Staying in the game

As the winter holidays draw near, there’s a temptation to put our goals (and ourselves) on the back burner. With so much going on, we don’t feel like we have the time or energy to focus on ourselves. So we decide to let ourselves off the hook for the rest of the year and regroup in January.

It feels like a relief at first. One less thing to worry about. But then that low-level anxiety creeps in. How much further from our goals will we be by January? What does this say about our chances of ever actually reaching this goal?

The thing is: It takes so little to stay in the game. It’s not about spending the holidays on a diet. It can be as simple as not finishing a cookie that doesn’t taste as good as it looked. Or putting on an extra layer or two and going for a walk even if it’s frosty. Or setting aside just 15 minutes for a morning warm-up. Or, checking in with others who are working on the similar goals.

Even if you’re not making rapid progress toward your goal, these small actions can reinforce your commitment to your goal, and help to strengthen the mindset and habits that will ultimately get you there. You may be on the bench taking a breather but you’re still in the game.

And here’s the crazy thing: Staying in the game won’t make your holidays any busier or more overwhelming. To the contrary, you’ll probably feel a bit calmer, more in control, and less stressed.

If over the next few weeks, you find yourself tempted to throw in the towel until January, see if you can find one tiny way to stay in the game for another day. (Need some ideas?  Let’s chat about it in the Weighless Life Facebook group.)

 

There are better ways to avoid wasting food

“I often eat things because I don’t want them to go to waste. I may not even like them that much, but they cost money and I don’t want to be wasteful.”

Can you relate?

One of our Weighless program members posted this in our forum this morning. We’ve heard hundreds of variations on this theme over the years. I shudder to think how many millions of excess calories are consumed every year by people who just can’t stand to throw food away. Or the kids who are being indoctrinated into this unhelpful mindset with things like the Clean Plate Club.

Don’t get me wrong. Food waste is a huge problem that deserves our earnest attention. But guess what? Eating food you don’t need–or don’t even want–does not reduce food waste.

It doesn’t feed starving children. It doesn’t recover the resources that were used to produce it. It doesn’t put the money back in anyone’s wallet. It doesn’t really even keep it out of the trash. It simply turns your body into the trash receptacle.

Once we recognize the sheer folly of eating food just to prevent it from being wasted, it opens up some really useful alternatives:

  1. We can truly commit to an essential Weighless principle: If you’re not hungry and/or you’re not enjoying the food, stop eating!

  2. We can truly commit to meaningful action to reduce food waste.

The best way to reduce food waste is to stop buying, cooking, ordering, or serving yourself more food than you want or need. (We have specific strategies for this in Weeks 3, 6, 8, 9, and 12 of our year-long program)

If you do find yourself with more food than you want or need, share it with a friend, stranger, or even with your future self. Split an oversized portion with your dining companion. Donate excess food to a soup kitchen or homeless shelter. Pack it up and put it in the freezer for later.

If none of that is possible, throw it away or compost it. If it feels bad to throw it away, let that motivate you to redouble your efforts to avoid the situation in the future.

It is everyone’s job to help reduce food waste. But it is not your job to be a human garbage disposal.

I hereby disband the Clean Plate Club.

What we cover in the Weighless Program (our Curriculum)

One of the questions we frequently get about the Weighless program is what exactly we cover in our 52-week curriculum.  A year is a long time; we have time to get into virtually every possible aspect of weighing less–from the biochemistry to the logistics to the all-important head game.

Here is a more detailed breakdown of our curriculum.

Weeks 1-13: The Weighless Method

We spend the first three months of the program mastering the basic tenets of the Weighless approach:

  • Collecting data
  • Setting appropriate goals
  • Connecting to what motivates us
  • Eating and movement patterns
  • Planning tools and techniques
  • Lifestyle design
  • Habit formation

Weeks 14-26: Weighless Skills

As we move into the second quarter, we start to refine and customize our strategies, including:

  • Meal timing
  • Exercise strategies
  • Sleep patterns
  • Mindfulness techniques
  • Managing appetite
  • Dealing with cravings
  • Assessment
  • Problem solving
  • Prioritization

Weeks 27-52: Weighless Living

The third phase of the curriculum focuses on skills and strategies that help us stay on track long term. In addition to working more deeply on all of the above, we dig into:

  • Stress management
  • Cognitive distortions
  • Lapses and relapses
  • Recognizing ego defenses
  • Identifying and defusing triggers
  • Unsupportive environments
  • Social pressures
  • Managing disruptions (vacations, holidays, illnesses, injuries)
  • Learning to indulge without overindulging
  • Tapping into sustainable sources of motivation
  • Creating comfort and pleasure
  • How to learn from and recover from setbacks

As you can see, it is a robust, comprehensive and exhaustive curriculum. But the most important thing is not all that you know by the end of the year. It’s the opportunity to put these tools into practice, to get support when you fail, and to build a self-sustaining system.

If you’re ready to dig in, dig deep, and finally become someone who weighs less, we can’t wait to work with you.

Details on enrolling in our next year-long program are here.

Related:

8 Ways to know whether Weighless is right for you

3 Ways Weighless will change your life

What it’s like to weigh less

 

Are you sitting on the sidelines of your life?

