly movie.

Like most jobs, the good comes with the bad.

Some days can whizz along. While others, the stress of the meetings and deadlines can feel like too much.

The whole week can feel like one giant blob of a day.

When Friday rolls around it can feel irresistible to reward for the long week.

Jack may know he needs to monitor his weekly foods and stick with his planned meals.

But Friday he thinks-  “Screw it, I deserve this. What’s the point in all this dieting if I can’t enjoy myself. I need to live a little.”

He feels compelled to have a couple of glasses of wine.

Or maybe a Chinese?

Or maybe both?

And that’s fine.

Watch and Repeat

But then he wakes up later, groggy and hungry.

And after a couple of drinks, the last thing on the menu is low fat salad.

Because he slept in, he can’t sleep that night.

Because he can’t sleep, he wakes up tired.

Monday comes and Jack is exhausted starting his week on the wrong foot.

He pushes on because it’s his job.

Friday rolls around and all that stress is relieved.

Jack is exhausted

He feels like he needs a reward.

He can think of a lovely bottle of wine he might open………..

Look back to move forward.

He who does not learn from history, is doomed to repeat it.” -George Santyana

The truth is we when it comes to our behaviour we have a lot less control than we think.

Old habits, social influences, stress, the media we watch. All of these inputs affect our thoughts and our immediate behaviours.

If like most people we let them affect us, our days and weeks are left on autopilot.

Have you ever come to a later month in the year only to say to yourself “where did that year go?”

And to make things worse, feeling like you haven’t accomplished anything.

The Butterfly effect

The butterfly effect is the theory that small seemingly insignificant actions can have dramatic outcomes later.

A butterfly thousands of miles away flapping its wings can cause a minute change in the atmosphere, setting a chain of reactions resulting in a large tornado.

In Jack’s weekly movie, Friday destroys his diet.

But if we look in the past, can we find a butterfly that flapped its wings that lead to the destruction?

When you succumb to cravings, it can be worthwhile to not only look at the behaviour itself.

But also the lead up to the eventual behaviour

For Jack it was the not the end which caused him to get a chinese and wine

But rather his start.  

The stress of work acted like a trigger. Survival is the name of the game Monday to Friday.

The same plot recurring over and over.

Ingrained to have a drink at the weekend, it became the path of least resistance.

This lead to oversleeping, further disrupting Jack’s mood and willpower.

Then he couldn’t sleep, Making him more prone to stress and cravings.

The job becomes more stressful than it should making, the Friday escape seem more appealing than ever.

His brain has the connection of drinking on a Friday, making the cravings even more powerful causing a destructive cycle.

Have A Plot Twist

The very thing Jack vows against every weekend comes back to haunt him.

It all started with his one decision to drink and stay up late.

But like any good movie.

Imagine Jack made a plot twist.

On a Friday, he makes the hero’s decision. He says no, I don’t need the wine.

Instead he goes on a 20 minute walk.

All of a sudden he doesn’t collapse on the couch.

With a little more energy from the fresh air he decides to help his wife cook instead of a takeaway.

Exhausted from the activity, he skips the late tv for a good night sleep.

After a great rest, he’s full of energy so decides to go the gym.

Feeling great about his accomplishments, Jack doesn’t want to waste his calories on junk.

He eats healthier and gets another early night.

Jack is now refreshed come Monday. He even opens those emails before work he delayed on Friday……...

One Decision Big Implications

That one decision Jack made.

The decision to walk on a Friday evening, sent his movie in a completely different direction.

Imagine Jack skipped the alcohol and wine every weekend and instead walked and went to the gym while controlling his food intake.

Sometimes one decision makes all the difference.

Instead of being the powerless spectator of your movie, you become the director of your life.

They say don’t sweat the small stuff.

But the small stuff done repeatedly makes the big stuff.

So choose wisely.

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One habit successful weight loss stories share

Stop the Constant Stop Start

Here’s a good one. My client Daniel worked from home.

