We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit. — Will Durant in The Story of Philosophy: The Lives and Opinions of the World’s Greatest Philosophers.
Below you will find my views on how to effectively approach loss weight. TLDR — Slow and stead wins the race.
- Diets have a huge failure rate. The rate is unknown to me personally since there is conflicting information. From my own experience it’s more failure than success.
- Some people such as Jocko Willink argue that willpower is the answer. This is a narrow view of human nature. It’s narrow because many who rely on willpower have years of environmental training. Their suggestion fails most of us who have not had the same training. A simple example is that in military bootcamp there is no ability to enjoy McDonalds or have a Netflix & Chill evening. The military is a carefully designed environment.
- The fact remains that willpower is a resource. Failure increases as more demands are made on willpower. Willpower strength follows the same cycle of exercise: stress, recovery, and adaptation. Willpower may be trained over time yet it will always be a “muscle” which gets stronger and weaker.
- Diets can be broken up into the following categories: A) what you eat and drink B) how much you eat and drink C) when you eat and drink. Within each of these categories there lives a mountain of habits. Some of these habits are very well established since they’ve been around for many years.
- The brain is a physical thing made up of physical connections. Our habits are connections in our brains. It takes time to change the physical organization of our brain. The bigger the change desired the more time required.
- “In some ways, we humans are not so complicated. We avoid pain and we seek pleasure. (B.J. Fogg)” Diets are painful. A less painful option is desired.
- BJ Fogg has suggested a behavioral model (B=MAP) where behavior equals motivation + ability + prompt. He argues that there are three ways to change our behavior: A) Have an epiphany — impractical. B) Change your environment. C) Take baby steps. Taking baby steps is the most sustainable and likely to succeed means of changing our behavior.
- We can apply this behavioral model to weight loss. We can find a small step “tiny habit” to take toward our weight loss goal. Practice this tiny habit each day for a week. The tiny habit needs to be painless. The long-term goal is to turn this tiny habit into a big habit over time. Slow and steady wins the race.
- There are many things which can aid in this process. A) Identify a goal which is sustainable over the long-term. B) Pick a tiny habit which is painless. C) Include a friend to join / help you. D) Rinse and repeat.
I plan to post updates of my weight loss journey. Stay tuned.