If you take 10 different people who are all struggling with their weight or are overweight. It’s very likely that most of them would have similar behaviours that they share around food, around exercise, around lifestyle choices that they make on a day-to-day basis.
And similarly, if you take 10 people who are athletic or in great shape. You would find that most of them share similar behaviours around food and exercise.
Why I say ‘most’ of them is because a lot of people may be carrying extra body weight due to a medical condition.
Some could be in great shape because they just have great genetics.
So there are other variables at play. But in most cases, it is factors within your control, which are keeping you at a certain physical state.
These factors are often times behavioural.
And not things which people usually think are the culprit.
People tend to go hunting for solutions like:
“What kind of food should I eat to accelerate my weight loss?”
“Which exercise will make me burn more fat?”
Ultimately, it’s not a specific exercise or a particular food that’s keeping you there.
It is your core behaviours around food and exercise. The behaviours which you use on a day-to-day basis to make decisions, to make different choices.
So if you want long-term lasting weight loss results, you have to address the problem at its core. Not go hunting for short-term solutions.
That’s why I’m not a fan of things like diet plans, diet charts, meal plans. Whatever you’d like to call them; same things.
And if you’d like to know why I dislike them so much. It’s because these are surface-level solutions. Once you are done with the diet plan or diet chart, you might lose some weight.
But does it guarantee that you will not regain that weight back?
It does not.
And for most people, the problem is that once they lose weight, they’re not able to sustain it long-term.
Before you hop on a diet plan, you’ve got to ask yourself this. If you were to follow the same eating pattern, with the same foods for the rest of your life.
Is that sustainable for you?
For most people, it isn’t.
Because you’ll be going out with friends, you’ll go to social gatherings. There’s no way for you to tell what tomorrow’s going to look like.
Let alone trying to predict what the rest of your month, week or year is going to look like.
Following a rigid system may seem ideal in theory.
But when it comes to practice, there are a lot of flaws in the system.
Even if you’re able to get results using a very rigid framework. It is not something that you’ll be able to keep up long-term.
If you’re not addressing the problem at its root; which is changing your core behaviours around food and exercise. You’ll just not sustain results.
If you’d like to know more on how you can change your perspective from thinking of weight loss in terms of following diet plans. To starting to think of it more in terms of fundamental habit shifts. Then you should go check out this post, which covers everything regarding this topic.
But in this post, I wanted to talk specifically about asking questions. And how asking the right questions can oftentimes give you the solutions to the problems that you’re facing currently.
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For most of us; for you and me. We don’t like to listen to other people’s advice.
If you think of the times when you talked about your problems to someone and they gave you instructions saying things like:
“You need to do this.”
“You should go do this.”
“You should go do that.”
A lot of the times, if something contradicts our own thought process, it is an advice that we are not likely to follow through with.
Also you might have seen this as well. When people seem to command you to do things.
“Do this. Do that.”
You’ll have this inner sense of rebellion. You don’t want to do things you’re being told to do.
But on the other hand, this has been psychologically proven that people are more likely to do things which they themselves suggest.
So an advice that comes from you; something that you say you would do. Or something that you think is the right solution to a problem. You’re more likely to follow through with it.
That’s why asking yourself the right questions. And trying to come up with the solutions that you think will solve your problem is important.
Because once you’re able to do that. You don’t have to go hunting for other people to give you instructions. And you’re also more likely to follow through whatever solution you come up with.
I am a huge fan of self-reflection or introspection.
This is important when you’re trying to improve any kind of skill. The two things which are most important for skill development are:
- Deliberate practice i.e., making a conscious effort to practice something regularly.
- And introspection i.e., reflecting upon your actions and seeing if they align with what you’re trying to achieve.
This applies to when you’re trying to make behaviour modifications around food and exercise as well.
If you just let things be. If you’re not putting in deliberate, conscious effort to change things. And if you’re solely relying on chance and probability to get things done.
It’s a lot of guesswork.
You may end up getting results. Or not getting results.
I know many people feel happy when they suddenly see a drop in their weighing scale number. And they feel disappointed when the scale weight goes up. But there’s a lack of deliberate effort on their part to work towards where they want to be.
So it’s just accidental variations in the weighing scale number they are hyper-focused on. That’s pointless.
Here’s how you can go about asking yourself the right questions to resolve such problems.
If you have trouble figuring out where things are going wrong. It helps writing things down. So take out a piece of paper and a pen. Don’t do this exercise in your head.
What is the thing that is bothering you right now? Write everything down.
After you write down the first thing. Ask yourself: ‘and what else?’. Repeat till you get everything out.