He could work in the comfort of his own boxers. As long as those conference calls were waist up then he was fine.

He could train at different times throughout the day.

In theory this was great. Daniel supposedly had control of his schedule to train when he liked.

However the reality turned out to be a disaster.

Whether there was a chore to catch up in the house, a meeting that was scheduled last minute, or whatever else Daniel was feeling each day.

Every day he had a new excuse.

I pondered trying to find a solution whether making the sessions shorter or giving home workouts to complete.

Nothing seemed to work. There was always something to disrupt Daniel’s routine.

It wasn’t until one of my other clients weighed in at an all time low that the penny dropped.

On one end there are clients like Daniel. Where it seems to be a constant stop start.

Certain parts of the would see great progress only for something to stop it all over again.

One habit successful weight loss stories share

But my successful clients have one thing in common. Whereas Daniel struggled to find routine.

Successful clients had immovable set times everyday.

It didn’t matter whether there was snow or beautiful weather

Whether they were carrying a niggle or had a full blown flu.

These successful clients turned up each and every scheduled session.

4 Reasons Exercising at the same time is so Powerful

Here are five reasons you should carry out your habit at the same time every day.

1) You use less Willpower

There are millions of triggers in the environment that activate cravings. Ever notice every time you’re bored, you find yourself on social media?

By training at the same time every day, your brain begins to make the connection between the two.

Overtime you need less and less willpower to exercise.

The behaviour becomes more automatic

With less willpower needed for exercise, you can work on other projects that you want to achieve

2) Reduces Overload

In today’s modern world, to-do lists are becoming so long they could take a full month to complete.

When you have so much to complete but don’t know where to start, the brain becomes overwhelmed.

It’s very easy for exercising to be piled into the rest of the to-do list. Something really important such as looking after your health falls down the pecking order.

When you set the same time each day, you narrow it down to one decision. “Should I train right now”.

This is a lot easier than trying to decide between 20 things on a list, or 1000’s of ideas in your brain.

3) Builds Discipline

For any goal, consistency is the keyl. If you can turn up every day and follow the plan, you have a great chance of reaching any objective.

There will still be days where the last thing you want to do is go to the gym or get up early. However, setting your habit for the same time every day gives you a chance to build discipline every day.

It’s a bit like work. Some days you won’t mind getting into the office. While others you wish you could fall down the stairs and sprain your ankle so you get to skip it. But the majority of the days you still turn up.

4) You build other habits simultaneously

Nothing happens in isolation. Usually when you change one thing in a system, there are knock on effects elsewhere.

If you have a car and one part of the engine isn’t working. That very well might disrupt the rest of the car.

Your day can be the same. If you wake up late in the morning, you become stressed, Because you’re stressed you forget your lunch. Healthy food is the last thing you want at that moment.

To unwind that stress, you decide to have a couple of drinks after work.

The one act of waking up late has a catastrophic effect on the rest of the day.

The exact opposite though, can be true with good habits.

When you set a specific immovable time for your habit, other events must change in order to maintain consistency.

If you decide that you want to go to the gym at 7 am every morning, you’ll need to get up an hour earlier than usual

You’ll also need to have breakfast earlier which may require preparation.

Getting up earlier also requires sleeping earlier..

Adding the training habit requires positive changes all throughout your day.

Be Successful- Be strict with setting your training time

Daniel has now began to cancel less and less. It now takes something very serious for us to cancel.

Developing good habits is a lifelong challenge and one that requires daily struggle. Setting a specific time every day gives yourself a chance.

By setting it at the same time every day you

  1. Use less willpower

  2. Reduce overload

  3. Build discipline

  4. Build other habits simultaneously.

So the next time you decide to build good habit look at setting it to specific time.

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Thanks for reading. If you enjoy reading about improving your health and habits, please make sure to subscribe to my newsletter by entering your email in the red box below. That way we can stay in touch and you’ll never miss a blog post.