As leaders of the Weighless community, Brock and I are not just here to give pep talks or give you something interesting to think about. We are offering tools that can help you create the results you want. But they have to be picked up and used.

So often we see people whose entire effort is comprised of completely passive activities: reading, researching, thinking, planning. All of those things have their place. But you’ve got to actually take some action if you want to see change happen.

If you’re thinking but not doing…

If you’re learning, but not taking action…

If you’re “inspired” but not actually moving…

…then you are sitting on the sidelines of your own life.

The only way to reach your goal is to get on the field. Yes, you might drop the ball or lose yards. But you can’t win (or lose!) by sitting on the sidelines.

 

The right (and wrong) way to use a diet tracker

Is tracking your food and calories (or WW points) essential  to losing or maintaining your weight?  Or is it a toxic dieter’s mindset?

Neither.

Food and activity trackers can be useful tools when they are used to gather information.  You can learn a lot about how different foods and portion sizes compare in terms of how many calories they provide and how much they fill you up.  You can learn how your body feels after a 400 calorie breakfast instead of a 200 calorie breakfast, or how it feels to eat 100 calories worth of roasted potatoes vs 100 calories worth of potato chips.

You can identify which foods (or hours of the day) are contributing excess calories that keep you from weighing less. You can experience how much you need to move around in order to hit 10,000 steps a day, or get a reality check on how often you’re getting 30 minutes of exercise. 

All of this can be useful and empowering information.  

But if you’ve been weighing, measuring, logging, and tracking every bite and step for more than a few weeks, you’re probably not gathering much new information. Instead of being your tutor, your tracker can easily become the judge, jury, and executioner.  

  • Instead of considering your hunger level, you ask your tracker how many more calories you’re allowed to eat.  Hit your limit? Then no more food for you.  (Or, worse: off to the gym to burn some calories so you can eat more.)
  • Instead of choosing foods that you enjoy and that make you feel good, you use your tracker to choose the one that’s lowest in calories. 
  • Instead of developing your self-awareness and self-control, you’re outsourcing both of these to a device.

That’s the opposite of empowering. 

We hear from so many people who are SO sick of tracking but terrified to stop. They’re afraid that, without their tracker to them when to stop eating, they’ll never stop.

But listen: If you have the discipline to stop eating when your tracker tells you to, you also have the ability to stop eating when your stomach (or brain) lets you know that you’ve had enough. You can reclaim the authority that you’ve given to your tracker.  And there’s nothing more freeing than realizing that you can trust yourself to know (and do) what’s in your best interests.

Not sure how to start?

The free 7-Day Mindset Reset program is a great way to begin exploring this territory.

Thoughts? Questions? Arguments? Post them in the comments below. 

Your love of baking is not the problem

Our newest Weighless members have just begun their year-long program. They’re getting to know each other and sharing their stories in the member forum. And several of them have mentioned the same obstacle to weight loss:

“My problem has always been that I just love to bake,”  one said, prompting a rousing chorus of “Me too!”

Man, can I relate.  I was also an avid baker in my 20s. I baked bread, pies, biscotti, scones, biscuits, you name it.  Around the holidays, I turned into a one-woman cookie factory. I took great pride in my creations and got a lot of positive strokes from my friends and family.  Who doesn’t love the friend, sister, or co-worker that’s constantly showing up with fresh-baked bread and cookies? (At least, that’s what I told myself.)

I loved the science and chemistry, the feel of springy dough under my hands, the yeasty scent, the beautiful end product.   All the things that we bakers say we love about baking.

The problem was that I also loved to eat bread, pies, cakes, and cookies.  I baked a lot. I ate a lot of baked goods. With predictable results.

And I finally realized that if I wanted to weigh less, I might need to bake less.

The less I baked, the fewer baked goods I ate. With predictable results.

I still bake for special occasions. Dad gets a rhubarb pie every Father’s Day. I make Challah bread for Easter brunch. (Yes, I get the irony.)   And if I decide to make cookies for the holidays, I’ll choose just one or two of the family favorites instead of all ten.

And you know what?  My family didn’t stop loving me. My friends didn’t stop inviting me over. Holidays are still special. And I have found new ways to be creative in the kitchen.

Time that I used to spend feeding my sourdough, I now spend rinsing my sprouts. Instead of making cookies, I make seed crackers.  Instead of kneading dough, I’m pickling carrots. Instead of trying out new pastry recipes, I try out new soup recipes.

It’s OK to love baking, or cooking, or even eating. But when our pursuit of that activity becomes an obstacle to our well-being, it’s no longer a hobby or an enthusiasm.  It’s a way to abandon ourselves.  A way to excuse or justify poor choices.

Now, you may be one of those rare creatures that can bake up a storm and never over-indulge.  But if you’re more like me, you might want to experiment with the notion that that you can love baking just as much but do it much less often.  You might like the results.

Are You Willing to Know Your ABCs?

Many of us have been using the events of 2020 to justify many of our undesired and unhelpful behaviours. Undoubtedly, it has been an emotional and uncomfortable few months but I have news for you – that’s not the reason you are off track.

