The #1 Thing You MUST Do To Lose Fat
Please note the following while you read this article: There is no shame in wanting to lose weight or weighing more than you want to. It does not even have to be something you want to change. In fact, you may have other health issues that make it either very difficult or impossible for you to lose weight regardless of what you eat, and that may be a completely different conversation that you might wish to have with yourself about figuring out and resolving the other health issues first.
Do you know what I remember most about being fat?
Every day in high school and college, I would wake up, look at myself in the mirror, and I’d get so angry at how I looked that I would try to physically pull the fat off of my stomach.
I wish I were kidding…
I knew it wouldn’t work. I wasn’t delusional (at least not very), but I tried anyway.
If you know me, then you know that I eventually found a better and less painful way to lose fat and be healthy.
But there’s a point to this story, and it’s not to make you think I was crazy. It’s this:
There are a million different reasons to NOT eat well or to NOT change your lifestyle at any given moment.
Sugar cravings, family members who don’t eat the same way as you, traveling frequently, being too busy to cook every meal… It’s a big list of reasons that changing the way you eat and live can be difficult.
But if you want to lose fat, look better than ever, and also feel better and more energetic, there’s only one thing you really need to do.
The One Reason Why We Do Anything At All
Have you ever really thought about why you do the things you do?
Why do you get out of bed in the morning? After all, it’s really hard sometimes.
Why do you go to work or to school every day? Why do you brush your teeth?
The answer is that you do any of those things because you believe that not doing them will be worse than doing them. Another way of saying this is that you believe you’ll experience more pain by not doing those things than you will by doing them.
And any pleasure you might get by not taking those actions is not enough to overwhelm the pain.
It All Comes Down to Pleasure and Pain
You go to work because you imagine the financial pain and maybe even some embarrassment that could come from losing your job. So even though it’s painful to get out of bed and go to work, you imagine a greater pain of not doing it.
If this seems obvious to you, then good. It should be.
And by the way, I’m not the first one to say any of this. It’s not new. For instance, Tony Robbins has been saying the same things for many many years, as have many people before him.
But we always seem to forget.
Even though it’s obvious on one level, most of us don’t live our lives like we know this. Because here’s what it means…
If You ACTUALLY Want to Change The Way You Eat, It’s Simple
Simple is not the same as easy, but it’s also not complicated.
If you want to eat healthier and lose fat, all you need to do is associate more pain with eating badly than you currently associate with eating well.
(And don’t fool yourself – you definitely associate a lot of pain with eating well – whether it’s time spent cooking, missing out on delicious treats, having to tell everyone you’re on a diet, or whatever it is. There’s pain there, at least as you imagine it.)
I ate junk food for most of my life. And I couldn’t get myself to consistently eat well.
But every morning when I woke up in high school and college, I felt an immense pain at being fat.
It was so painful for me to be fat that I simply couldn’t take it any longer. At that point in my life, there was simply no other pain that was nearly as great for me.
So I ate better (or at least how I thought was better at that time). And I exercised a lot. And it wasn’t hard at all.
Because I associated an incredible amount of pain with not eating well. For me it just kind of happened. I fell into that pain.
But that doesn’t need to be the case for you…
You Can Consciously Change the Way You Eat and Live. Right Now.
You don’t need to wait until the pain gets that great on its own. You can do it consciously.
But first, answer this question. What would you be willing to promise if you don’t stick to your diet for the next 6 months? Would you pledge $5,000 to a cause you don’t support? Would you promise to eat a live spider? Would you commit to wearing a silly costume to work for a week?
If you’re not willing to do any of those things, then it’s because they all sound more painful to you than eating junk food.
And if you want to eat better, you need to change the pain you feel. You need to make eating junk food way more painful than any of the things I just mentioned.
Here’s how to do that:
Step #1: Right now, sit down and write exactly what you want. Could be to lose 50 pounds, to completely heal your digestive issues or autoimmune disease, or just to fit into certain size clothes. Then, write down the actions you need to take to achieve those goals. Write it down.
Step #2: Next, write down all the pains and pleasures (the reasons) that keep you from taking the actions you wrote down in step 1. What pains do you avoid and what pleasures do you get by continuing to eat junk food, for instance?
Step #3: Now, write down all the pain that comes from continuing that action. For example, if you’re still eating processed foods, how’s it making you feel, how is it making you look, how does that impact your relationships at home and at work, how much is it costing you in terms of productivity and money you might be earning (overweight people almost always earn less money), how’s it impacting your children and their health and self-images, and how much time is it going to potentially take off of your life. What’s it going to prevent you from doing. Write it all down. Every single pain.
Step #4: Finally, write down how you’ll feel once you hit your Step #1 goal. What will you feel like, how will it improve your life, your business, your relationships, and your health? List every single pleasure.
Whether You Eat Better is Your Choice
Listen. I don’t know you. I don’t know what your pleasures and pains are.
And if you aren’t willing to stop right now and do the exercise above, that’s your choice. I’m not willing to do that exercise for a lot of different areas in my life.
But I accept that those are areas of my life that I’m OK not changing right now.
In other words, don’t kid yourself. If you’re not willing to do that exercise for losing fat, looking better, and eating well, then perhaps you need to accept that it’s not something you actually want to change right now.
Because you could.
I know it sounds harsh, but it’s actually meant to be comforting. You can change absolutely anything about your life, and that’s an amazing power.
But if you don’t exercise that power, then take comfort in the fact that your life in that area is just how you want it to be right now.
Sugar Cravings and Other Excuses
No matter what the reason is that keeps you from eating better, it’s simply a matter of pain and pleasure.
And you can change that pain or pleasure.
It’s a conscious process that starts with the exercise above, but it doesn’t end there. You’ll need to reinforce the new pain/pleasure from time to time.
If you find yourself eating junk food, then you’ll need to break the pattern and find a way to associate even more pain with eating junk food.
Part of the way you can do that is by going back to the exercise and re-reading it or doing it again. But there are other ways to reinforce the pain. Go read a message board about people who are dealing with severe digestive issues. It gets worse than you probably imagine.
Or better yet, actually make a promise to do something really terrible (but not illegal or dangerous) next time you eat junk food. Make the promise to everybody you know.
Being busy, traveling, having sugar cravings, and having a family are excuses that I often hear for not eating better continually. And I understand. I’ve dealt with most of them.
So I’m not saying that they don’t make it harder to eat well. Obviously, there’s some pain associated with those things.
But that’s the point. You’ve just gotta find a way to create a greater pain.
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