This is an actual email from a buddy of mine that I got a few weeks back. He has asked to remain anonymous because he would rather people didn't know we were friends.
Sadly, I have many friends who won't publicly admit that we are friends. Sounds like I have an intervention coming on soon...Doh!
Anyhow, below I have attached his email and then 5 lessons I guarantee you would not have got from his incredibly simple yet amazing story.
I have kept in all references where he mentioned how helpful I was for no other reason than simple vanity. Thank you for understanding and indulging my vice. I'm sure we will tackle that issue as well in my upcoming intervention.
Thought I would share something you helped me out with.
I reached a moment at the end of November, 2012, when it was either time to drop some weight or buy fat guy pants.
I had tried the four-body thing for a while, but it didn't really work. I checked your blog. Read your stuff, read Sisson's book and then basically started tracking my carb intake and keeping it around 50-75 carbs a day.
A smartphone and a good scale helped.
I couldn't work out at all during this time because of a slipped disc in my back so my results make for an interesting case study.
So here is what we've got so far.
The chart is my weight (see above). The start is back in July when I started following the four-hour body. The lowest point before the rise is around mid September when I gave up and slipped back into my habits.
The next high point is the end of November when I started a carb regulated diet and that has continued up to the present..
The program I use is a weight tracker, but the losses are all fat.
My lean mass has stayed the same throughout, which is proof that I’m burning fat only.
It's all been relatively easy. The energy increase more than made up for the sacrifice of giving up beer and I managed to keep going through the holidays and some big events.
Two months in and I'm looking forward to keeping it up.
Thought I would share it all with you because it definitely started with asking what the hell did Dean do and how did he do it?
So what are the lessons from this story?
1. You can not exercise your way out of bad eating
This example sheds some interesting light on exercise and where it fits in the hierarchy of changing how we look.
As you can see from the results, 17.5 lbs of fat have been lost in a little under 2 months with zero exercise being done.
Unfortunately, people just don’t seem to understand how powerful a contributor food is to our weight gain and poor health.
And worse, they think that exercise can overcome suspect eating habits. IT CAN’T.
Eating a structured well-planned diet is always the most important element to master if you are looking to lose weight and regain health.
2. Exercise should always play a supporting role only
Exercise is to fat loss what Kevin Bacon is to movies; an excellent supporting player that is critical to overall success.
But it is not the star of the show, nor should it be thrust into a staring role. That is a recipe for disaster.
Diet should always be the focus 80 to 90% of the time. ALWAYS! When those numbers start to drop in favor of exercise then trouble starts to loom regardless of how intense a workout program you tend to be doing.
Consider exercise like you would conditioner. It improves your overall look, but only after the shampoo has done its job.
3. Tiny actions create a cascade of change
The mistake we all make with change in general is thinking that massive transformation requires big bold efforts.
In fact, that is one of the most misleading myths out there and why people get derailed so quickly.
The biggest changes occur when we focus on a handful of small behaviours.
In the example above there are 3 vital behaviors at play.
The first is that my buddy weighed himself everyday. He used a high-end scale that was able to measure lean body mass. It also came equipped with WiFi so that his weight was automatically logged without him having to do anything. I can't be certain, but I I think it does his taxes as well. Don't quote me on the last one though.
The second was that he used a free online tracking program to track his carb intake.
People always start to sweat profusely when you mention food tracking, but that is because they don’t understand its impact.
Aside from gaining invaluable data on your eating, the greater benefit is that of awareness. You move from mindless eating to mindful eating.
Most of our problems stem from the fact most of our eating occurs in a mindless state where we have no freaking clue what impact our choices have on our body.
That is NOT GOOD and why people get fat.
And third, he made his eating quantitative by controlling his carb intake.
Again, people who fail, consistently do so because they lean on subjective data like memory and feelings. But we are notoriously horrible self-evaluators.
Quantifying what you want to track is something that people who have mastered their health, do exceptionally well.
4. Results outweigh cravings
When you have data that provides actual evidence of results, then cravings become much easier to manage.
In the example above, giving up beer was pretty easy because more energy was available. But I would argue that more energy was available because he knew what he was doing was working.
Inspiration expires quickly, but quantifiable results keep it going long after the expiration date has passed.
5. Do things that are sustainable long term
This is another thing that people do that makes me sad. They engage in extreme activities that are impossible to sustain long term.
Can you get results short term. YUP!
Will you be able to sustain them long term once the behaviors have stopped. NOPE!
Results are tied to the actions you can do consistently. When the actions stop so to do the results.
That’s why calorie restrictive diets are doomed to fall 100% of the time. Eventually ones’ calories are going to return to previous levels. And guess what else be returning as well. You guessed it. Those unwanted pounds that went on vacation.
So by investing in a $150 dollar scale and using his smart phone to track his carb intake, about 5 minutes a day are invested in 2 vital behaviors that are easy to sustain, but more importantly yield incredible results in the battle to lose weight and keep it off.
So what is your takeaway from this post?
There are a handful of vital behaviors that you need to adopt that, when done consistently over a prolonged period of time will create a cascade of change beyond your wildest expectations.
Your challenge is to find the behaviors that work for you and then teach yourself to commit to them daily.
To making shift happen,
ps...feel free to join in on the intervention if you have an axe to grind.