It was the winter of 2001. Although going on a fat loss diet in the cold snowy Arctic tundra of Calgary Alberta, Canada, might fly in the face of all bodybuilding logic, I was convinced that the "Atkins New Diet Revolution" was a magic bullet. It was going to melt the fat gaisn accumulated by years of sitting around playing video games while shoveling mass amounts of Burger King down my throat.
It was December. I decided that I would get a jump start on the New Year's Resolution crowd because I told myself, after all, I am different.
The Atkins Diet did not work out the way I had envisioned. Mentally I was still the same person. I lost a quick twenty-five pounds of bodyweight, but discovered "Halo" on the original XBox and remembered that Doritos are delicious.
I was quickly back to where I had started.
Losing weight was easy until I found Halo on the Xbox, and discovered just how good Doritos actually were.
The Problem With the Psyche and the Power of HabitHuman beings embark on various projects throughout their lives, but the mind is a wonderful ally and terrible foe wrapped into one remarkable package. Something had failed me in the initial attempt to remain healthy and become fit.
Looking at my weight loss example, I managed to fail in several important areas. Not only did I create an exit strategy to get off the ketogenic diet and into better eating habits to prevent the weight gain from returning, I had (perhaps more importantly) failed to create real reasons for which I needed to create a lasting change in my overall lifestyle.
Add to the above-mentioned the power of habit on the actions of people in general. The brain is wired in complex and redundant ways to fall back on loops of feedback. These feedback loops form habits which become ingrained and part of a person. Although they can be broken (ever hear of a 21 day rehab program?) they are an added dynamic that needs to be kept in mind when creating lasting changes.
In failing to create the reasons to change, I allowed the bad habits of the past to sneak back into my daily routine, the weight returned and so did a sense of physical and mental disappointment.
The Problem With a Late Start to a Fitness LifestyleAdding to the above issues (lack of reasons, a proper exit strategy to resume non-fat loss eating and poor habit) is the late start that I had when I began. In 2002, I turned twenty-one years old.
After failing the diet in 2002, jaded and frustrated, I blamed my genetics and decided fat was my destiny and at the very least I could still watch my overall food intake.
The next time I would attempt a diet would be a decade later, and it turned out it would be for the right reasons. This time my life may depend on it.
Creating Leverage and a Lasting ChangeIt was the winter of 2000, and unlike a decade before I had changed scenery, changing the rocky Mountain view of Alberta Canada for the desert landscape of Las Vegas.
I was married, working full time and still sedentary. My eating habits were poor and I was overweight.
It had been over a decade since I last attempted any weight loss and little had changed. In my mind's eye, I still had poor genetics and would be overweight for the rest of my life.
However, one day - Christmas day, everything changed.
Christmas day of 2011, I felt it. It was small and about the size of a pea. Maybe half a pea really and would move when I touched it. There was no pain and it was sort of hard. I had discovered that I had a very small lump on my neck and this scared me.
I spent the next five days online, in a hypochondriac haze. I was trying to see what was wrong. Without any medical insurance and trapped with a low income, my wife and I were left in the dark.
It was then that I made a change. This health scare was the leverage I needed to immediately change my lifestyle. I learned as much as I could about living a healthy lifestyle.
My logic was that if I lost the weight (now a staggering 50 lbs) I would eventually see a doctor. Getting healthy was my best bet at staying alive, that is, if anything was seriously wrong with me.
Creating Leverage Will Change Your LifeI tell you the above tale because leverage is the most important key to starting any fat loss diet or bodybuilding program.
Leverage is simply a set of powerful beliefs and reasons that you focus upon; beliefs that fill your mind with reasons to work towards a goal and ignore the distractions and bad habits that used to consume and occupy your mind.
Leverage is without a doubt the difference between success and failure in fitness, bodybuilding and many other areas of life and lifestyle change.
A good plan of attack involves covering all your bases. The Drop 6 Stack, pictured above, helps to back up a quality weight loss plan.
How to Create Your Own LeverageAuthor Anthony Robbins has a technique he calls "The Dickens Pattern." Although we need not replicate the pattern, we can take one important aspect from it.
You can create leverage (or simply reasons to change that you cannot ignore) by writing down why you need to start a journey to change your lifestyle.
If you are very overweight, write down reasons why you must absolutely lose fat. If you are very small with a lack of muscle, but wish to play football or another strength and sized-based sport, then list the reasons you want this goal. You must absolutely plan and stick to a bodybuilding strength and size program.
Be honest with yourself and explore the negative outcomes of not achieving your goals. These negative outcomes will happen regardless of if you write them down, so be sure to list them. Understanding the possible negatives will help you to avoid them.
Will your current lifestyle lead to an early grave? Will it cost you financially because of medical bills? Create painful and honest consequences.
Also write the reasons you will feel great after you have achieved these goals. Your reward for weight loss may be a longer life and seeing your newborn through college. Perhaps a weight gain of 40 lbs will help you get closer to playing a college sport and maybe even getting a paid education along the way.
Be honest with yourself and do not stop writing until you are literally spent on ideas.
When you finish, congratulate yourself. In only a single day you just took a larger step towards a goal than most people take in a lifetime.
Change Happens When You Practice ChangingWith this new-found understanding of leverage and a strong will, your habits will change over time, and so will you as a person.
Work at change. Pick a goal. Create leverage.
These methods worked for me, and they will work for you. They helped me to stay fit and lean during the course of the last 4 years.
Keep the faith and create lasting change. Now go have an amazing day.