Physical change is hard, but not being happy with the body we live in can be much, much harder.
'Marketing' is not interested in your success, its interested in the contents of your wallet - which is why the most popular form of 'selling' physical change is always going to be creating the illusion of a system or method that sounds easy.
"Eat more food than ever, train less - and lose body fat" is an incredibly appealing thought...until the wheels come off. Starting the process of physical change with the idea that it will be plain sailing provides only one cast iron guarantee - that you have set yourself up for failure.
Anybody who has been with Team Body Project for any period of time knows that myself and Alexandra care deeply about the results of our members. Therefore, telling you 'what you want to hear' is never going to cut it for us. If you want success - the body you want and the results your hard work deserves - you're better off knowing exactly what it takes!
Here are some hard truths!
1. You're going to be a little bit hungry sometimes (if you want to lose weight)
Not for very long and not to any great extent...but to lose weight/fat you aren't going to be able to eat to your hearts (or stomachs) content all of the time.
Weight loss requires a calorie deficit. That means eating less food than your body NEEDS so it has to release energy from within fat cells for energy. If you body always has enough energy to help you breath, function, repair, heal and conduct every other process that makes up your metabolism - it won't break down your fat cells and release the energy within!
Before your body undertakes the arduous task of freeing up stored fat for energy, it's likely to send you hunger and craving signals, causing you to head in a mad scramble for the cookie jar. If you give in to every craving and hunger message immediately, your body just won't switch to fat burning mode!
You gain fat when you eat an excess - an amount beyond what your body requires. What goes up must come down. You can't lose weight eating a calorie balance - a balance keeps your weight the same! Balance is the most wonderful, but overused, word in the healthy dictionary - losing weight is about rebalance!
2. Much of the time, you ain't gonna want to do it!
OK. We think Body Project workouts are great. We put our heart and soul into them so that you feel as encouraged to take part as possible. Therefore, these next sentences are very painful for me to say:
- Much of the time, you aren't going to want to work out.
- Some days, you won't enjoy your workout at all!
- Some days, you will positively hate working out.
- Some days, you won't even feel that good after the workout!
Of course much of the time, you will feel good. You'll enjoy working out and seeing progress - but it's just that it isn't all of the time. Motivation waxes on and off more than Daniel son during chore day at Mr Myagis crib! Provided you understand that discipline to get it done is more important than feeling motivated, you're 99% of the way there.
3. Results are not linear
One week, you do everything right - eat healthy, eat fewer calories, workout hard 6 days....and the scales don't budge. The next week you miss two workouts, overeat, and the scale goes down by 2 lb. Never has false 'cause and effect' had more magnetic appeal!
This represents the perfect opportunity for the optimistic amongst us to draw fantastical conclusions.
"My body holds on to weight if I eat healthy and exercise too much." We proudly declare - confident we've broken every law in the known universe because the family sized packet of potato chips we consumed sans family didn't stick to our bottom.
Of course, in a moment of clarity we can realise the human body is not a machine, it is a dynamic organism and we cannot expect our efforts to always be exactly equal to our outcome. Our body behaves in unpredictable manners in the short term - fortunately, in the long term it is entirely predictable. If you keep exercising, and eating a predominance of healthy foods (in a small calorie deficit) you will lose fat and body weight.
If you eat family sized packets of potato chips without sharing them (especially without sharing them with ME) you probably won't.
If you think you are creating a calorie deficit, but after three weeks the scales still aren't budging (and you want them to) - you aren't. You'll need to either:
a) Eat a little less
b) Move a little more (walking, workouts or even general fidgeting)
c) Go and see a doctor to have your metabolism checked if you're concerned!
4. It's a sacrifice
Elton John lied. It is a sacrifice.
Opportunity cost: The loss of other alternatives when one alternative is chosen.
Unless you have more time than Louis Armstrong, if you decide to spend time on your health and changing your body, other things will have to be put aside. Netflix, dinners, social events, time with friends and family - you can't spend time on your health and still have as much free time. Time - our most valuable commodity!
If you have not made exercise and health a stone cold, non negotiable priority in your life it WILL get pushed out by other things crying out for your TIME. Notice I didn't say might or could. If you don't make health a stone cold priority it WILL get pushed out by more urgent matters!
You can't have it all, all of the time. Want to live in a body you feel good in? Want to go on holiday and feel proud to sport your swimwear? Want to feel completely confident in intimate situations? Want to buy clothes that you love, not clothes that just fit? It's a wonderful place to be, but you have to pay a price - it's not free! Its a sacrifice...
5. You'll need to face your fear
Remember when Luke Skywalker had to enter that little cave in Yodas swamp world? He saw his own face in Darth Vaders mask in the weirdest scene in the movie...in order to become a Jedi he had to face his greatest fear.
In order for you to become a Health Jedi for life, you will need to face up to the greatest fear of the majority of yo-yo dieters - how to eat reasonable quantities of 'more-ish' foods.
Philosophers have always ignored this, the most difficult question of all. Socrates and Aristotle found great ease in contemplating the meaning of life and what happens after we die - but neither even attempted to ponder on the greatest question that mankind will ever confront...
"How does one eat JUST one cookie?"
But answer it you must. The greatest secret in health, is learning how to eat one cookie. Honestly, it is, i'm not even joking. Every person I have ever met that successfully keeps at a healthy weight and body fat for life can eat one cookie. And then stop. I know, it's crazy isn't it!
One cookie is tasty, satisfying and makes your heart smile. Five cookies make your heart sad and your fat cells extrapolate. If we can agree that you are not one of the 0.0001% of people that can spend the rest of their lives eating only kale and tofu prepared in the mountains of Nepal - you're going to have to learn to have unhealthy foods you love in small quantities.
How do you do it? By doing it. Do it now! It may sound ridiculous, but the longer you avoid 'treats' altogether, the greater your chance of eating 50 cookies as soon as one passes your mouth. Face your fear or your fear will face you when you're not ready...and the yo-yo championships of 2018 will commence!
6. It's worth it. It's SO worth it!
Getting healthy is hard work. It requires discipline, sacrifice and perseverance, but its a small price to pay. Never, ever have I met a single person who does not think that putting work into their health is the best decision they ever made.
Getting healthy and happy with your body is not just worth it. It is the most worthwhile thing you will ever do!