Most Americans are overweight. According to studies, more than 2/3rds of Americans are at least overweight. I would venture to say that most of them, and possibly all of them, have spent at least a few hundred dollars either on healthy food, gym equipment,or diet pills of some kind.
This is a $35 billion dollar industry according to CBS News, and yet still 2/3rds of us struggle with our health. There has to be a reason most of them fail. The question is why?
I know this is earth shattering, but most people dislike being overweight. It kills their confidence, their success in life, overall happiness, and eventually their bodies.
If this is the case…why aren’t people running around like chickens with their heads cut off at what they see in the mirror?
Most diets work to some extent, but the challenge is that people are terrible at creating the discipline needed over a period of time to get results.
The directions in fitness programs tend to be so unique to the habits formed by people that they feel like they have to make these drastic changes and do all or nothing. They believe they are going to be the ones to overcome the hurdles that others won’t and that they will fight to get in shape where others fail. Some do…but most don’t.
Even when directions are clear and simple, it is still often not enough to get a person to commit long enough to get those ripped abs.
So no matter what diet you pick, there needs to be these four fail safe techniques or “kicks” to prevent you from falling back into being Plumpy McPlumperton.
I use the term kick in reference to the movie Inception. I am sure most of you have seen it and notice there weren’t a lot of fat people in the movie. Although this has absolutely nothing to do with kicks or these guidelines…I just thought I would mention it.
So in order for Leo and his band of spies to go deep into the nether regions of people’s minds they had to go into someone’s subconscious and extract the knowledge they were seeking. The only way to get into someone’s subconscious required them to go into a state of sleep.
Once there, they could go down further layers of dreams, deeper into the person’s subconscious, to the point where it would get so complicated that Leo and his companions could fall into a state of limbo or forever asleep. The only way for them to get out of each layer of dreams was for someone to stay behind at least one dream layer and provide a “kick”.
This kick will wake up the person from that dream and bring them one step closer to reality or actually awake. These kicks could be dropping someone in a tub of water, driving a small van off a bridge, dropping people in an elevator shaft, or playing loud music. It is simply something that will kick them out of the dream. Something that would shock them like pulling a chair out from underneath someone.
I know this is complicated if you haven’t seen the movie and probably a terribly complicated example. If so, stop reading right now and go rent Inception. It is worth it. I promise.
It will make this more understandable and help me create just a little more credibility with this analogy.
The limbo thing is kinda nasty sounding, being in a state of sleepy time forever, but that is very similar to what we do to our bodies when we get heavier. We send our muscles into a deep sleep covered by fat and make it harder and harder to get out. The only way to fight past the fat is to provide a jolt or shock ourselves into reality. No I am not talking about roids, an energy drink, or shock therapy.
There needs to be a rude awakening that reminds us of where we are at and how badly we want to get in shape. We have to say enough is enough. While there is a science to health, there is also an art. This is an emotional experience, and you have to provide emotional kicks to keep you in the game during those rough moments.
Face it. You will want sugar really badly at some point. You will be tempted with a lot of crappy food on a menu. You will have to take a trip or a terrible emergency could happen. I wish this all wasn’t true, but it is. It is life. You have to learn how to be agile and give yourself the kick needed to be successful where others fail.
Kick 1: Get visual
Time for Glamour Shots! This can seem really embarrassing or dumb, but that embarrassing feeling is exactly why you are doing it. Take pictures of you flexing from the front, side, and back. If you need to, go buy a camera with a timer.
Take these terrible pictures and post them up everywhere. Put them where you will see them often. Place them where you are at your weakest, your kitchen or wherever else you stock food. Also start a blog or a food diary. You are several times more likely to be successful if you use these resources. This is one of the best kept secrets why so many people do well with Body for Life: 12 Weeks to Mental and Physical Strength
Also take pictures of your food. This one I pulled from Tim Ferriss and his book, The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman. I never heard this before, but it makes sense. Usually eating doesn’t require a lot of mental work. We don’t truly contemplate what the food will do to us before it is too late. Then we seem to have a short term memory about it and go back to the fatness trough. Take pictures with a smart phone or something before you eat the food. Do this with every meal you eat for five days. Review the pictures after five days and take a look at all the crap you are throwing down your gullet. It will probably shock you.
Kick 2: Contend
Ok this whole fitness thing has to be fun. You have to laugh at yourself. You have to enjoy the journey.
Often it is more fun to do a fitness program in groups. Get other people involved to challenge yourself. I find it good to do it with people that are in better shape than me. It motivates me to raise the bar and get to their level. No matter who you work out with, just find warm bodies and get them involved in your fitness program with you.
Kick 3: Count
It is so interesting how people, me included, hate to keep records of performance. I think it is a combination of being lazy, which makes sense because we are fat to begin with, and fear of competition. Imagine you just ran the Boston Marathon and you got in first place. You could have actually beaten the world record in a marathon, but then at the end you found out that no one timed the race.
I don’t know about you, but I would be dropping f bombs and I try to avoid swearing. I would be livid! I would probably start slapping random people and foaming at the mouth! I would climb the Green Monster at Fenway naked to prove a point!
This is how you should get when you don’t keep track of your fitness results. (OK…no nudity and foaming) The best way to measure your progress is the bod pod or calipers. You can also measure using a measuring tape. Get the measurements of your flexed biceps, resting waist at the naval, hips at the widest point, thighs at their widest points, and big toe at it’s widest point.
You may ask, “Why the biggest toe?”. Because it will give you satisfaction no matter how heavy you are.
Kick 4: Baby Steps
Now take measurements at least weekly. Do this for at least five weeks and keep track of what you are eating and how much of it. Calories, fat, whatever you want to measure. I don’t care. Just keep measuring the same thing. Just like you should be using the same device to measure your weight progress.
As you notice your progress or lack of progress, find out in your mind what the biggest stop gap is. Change just that one thing. If that means including these tips for fitness or these tips for nutrition, then just change that one thing and see what impacts it makes over the course of a week or several weeks. Win that battle, develop a beachhead, burn the ships at the shore and move in to conquer the enemy or perish.
If any fitness program is worth their weight in gold, then they will provide outlets for you to accomplish these four kicks.
So I hope you can now see why Christopher Nolan, creator of Inception, is a true fitness guru. What do you do to motivate yourself? Share some advice for other readers. We all need to band together to “kick” the crap out of fat.
Glen is an Ex-personal trainer with a passion for health and Fitness. He has trained a variety of clients with goals ranging from weight loss and improved overall fitness to improved speed, strength, and sport performance.
In his spare time, Glen enjoys traveling, reading, golf, softball, poker, and rooting for the Atlanta Braves and Jacksonville Jaguars.