It’s not a virus’s fault that you have been baking with flour, sugar and butter incessantly for 3 months now. It’s not the desperate need for racial equality that is driving you to drink more alcohol than you usually do. It’s not even the fear of paying for gyms and studios when money is tight (even if they weren’t closed) that is causing you to skip your workouts. It isn’t any of that stuff. That is just the window dressing. Those are scapegoats.

The real issue is that we have never been taught the correct way to address uncomfortable feelings.

We are suddenly bored of being cooped up at home. We are either ashamed of our heritage or enraged by it. We have had our jobs and finances upset and find it scary and difficult to establish new avenues. And all of this makes us fall back on the habits that we have practiced during previous times of discomfort.

You may have heard this referred to as the “think-feel-act cycle.” Or, in Cognitive Behavioural Terms, it is the ABCs.

The ABC model was created by Dr. Albert Ellis, a psychologist and researcher and its name refers to the components of the model:

A. Adversity or activating event.
B. Your beliefs about the event. This involves both obvious and underlying thoughts about situations, ourselves, and others.
C. Consequences. This includes your behavioural or emotional response.

When C (the consequences) turns into a destructive or even an undesirable behaviour (like overindulging or skipping your workout) instead of rushing to the baking cabinet, I suggest that it is time to look at B (our beliefs) instead. I mean, let’s face it, we really have no control over A and waiting it out is taking a lot longer than we had initially hoped.

In this ABC model, B is considered to be the most important component because if we can identify the belief that isn’t serving us, we can question it and ultimately change it. And once we change that belief, we change the consequence.

Here’s an example:

  • your spouse brings a bag of donuts into the house (that is A).
  • You see the donuts and think “Oh no, I am trying to lose weight but when I am this stressed out I am not able to resist the deliciousness of donuts.” (that is B).
  • You hold off for a while but eventually snap and eat not just one but a few of the donuts (that is C). Then you are mad at yourself, your spouse and the scapegoat of “2020” gets the blame.

So, you can see how changing B is a lot easier than changing A (you can’t control someone else’s behaviour – not for long anyway) and C is a direct response to B. So what are we left with?

Doing some deep questioning into the validity of B.

Are you really powerless around donuts? Are donuts really that delicious? Even if they are, do you have to eat them, just because they are there? Is the momentary reward of eating a donut more satisfying than making another step toward your goal of weighing less? Is blaming your spouse for bringing them into the house going to solve this issue? Is getting upset with yourself for not having more willpower going to prepare you for when this happens again?

By asking yourself these (and other) challenging questions, you can eventually rewrite the narrative of this ABC, and every other ABC, into a story that helps you achieve your goals rather than derailing you.

This is the type of game-changing work we do in the Weighless program that no other weight loss program does. Doing thIs deep work of cutting the issue off at its source, makes calorie counting and food tracking irrelevant.

It starts with being aware there is work to do – and ends with doing the work. And that work is forever. Not just until you have hit your goal weight.

So, are you willing to dissect and examine your ABCs?

Weighless or Precision Nutrition?

We’re often asked about how the Weighless program compares to Precision Nutrition’s program. Both are 12-month programs that promise to create sustainable behavior change. Both incorporate nutrition and fitness. Both cost about the same.

Let me start by saying, I have a ton of respect for what John Berardi has created there. From what I’ve seen, the concepts and philosophy of Precision Nutrition are 100% aligned with our approach–although the name might suggest otherwise.

The name “Precision Nutrition” implies that they focus on getting exactly the “right” number of grams or percentages of various nutrients. In reality, their approach focuses more on making small sustainable shifts in habits and setting up the systems that support your goals: very much like what we do in the Weighless Program as well.

(This is the opposite of what we’ve seen of the Noom program, by the way, which promises psychology and behavior change but delivers the same old, doomed, calorie-obsessed diet.)

How Weighless is different

So, for those who have already tried Precision Nutrition, or are trying to do decide between the two, here are the three things that set the Weighless program apart:

Your Curriculum. In the Weighless program, we don’t just have a method. We also have a process for teaching that method. Our 52-week curriculum guides you step-by-step through an incremental, cumulative process of behavior change. You’re not only learning how to weigh less without dieting, you’re learning a method that can be used to create any change you’d like to see in your life.

Your Coaches. Brock and I didn’t just create the Weighless curriculum. We’re there personally, throughout the program, to help you understand, implement, modify, and problem-solve, and to offer insight, feedback, and support. We do not outsource this support to free-lancers. And unlike Precision Nutrition, we do not run a training or certification program for other coaches. Your success is our primary bottom line.

Your Community. In Weighless, you’ll go through the entire program with a small group of people (we’re talking dozens, not thousands)–all of whom you will know by name, and all of whom will be working through the same material at the same time. The private member’s forum (not on Facebook) becomes an information hub, a co-working space, and a place to connect with us and your fellow members. It’s available to you 24/7 and with members located around the world, the lights are always on. This tight-knit community becomes an invaluable source of support, ideas, and camaraderie.

Other questions? Need more help deciding whether or not Weighless is a good fit? Feel free to email us.