Then ask: ‘What’s the real challenge here?’
‘What is the main challenge I’m facing in the process?’
And then ask yourself: ‘What do I actually want?’
‘How do I go about finding a solution that fixes this real challenge?’
When you go through this process in a logical step-by-step manner. It makes it likely that you’ll come to a solution that is actionable, that resolves your challenge. And you’ll also become aware of the challenge in the first place.
For many people, it’s hard to even figure out what their challenge is.
For most people the challenge isn’t losing weight. The challenge is something else.
It could be something like sticking to the diet.
What is the real challenge?
Why are you not able to stick to a diet? Is it because your work hours are hectic? Is it because you feel too lazy to cook and that is something you don’t enjoy?
What is the real challenge and how do you go about fixing it?
In order to illustrate how you can use introspection and asking yourself the right questions to come to better decisions which align with your weight loss goals. Here’s a conversation I had recently with a previous client.
She has made incredible progress, especially with changing her behaviour and lifestyle around food and exercise.
And she continues to make progress even after the coaching has been done, which makes me happy. I’m super proud of her.
Ultimately my goal is to empower the people who choose to invest in me to be able to sustain this as a lifestyle long-term. So that you can make progress on your own without needing to hop on some kind of diet plan again in the future.
I want you to be empowered. And she’s been able to keep up really well.
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But she reached out to me recently because of a predicament she was facing.
This is how the chat went.
This was such a good question. And I was happy she brought this up.
Because it is usually things like this that causes problems in people’s lives. When it comes to weight loss, people think it is just buying a diet plan that’ll resolve their issue.
But it is making permanent change in behaviours which is difficult. And making decisions which help you maintain these behaviours long-term.
That’s what needs to be your focus when it comes to losing weight.
Moving about throughout the day and making sure you’re doing your steps is a crucial part of the weight loss process.
And a lot of people who are busy professionals have sedentary desk jobs; they tend to not move so much.
And even if you are someone who has an active job. It’s likely that you spend your weekends not moving around. Unless you are taking deliberate action to get in some kind of physical activity.
In her case. You can see that she’s thinking in the right direction. If she has a workplace which is slightly far away; and she has to take a daily walk to get there. It makes it easy for her to keep active.
But at the same time, there is the problem of snow. And she had trouble doing any kind of physical activity last winter. Here is what I suggested.
Instead of straightforward telling her what needs to be done. I asked her a few questions.
Before I get to her response. I want to emphasize on the last point, which is super important.
Many people feel that if they go with a low budget option, even if it means facing some kind of inconvenience and extra stress. It’s worth it because they save some money.
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I would like to suggest otherwise.
If you invest in something which is slightly expensive. It means you will get your job done more efficiently. You will save time, which you can then use to do things which are more productive.
And this is why you’d see people who run multiple big businesses; who are billionaires (like Elon Musk). They have private jets. It’s not because it’s just a status thing like they show in movies.
It is to save time. When someone runs multiple billion dollar businesses, they don’t have time to waste on petty things like booking flight tickets, waiting in queues and other paperwork.
You’d notice this common pattern among the most efficient people; people who are most productive, most successful. They rarely sacrifice time for money.
Because money is something that you can earn back even if it’s exhausted.
But once time passes by; it’s something that you can’t get back.
In fact, here is a tweet for you on the same topic by Sahil Bloom.
I suggest that whenever you’re making decisions that involve money and time. Always try to invest in things which require more money, because usually they’re more efficient.
They will save you time in the long-run.
Now coming back to the chat conversation. Here is what she answered.
You can see how just asking the right questions gave her more clarity regarding the situation.
That’s really what you want. You want to frame your questions in such a way that they lead you to come to a logical conclusion regarding the kind of decisions you want to make.
Because if you think solely from a perspective of which option would be cheaper, which option would be more economic. Without taking into consideration your goals, your priorities and what you’re trying to achieve. And if you’re not weighing the pros and cons in a logical sequence. It’s going to be hard to make good decisions.
This in turn is going to make it harder for you to stick to behaviours which get you to your weight loss goals.
So get that notepad out and grab a pen. Write down a few questions and introspect.
Try to critically evaluate your biggest challenges and come up with actionable solutions that lead to lasting results.
If you have been trying to reach your weight loss goals for a while now, but are struggling a bit in the process.
It’s probably because of a lack of consistency, a lack of guidance or a lack of support.
If you’d like a 24×7 support system to hold your hand and guide you through the process till you get to your goals, you should consider 1-on-1 coaching with Workday Physique.