mind over matter?

As I’ve been doing research for this blog, I’ve come across such an overwhelming amount of weight loss advice that it makes my 7 years of college (and 100k of debt) feel about as useful as a white crayon. Not only does everyone with more than 10,000 followers think they’re qualified to be both a fitness coach and nutrition expert, but people will literally believe ANYTHING. I’ve read some bold advice, anything from using detox tea to “reset your body” to a diet that claimed you could lose 100 lbs in less than 2 weeks. Why do we buy into this? Why are we so desperate that we will pay thousands of dollars for someone else to do the work? So many companies are capitalizing on our desperation and lack of knowledge and we are letting them! I’m not judging because I’ve definitely done it. Whether it’s buying meal replacement shakes or using a “6 second abs” machine (Google it), there have been times I was totally convinced that my life was going to change from drinking what were essentially milkshakes and using a spring-loaded plastic toy that I pushed down with my arms. We’ve all been there. It’s so easy to get sucked into the idea that we can achieve body goals with minimal effort and easy shortcuts. But the (really annoying) truth is that it can’t be done eating pizza and donuts sitting on the couch watching Tony Horton or Jillian Michaels yell at people. It does take hard work and effort and discipline and all that other shit.

Have you ever wondered what it is that pushes people to lose weight? Why two people can do the same diet and workout program and one person can have killer results and the other barely notices a change? I do, I wonder this all the time! I’m not saying there aren’t physiological differences or that one person could have a medical condition, or gender difference, or any other excuse you’re thinking out loud right now. I’m saying you and your friend plan out a healthy lifestyle together and 6 months in you are canceling your vacation but your friend is shopping for a thong bikini to wear on her “suns out buns out” singles cruise. Clearly, it’s not the diet or the workout program. With everything I know about the physiology of exercise, what it takes to burn calories, which exercises will sculpt the ideal physique, I still don’t know what it is that determines whether or not we succeed or fail. Angela Duckworth writes in her book “Grit” that the best predictor of success is tenacity, the drive to never give up. Well, not to discredit her life’s work, but DUH. Obviously the people who succeed are the ones who never give up. However, I would personally not like to spend the rest of my days on this planet struggling with my weight. If I try and fail until I’m 95 to lose weight and finally succeed in my 95th year am I successful? That literally sounds like a living hell. I want to know what the magic ingredient is (don’t you dare tell me it’s spinach, I hate spinach), there has to be a common denominator among people who lose weight and keep it off.

When you think of all the reasons we say we can’t lose weight it’s most commonly outside factors, “I can’t afford to shop for healthy food, I don’t have time to work out, I have to cook meals my whole family will eat, I don’t know how to use gym equipment” although these are valid, I don’t think they are why people fail at losing weight. Think about celebrities, they have access to personal dietitians, chefs, trainers, the most advanced technology and equipment, they have nannies, and chauffeurs, and personal assistants who can block time in their schedule to work out. Wouldn’t it make sense that every rich person would always be in the best shape of their lives if that was their goal? But it’s not that way, we see some celebrities battle with their weight for years, not to mention any names (because, like, what if I’m famous one day, I don’t need beef with billionaires) but even some spokespeople for weight loss programs are overweight and have been for decades! In a totally opposite scenario, there are people losing weight and getting in the best shape of their lives while facing obstacles and resistance from all sides. I watched a YouTube video about guy who saved up enough money to not work for a year and dedicate that entire year to getting in shape. He was successful and looked amazing, he kept with that lifestyle as far as I know and continues to live his best life. Oh and I forgot to mention that HE DIDN’T HAVE HANDS. I also went to college with someone who was in a horrible motorcycle accident which left him paralyzed from the waist down and now he does pull-ups in a wheelchair, like pulls himself up while in the wheelchair. I looked it up and wheelchairs typically weigh between 35-50 lbs. I can’t do a pull-up and this kid is adding weight to his workout and does not have the use of his lower body! People overcome the most extreme misfortunes to reach their goals, so why doesn’t everyone follow suit?

Do we have to face some type of adversity to succeed, does complacency stifle our dreams? Is the mentality that “it’s not great but it’s not awful” what keeps us from reaching our full potential? Sometimes I think it is. Losing a significant amount of weight, training for something, or manipulating your physique in any way is an internal struggle. I mean sure, you can have trainers and dietitian designing your plans and stuff like that but whether you succeed is 100% on you. When you compare it to other accomplishments in life it really is a unique category. There are no connections in fitness. No one has ever succeeded in weight loss because their dad knew a guy.

I’ve come to the conclusion that it must be mindset. Our mindset determines our success (I realize this is not a groundbreaking discovery but hear me out). I’m sure if you’ve ever stumbled into the world of self-help you’ve heard this before. Well, maybe it’s stupid and it won’t work and maybe it’s the key to success! Either way, it literally costs nothing to try this and I’ve done a lot of other stupid things in my life so it can’t hurt. I don’t know about you, but my self-talk is awful. I constantly make fun of myself or think that “this is just how I am, and I’ll never change” which yes, I KNOW that’s a terrible habit but it’s true. So we’re gonna try some affirmations. I’m going to work on my mindset. Meditation, positive thinking, all that jazz. It will be something like this https://youtu.be/qR3rK0kZFkg although I can’t stand on my sink, I can dance in my bathroom 🙂